Although Nepal is a landlocked country that has India on the south and east and China on the north and west, it has tremendous topographical diversity and amazing geographical highlights in the width of just 230km from North to South. Nepal, popularly known as the land of Himalayas has more than 1,300 peaks including the highest mountains ranges in the world. Eight of fourteen eight-thousanders mountains in the world are located in Nepal. The Himalayan ranges of Nepal is of utmost importance to people, culture, religion and climate of the country. These mountains represent Nepal’s image as an ultimate adventure-land and a place to make Mountaineer’s dream of conquering all the highest mountain in the world. Let’s have a look at major mountain ranges in Nepal.
Annapurna massif is located in the north-central Nepal that includes one peak over 8,000 meters, thirteen peaks over 7000 meters and sixteen more over 6,000 meters, all within 55 kilometres. With the height of 8,091 meters, Annapurna I is the tenth highest peak of the world which pinpoints in Annapurna region of Annapurna massif range. This epic massif is bounded by the Kali-gandaki in the west, Marshyangdi river in the east and Pokhara valley in the south. The massif encloses a high basin called the Annapurna Sanctuary at the eastern end. It is located in Annapurna Conservation Area and the center of attraction is Annapurna I (8091m) the first mountain over 8000meter to be conquered by French expedition group lead by Maurice Herzog and Louis Lachenal in year 1950. Nepal’s Himalayan ranges draws both trekkers and religious devotees.
The word Annapurna is derived from Sanskrit words Anna and Purna which means “full of food”. Annapurna is also associated with hindu goddess which make sure everyone is well fed. The entire massif is surrounding area is protected within Annapurna conservation area the first and largest conservation area of Nepal and its attracts tourists from all over the world with its popular trekking trails including Annapurna Base Camp and Annapurna Circuit.
Trekking is very popular in this region with various options available and place to start your walk with some famous points like Ghandruk, Besi-Sahar, Poon hill, Dhampus etc. Many agencies of Nepal organize trekking to the famous Annapurna Circuit and Annapurna Base camp from Kathmandu or Pokhara. You’ll need to super fit for that. There are few mountains passes which you might need to cross. One of them is Thorangla Pass (5416) in Annapurna Circuit trek which connects two districts Manang and Mustang.
Dhaulagiri: Dhaulagiri, one of the popular and major mountain ranges in Nepal extends 120 kilometers from Kaligandaki River west to Bheri. This contains one of the eight-thousanders Dhaulagiri I (8,167meters), the seventh highest peak in the world. The name Dhaulagiri comes from Sanskrit language , which means a ‘dazzling white beautiful mountain’. Annapurna I sits just 34kilometers away from Dhaulagiri massif. The Kaligandaki river, which flows between these two giants’ massifs is said to be the world deepest gorge.
This region is one of the least discovered trekking regions of Nepal. The trekking trail leads to a popular hidden valley and remarkable French Pass (5360m). A two-week trekking trail in rthis emote and off-track area provides you with the breathtaking view of giant himalayas including Dhaulagiri massif, Annapurna Massif, Manaslu, Machhapuchare, Nilgiri, and many other peaks with amazing landscape. Trekking opportunities are plenty in this region where trekkers can witness the beauty of himalayas, rare landscape of Nepal along with various species of flora and fauna.
The Great Himalayas Range: One of the major mountain ranges in Nepal, the greater Himalayas or Great Himalayas is highest mountain range of the Himalayan range system. This range runs approximately through 2400km and pass through the country of India, Nepal, Pakistan, China, Bhutan and Afghanistan. The great Himalayas range has world’s highest peak Everest(8848m), second highest peak K2 (8611) along with Kanchenjunga(8586m) , Lhotse(8516), Nanga Parbat (8126) etc. It is the highest zone, with snow covered peaks rising more than 22,000 feet above sea level. This trail is literally a route across the Himalayas from east to west.
You’ll need a six month of holiday to walk the Great Himalaya trail and in completing it you will have walked approximately 1700km, seen all 14 of Nepal’s tallest peaks and have crossed passes at more than 6000m.
Kanchenjunga: Kanchenjunga is the third highest mountain of the world with the height of 8586m shared by both Nepal and India located at the far east of Nepal on the border of Sikkim and around 20km south of Tibet. This stunning massif contains five peaks, four of them are above 8000m and Kangbachen is 7903m. This mountain is also the part of The Great Himalaya Range. Kanchenjunga is originally derived from Tibetan word which means ‘Five Treasuries of the Great Snow’.
Kanchenjunga was presumed to be the highest peak of the world until 1852. It was first conquered by British expedition team lead by Joe Brown and George Band on 1955. The whole massif is shared by Nepal, Bhutan, China and India. Kanchenjunga is one of six peaks above 8000m located in the basin of Koshi river, which is among the largest tributaries of Ganges. It is also the second least climbed peak among the 14 peaks above 8000m, only Annapurna peak has been less climbed than Kanchenjunga. Though this region is a hidden gem, it is very wild and remote and least visited by trekkers where you hardly meet any trekkers. Overall the trail is much harder than the ones of Annapurnas and Everest.
Located in the north of Kathmandu valley which touches the border of Tibet region of China, Langtang himal is the closest and just a drive away from Kathmandu valley followed by superb hike heading up to Kyanjin Gompa. The range can be visible from Kathmandu on a sunny and less cloudy day. The highest peak of the range is Langtang Lirung (7234m) listed in 99th on the worlds 100 highest mountain peaks. This beautiful peak hasn’t been climbed often, though attempts were made in early 60’s. The Japanese-Sherpa expedition team successfully conquered Langtang Lirung in year 1978.
Fun fact about this peak is – out of the 14 ascents on the mountain from 1978 to 1995, there has been 13 failed attempts. Nepal’s first Himalayan national park was established in this region known by Langtang National Park in 1976. The park contains a wide variety climatic zones with approximately 25% of forest. There are more than 8 peaks above 6000m height and few above 5000m height. Langtang lirung, Langtang Ri, Dorje Lakpa, Yala Peak etc are well known among trekkers. Langtang have many famous trekