The Ladakh Range is a mountain range in central Ladakh in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir with its northern tip extending into Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan. It lies between the Shyok river valleys, stretching to 230 miles. Leh, the capital city of Ladakh, is on the foot of Ladakh Range in the Indus river valley; the Ladakh Range is regarded as a southern extension of the Karakoram Range, which runs for 230 miles from the confluence of the Indus and Shyok rivers in Baltistan to the Tibetan border of Ladakh in the southeast. The southern extension of the Ladakh Range is called the Kailash Range in Tibet; the Ladakh Range forms the northeastern bank of the Indus River and the western bank of the Shyok River. The Ladakh Range has no major peaks; some of its peaks are less than 4,800 metres. The main mountain passes are Digar La, Khardung La, Chang La and Tsaka La.. The city of Leh, a little way from the Indus River along the Khardung La valley, is a historic trading town with trade routes to Yarkand and Tibet on the one hand, Srinagar and rest of the Indian subcontinent on the other.
The summer route from Leh to Yarkand passed through Khardung La to pass into the Nubra valley and thence to Yarkand via the Karakoram Pass and Suget Pass. The winter route passed through Digar La to reach the Shyok river valley and, reach the Karakoram Pass; the trade route to Tibet went via Gartok in the Indus river valley at the foot of the Kailash Range. By the Treaty of Tingmosgang signed in 1684, Ladakh had the exclusive right to trade in the pashmina wool from Tibet, which led to its prosperity. Leh was for centuries trade centre for fine pashmina wool. Two English explorers, William Moorcroft and George Trebeck visiting Leh in 1820, were stunned seeing a town of such wealth located in midst of arid desert land; the nomadic Changpa rely on sheep and yak herding for subsistence in the Ladakh Range. Tibet's Chang Tang plain, most remote section of Himalayas, is extreme high country. Ladakh is a beautiful desert region. Culturally/geographically close to Tibet, it has few resources with an extreme climate.
The Buddhist Ladakhis with their traditions and intimate knowledge of local environment have survived and prospered, in spite of centuries of invasions from the Mongols, the Baltis, the Dogras and Tibetans. The mixed ethnic origins are reflected in their faces; the extension of the Ladakh Range into China is known as Kailash Range. In the Laddakh Range there is India's cold desert named as' LEH'. Karim, Afsir, "Strategic dimensions of the trans-Himalayan frontiers", in K. Warikoo, Himalayan Frontiers of India: Historical, Geo-Political and Strategic Perspectives, Routledge, pp. 56–66, ISBN 978-1-134-03294-5 Kaul, H. N. Rediscovery of Ladakh, Indus Publishing, ISBN 978-81-7387-086-6 Mehra, Parshotam, An "agreed" frontier: Ladakh and India's northernmost borders, 1846-1947, Oxford University Press Negi, S. S. Discovering the Himalaya, Volume 1, Indus Publishing, ISBN 978-81-7387-079-8 Warikoo, K. "India's gateway to Central Asia: trans-Himalayan trade and cultural movements through Kashmir and Ladakh, 1846–1947", in K. Warikoo, Himalayan Frontiers of India: Historical, Geo-Political and Strategic Perspectives, Routledge, pp. 1–13, ISBN 978-1-134-03294-5 Maps of Ladakh, Bame Duniya blogspot, 19 March 2013
Khunjerab National Park
Khunjerab National Park is a national park in Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan. Khunjerab National Park is Pakistan's third largest national park, is adjacent to the Taxkorgan Natural Reserve in China. Khun means "blood" and jerav means "to stream" in Wakhi, the native language of the region. Khunjerab National Park was established as a means to protect the Marco Polo sheep living in the area; the borders of the park were mapped by Schaller after a short field survey. The park was formally established on 29 April 1979 by Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who said that "it must become a world famous park". Despite being listed as a category 2 national park, banning human activities including agriculture and hunting, the park was poorly managed, meaning that illegal hunting of the Marco Polo sheep continued; because of this, the International Union for Conservation of Nature commissioned Norwegian biologist Per Wegge to do a wildlife survey of the park in 1988. Wegge found that there was no evidence of competition between the domestic sheep being illegally grazed and the wild Marco Polo sheep, that most of the illegal hunting was not being done by local Wakhi residents.
He therefore proposed that the park be reclassified, allowing grazing and commercial hunting, with the profits going to local residents. However, the government overlooked Wegge's suggestions, instead drawing up a new management plan, which both the IUCN and the World Wildlife Fund supported as a means to preserve the park and protect the wildlife. Wegge was critical of the government scheme, claiming that it was based on financial considerations, with the Pakistani government hoping to attract tourists to the area; the IUCN agreed with this, has since distanced itself from the national park. To help protect the animals from poaching, the WWF has created the Khunzerav Village Organization, which relies on people living in the area to report poaching or endangered animal sightings; this park was created on 29 April 1975 on the recommendation of wildlife biologist Dr. George Schaller. Over half of the park is above 4,000 m. Khunjerab Pass, the gateway to China via the Karakoram Highway, is at 4,934 m.
The primary purpose of this park was to provide protection to the endangered Marco Polo sheep, only found in this area in Pakistan. According to the Mir of Hunza, the population of sheep was around 400 but had dropped to below 180 by the time of the completion of the Karakoram Highway. A herd of 75 Marco Polo sheep was recorded in the spring of 1984 and park staff saw at least 50 crossing the pass in May 1989; the park is famous for its snow leopards. Some reports say that it might contain the highest density of these beautiful cats in the total Himalayan ecosystem, the natural habitat of these cats. Over 2,000 Siberian ibex distributed and abundant in the park but absent from neighbouring China, are present here. Total species: 16. Mammals in the park include: Khunjerab Pass Northern Areas, Pakistan WWFPak.org - Khunjerab Objects of Desire in the Northern Areas - Report by John Mock, UC Berkeley Mountain Protected Areas in Pakistan - Report by John Mock, UC Berkeley
The Karakoram or Karakorum is a large mountain range spanning the borders of Pakistan and China, with the northwest extremity of the range extending to Afghanistan and Tajikistan. It begins in the Wakhan Corridor in the west and encompasses the majority of Gilgit–Baltistan and extends into Ladakh, the disputed Aksai Chin region controlled by China, it is the second highest mountain range in the world, part of the complex of ranges including the Pamir Mountains, the Hindu Kush and the Himalayan Mountains.. The Karakoram has eight summits over 7,500 m height, with four of them exceeding 8,000 m: K2, the second highest peak in the world at 8,611 m, Gasherbrum I, Broad Peak and Gasherbrum II; the range is about 500 km in length, is the most glaciated part of the world outside the polar regions. The Siachen Glacier at 76 kilometres and the Biafo Glacier at 63 kilometres rank as the world's second and third longest glaciers outside the polar regions; the Karakoram is bounded on the east by the Aksai Chin plateau, on the northeast by the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, on the north by the river valleys of the Yarkand and Karakash rivers beyond which lie the Kunlun Mountains.
At the northwest corner are the Pamir Mountains. The southern boundary of the Karakoram is formed, west to east, by the Gilgit and Shyok rivers, which separate the range from the northwestern end of the Himalaya range proper; these rivers flow northwest before making an abrupt turn southwestward towards the plains of Pakistan. In the middle of the Karakoram range is the Karakoram Pass, part of a historic trade route between Ladakh and Yarkand but now inactive; the Tashkurghan National Nature Reserve and the Pamir Wetlands National Nature Reserve in the Karalorun and Pamir mountains have been nominated for inclusion in UNESCO in 2010 by the National Commission of the People's Republic of China for UNESCO and has tentatively been added to the list. Karakoram is a Turkic term meaning black gravel; the Central Asian traders applied the name to the Karakoram Pass. Early European travellers, including William Moorcroft and George Hayward, started using the term for the range of mountains west of the pass, although they used the term Muztagh for the range now known as Karakoram.
Terminology was influenced by the Survey of India, whose surveyor Thomas Montgomerie in the 1850s gave the labels K1 to K6 to six high mountains visible from his station at Mount Haramukh in Kashmir. In ancient Sanskrit texts, the name Krishnagiri was used to describe the range. Due to its altitude and ruggedness, the Karakoram is much less inhabited than parts of the Himalayas further east. European explorers first visited early in the 19th century, followed by British surveyors starting in 1856; the Muztagh Pass was crossed in 1887 by the expedition of Colonel Francis Younghusband and the valleys above the Hunza River were explored by General Sir George K. Cockerill in 1892. Explorations in the 1910s and 1920s established most of the geography of the region; the name Karakoram was used in the early 20th century, for example by Kenneth Mason, for the range now known as the Baltoro Muztagh. The term is now used to refer to the entire range from the Batura Muztagh above Hunza in the west to the Saser Muztagh in the bend of the Shyok River in the east.
Floral surveys were carried out in the Shyok River catchment and from Panamik to Turtuk village by Chandra Prakash Kala during 1999 and 2000. The Karakoram is in one of the world's most geologically active areas, at the plate boundary between the Indo-Australian plate and the Eurasian plate. A significant part, 28-50 % of the Karakoram Range is glaciated, compared to the Alps. Mountain glaciers may serve as an indicator of climate change and receding with long-term changes in temperature and precipitation; the Karakoram glaciers are retreating, unlike the Himalayas where glaciers are losing mass at higher rate, many Karakoram glaciers are covered in a layer of rubble which insulates the ice from the warmth of the sun. Where there is no such insulation, the rate of retreat is high. In the last ice age, a connected series of glaciers stretched from western Tibet to Nanga Parbat, from the Tarim basin to the Gilgit District. To the south, the Indus glacier was the main valley glacier, which flowed 120 kilometres down from Nanga Parbat massif to 870 metres elevation.
In the north, the Karakoram glaciers joined those from the Kunlun Mountains and flowed down to 2,000 metres in the Tarim basin. While the current valley glaciers in the Karakoram reach a maximum length of 76 kilometres, several of the ice-age valley glacier branches and main valley glaciers, had lengths up to 700 kilometres. During the Ice Age, the glacier snowline was about 1,300 metres lower than today; the highest peaks of the Karakoram are: K2: 8,611 metres Gasherbrum I: 8,080 metres Broad Peak: 8,051 metres Gasherbrum II: 8,035 metres Gasherbrum III: 7,952 metres Gasherbrum IV: 7,925 metres Distaghil Sar: 7,885 metres Kunyang Chhish: 7,852 metres Masherbrum I: 7,821 metres Batura I: 7,795 metres Rakaposhi: 7,788 metres Batura II: 7,762 metres Kanjut Sar: 7,760 metres Saltoro Kangri: 7,742 metres Batura III: 7,729 metres Saser Kangri: 7,672 metres Chogolisa: 7,665 metres Passu Sar: 7,478 metres Malubiting: 7,458 metres Sia Kangri: 7,442 metres K12
The urial known as the arkars or shapo, is a subspecies group of the wild sheep Ovis orientalis. Noticeable features are the reddish-brown long fur, it is found in western central Asia. The other subspecies group of O. orientalis is the mouflon. The two groups have been considered separate species. Urial males have large horns, curling outwards from the top of the head turning in to end somewhere behind the head; the horns of the males may be up to 100 cm long. The shoulder height of an adult male urial is between 90 cm; the urial is found in western central Asia from northeastern Iran and western Kazakhstan to Pakistan's Balochistan and Chitral, as well as being found in Ladakh, India. To the east it is replaced to the southwest by the Asiatic mouflon, its habitat consists of grassy slopes below the timberline. Urials move to the rocky areas of the mountains. For example, in northern Iran they produce hybrids with Asiatic mouflon under natural conditions. Urials feed on grass but are able to eat leaves of trees and bushes if needed.
The conservation status of the urial is threatened as their habitat is suitable for human development. The Afghan urial is found in Musakhel district in Torghar. A 2005-2006 survey by WWF Pakistan shows 145 urials found in Srakhowa District Musakhe. Yahay Musakhel et al. 2006) The mating season begins in September. Rams select four or five ewes, which will each give birth to a lamb after a gestation of five months; the vignei subspecies group consists of six individual subspecies: Afghan urial or Turkmenian sheep: southern Turkmenistan, eastern Iran, north Balochistan Pakistan Transcaspian urial: Ustjurt-Plateau and western Kazakhstan Blanford urial or Balochistan urial: Balochistan are included in this subspecies Bukhara urial: Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, mountains around Amu Darya Punjab urial: the provincial animal of the Punjab Ladakh urial: Ladakh and northern Pakistan, males have curly horns but the females have flat horns Nowak R. M.: Walker's Mammals of the World, Sixth Edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, London, 1999.
Lingen, H.: Großes Lexikon der Tiere. Lingen Verlag, Köln. Prater, S. H.: The Book of Indian Animals, Oxford University Press, 1971. Menon, V.: A Field Guide to Indian Mammals, Dorling Kindersley, India, 2003 CITES Instruktion für den grenztierärztlichen Dienst Proposal about subspecies of Urial Yahya M. Musakhel et al. 2006: Identification of Biodiversity Hot Spots in Musakhel District balochistan Pakistan. Images of asiatic wild sheep subspecies
A biome is a community of plants and animals that have common characteristics for the environment they exist in. They can be found over a range of continents. Biomes are distinct biological communities that have formed in response to a shared physical climate. "Biome" is a broader term than "habitat". While a biome can cover large areas, a microbiome is a mix of organisms that coexist in a defined space on a much smaller scale. For example, the human microbiome is the collection of bacteria and other microorganisms that are present on or in a human body. A'biota' is the total collection of organisms of a geographic region or a time period, from local geographic scales and instantaneous temporal scales all the way up to whole-planet and whole-timescale spatiotemporal scales; the biotas of the Earth make up the biosphere. The term was suggested in 1916 by Clements as a synonym for biotic community of Möbius, it gained its current definition, based on earlier concepts of phytophysiognomy and vegetation, with the inclusion of the animal element and the exclusion of the taxonomic element of species composition.
In 1935, Tansley added the climatic and soil aspects to the idea. The International Biological Program projects popularized the concept of biome. However, in some contexts, the term biome is used in a different manner. In German literature in the Walter terminology, the term is used as biotope, while the biome definition used in this article is used as an international, non-regional, terminology - irrespectively of the continent in which an area is present, it takes the same biome name - and corresponds to his "zonobiome", "orobiome" and "pedobiome". In Brazilian literature, the term "biome" is sometimes used as synonym of "biogeographic province", an area based on species composition, or as synonym of the "morphoclimatic and phytogeographical domain" of Ab'Sáber, a geographic space with subcontinental dimensions, with the predominance of similar geomorphologic and climatic characteristics, of a certain vegetation form. Both include many biomes in fact. To divide the world in a few ecological zones is a difficult attempt, notably because of the small-scale variations that exist everywhere on earth and because of the gradual changeover from one biome to the other.
Their boundaries must therefore be drawn arbitrarily and their characterization made according to the average conditions that predominate in them. A 1978 study on North American grasslands found a positive logistic correlation between evapotranspiration in mm/yr and above-ground net primary production in g/m2/yr; the general results from the study were that precipitation and water use led to above-ground primary production, while solar irradiation and temperature lead to below-ground primary production, temperature and water lead to cool and warm season growth habit. These findings help explain the categories used in Holdridge’s bioclassification scheme, which were later simplified by Whittaker; the number of classification schemes and the variety of determinants used in those schemes, should be taken as strong indicators that biomes do not fit into the classification schemes created. Holdridge classified climates based on the biological effects of temperature and rainfall on vegetation under the assumption that these two abiotic factors are the largest determinants of the types of vegetation found in a habitat.
Holdridge uses the four axes to define 30 so-called "humidity provinces", which are visible in his diagram. While this scheme ignores soil and sun exposure, Holdridge acknowledged that these were important; the principal biome-types by Allee: Tundra Taiga Deciduous forest Grasslands Desert High plateaus Tropical forest Minor terrestrial biomes The principal biomes of the world by Kendeigh: Terrestrial Temperate deciduous forest Coniferous forest Woodland Chaparral Tundra Grassland Desert Tropical savanna Tropical forest Marine Oceanic plankton and nekton Balanoid-gastropod-thallophyte Pelecypod-annelid Coral reef Whittaker classified biomes using two abiotic factors: precipitation and temperature. His scheme can be seen as a simplification of Holdridge's. Whittaker based his approach on empirical sampling, he was in a unique position to make such a holistic assertion because he had compiled a review of biome classifications. Physiognomy: the apparent characteristics, outward features, or appearance of ecological communities or species.
Biome: a grouping of terrestrial ecosystems on a given continent, similar in vegetation structure, features of the environment and characteristics of their animal communities. Formation: a major kind of community of plants on a given continent. Biome-type: grouping of convergent biomes or formations of different continents, defined by physiognomy. Formation-type: a grouping of convergent formations. Whittaker's distinction between biome and formation can be simplified: formation is used when applied to plant communities only, while biome is used when concerned with both plants and animals. Whittaker's convention of biome-type or formation-type is a broader method to categorize similar communities. Whittaker, seeing the need for a simpler way to express the relationship of community structure to the environment, used what he called "gradient analysis" of ecocline patterns to relate communities to climate on a worldwide scale. Whittaker
The snow leopard known as the ounce, is a large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia. It is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List because the global population is estimated to number less than 10,000 mature individuals and decline about 10% in the next 23 years, it is threatened by habitat destruction following infrastructural developments. The snow leopard inhabits alpine and subalpine zones at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m, ranging from eastern Afghanistan to Mongolia and western China. In the northern range countries, it occurs at lower elevations. Taxonomically, the snow leopard was classified in the monotypic genus Uncia. Since 2008, it is considered a member of the genus Panthera based on results of genetic studies. Two subspecies were described based on morphological differences, but genetic differences between the two have not been confirmed, it is therefore regarded a monotypic species. Both the Latinized specific epithet uncia and the occasional English name ounce are derived from the Old French once used for the European lynx.
Once itself is believed to have arisen by false splitting from an earlier variant of lynx, lonce – where lonce was interpreted as l'once, in which l' is the elided form of the French definite article la, leaving once to be perceived as the animal's name. This, like the English version ounce, came to be used for other lynx-sized cats, for the snow leopard; the word panther derives from classical Latin panthēra, itself from the ancient Greek pánthēr. Felis uncia was the scientific name used by Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber in 1777 who described a snow leopard based on an earlier description by Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon, assuming that the cat occurred in Barbary, East India, China. Uncia was proposed by John Edward Gray in 1854 who grouped Asian cats with a long and thick tail into this genus. Felis irbis was proposed by Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg in 1830 who described a skin of a female snow leopard collected in the Altai Mountains in Siberia, he clarified that several leopard skins were misidentified as snow leopard skins.
Felis uncioides was proposed by Thomas Horsfield in 1855 for a snow leopard skin presented to the Museum of the East India Company. Uncia uncia was used by Reginald Innes Pocock in 1930 when he reviewed skins and skulls of Panthera species from Asia, he described morphological differences between leopard and snow leopard skins. Panthera baikalensis-romanii was proposed by a Russian scientist in 2000 for a dark brown snow leopard skin from the Petrovsk-Zabaykalsky District, southern Transbaikal region; until spring 2017, there was no evidence available for the recognition of subspecies. Results of a phylogeographic study published in September 2017 indicate that three subspecies should be recognised: P. u. uncia in the Pamir Mountains range countries, P. u. uncioides in the Himalayas and Qinghai, P. u. irbis in Mongolia. The snow leopard is part of one of the eight lineages of Felidae; this lineage comprises the species of Neofelis. The Neofelis lineage diverged first from the remainder of the Felinae.
Subsequent branching between the snow leopard and clouded leopard began two to three million years ago, but the details of this are disputed. Results of a phylogenetic study published in 2006, based on nDNA and mtDNA analysis, indicate that snow leopard and tiger are sister taxa, whereas the leopard is sister taxon to two clades within Panthera – one consisting of the tiger and the snow leopard, the other of the lion and the jaguar. Results of a similar study published in 2009 corroborated this assessment. Results obtained during two subsequent phylogenetic studies indicate a swapping in the cladogram between the leopard and the jaguar. A 2016 study indicates that, at some point in their evolution, snow leopards interbred with lions, as their mitochondrial genomes are more similar to each other than their nuclear genomes; these results indicate that a female hybrid offspring of male ancestors of modern snow leopards and female ancestors of modern lions interbred with the male ancestors of modern snow leopards.
The snow leopard's fur is whitish to gray with black spots on head and neck, but larger rosettes on the back and bushy tail. The belly is whitish; the fur is thick with hairs between 12 cm long. Its body is stocky, short-legged and smaller than the other cats of the genus Panthera, reaching a shoulder height of 56 cm, ranging in head to body size from 75 to 150 cm, its tail is 80 to 105 cm long. Its eyes are grey in color, its muzzle is short and its forehead domed. Its nasal cavities are large, it weighs between 22 and 55 kg, with an occasional large male reaching 75 kg and small female of under 25 kg. The snow leopard shows several adaptations for living in a mountainous environment, its body is stocky, its fur is thick, its ears are small and rounded, features that help to minimize heat loss. Its broad paws well distribute the body weight for walking on snow, have fur on their undersides to increase their grip on steep and unstable surfaces, its long and flexible tail helps to maintain balance in the rocky terrain.
The tail is very thick due to fat storage, is thickly covered with fur, which allows the cat to use it like a blanket to protect its face when asleep. The snow leopard cannot roar, despite possessing partial ossification of the hyoid bone; this partial ossification was thought to be essential for allowing the big cats to roar, but new studies show that the ability to roar is due
The Himalayas, or Himalaya, form a mountain range in Asia, separating the plains of the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau. The range has many including the highest, Mount Everest; the Himalayas include over fifty mountains exceeding 7,200 m in elevation, including ten of the fourteen 8,000-metre peaks. By contrast, the highest peak outside Asia is 6,961 m tall. Lifted by the subduction of the Indian tectonic plate under the Eurasian Plate, the Himalayan mountain range runs west-northwest to east-southeast in an arc 2,400 km long, its western anchor, Nanga Parbat, lies just south of the northernmost bend of Indus river. Its eastern anchor, Namcha Barwa, is just west of the great bend of the Yarlung Tsangpo River; the Himalayan range is bordered on the northwest by the Hindu Kush ranges. To the north, the chain is separated from the Tibetan Plateau by a 50–60 km wide tectonic valley called the Indus-Tsangpo Suture. Towards the south the arc of the Himalaya is ringed by the low Indo-Gangetic Plain.
The range varies in width from 350 km in the west to 150 km in the east. The Himalayas are distinct from the other great ranges of central Asia, although sometimes the term'Himalaya' is loosely used to include the Karakoram and some of the other ranges; the Himalayas are inhabited by 52.7 million people, are spread across five countries: Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan. Some of the world's major rivers – the Indus, the Ganges and the Tsangpo-Brahmaputra – rise in the Himalayas, their combined drainage basin is home to 600 million people; the Himalayas have a profound effect on the climate of the region, helping to keep the monsoon rains on the Indian plain and limiting rainfall on the Tibetan plateau. The Himalayas have profoundly shaped the cultures of the Indian subcontinent; the name of the range derives from himá and ā-laya. They are now known as the "Himalaya Mountains" shortened to the "Himalayas", they were described in the singular as the Himalaya. This was previously transcribed Himmaleh, as in Emily Dickinson's poetry and Henry David Thoreau's essays.
The mountains are known as the Himālaya in Nepali and Hindi, the Himalaya or'The Land of Snow' in Tibetan, the Hamaleh Mountain Range in Urdu and the Ximalaya Mountain Range in Chinese. In the middle of the great curve of the Himalayan mountains lie the 8,000 m peaks of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna in Nepal, separated by the Kali Gandaki Gorge; the gorge splits the Himalayas into Western and Eastern sections both ecologically and orographically – the pass at the head of the Kali Gandaki, the Kora La is the lowest point on the ridgeline between Everest and K2. To the east of Annapurna are the 8,000 m peaks of Manaslu and across the border in Tibet, Shishapangma. To the south of these lies Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal and the largest city in the Himalayas. East of the Kathmandu Valley lies valley of the Bhote/Sun Kosi river which rises in Tibet and provides the main overland route between Nepal and China – the Araniko Highway/China National Highway 318. Further east is the Mahalangur Himal with four of the world's six highest mountains, including the highest: Cho Oyu, Everest and Makalu.
The Khumbu region, popular for trekking, is found here on the south-western approaches to Everest. The Arun river drains the northern slopes of these mountains, before turning south and flowing through the range to the east of Makalu. In the far east of Nepal, the Himalayas rise to the Kanchenjunga massif on the border with India, the third highest mountain in the world, the most easterly 8,000 m summit and the highest point of India; the eastern side of Kanchenjunga is in the Indian state of Sikkim. An independent Kingdom, it lies on the main route from India to Lhasa, which passes over the Nathu La pass into Tibet. East of Sikkim lies the ancient Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan; the highest mountain in Bhutan is Gangkhar Puensum, a strong candidate for the highest unclimbed mountain in the world. The Himalayas here are becoming rugged with forested steep valleys; the Himalayas continue, turning northeast, through the Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh as well as Tibet, before reaching their easterly conclusion in the peak of Namche Barwa, situated in Tibet inside the great bend of the Yarlang Tsangpo river.
On the other side of the Tsangpo, to the east, are the Kangri Garpo mountains. The high mountains to the north of the Tsangpo including Gyala Peri, are sometimes included in the Himalayas. Going west from Dhaulagiri, Western Nepal is somewhat remote and lacks major high mountains, but is home to Rara Lake, the largest lake in Nepal; the Karnali River cuts through the center of the region. Further west, the border with India follows the Sarda River and provides a trade route into China, where on the Tibetan plateau lies the high peak of Gurla Mandhata. Just across Lake Manasarovar from this lies the sacred Mount Kailash, which stands close to the source of the four main rivers of Himalayas and is revered in Hinduism, Sufism and Bonpo. In the newly created Indian state of Uttarkhand, the Himalayas rise again as the Garhwal Himalayas with the high peaks of Nanda Devi and Kamet; the state is an important pilgrimage destination, with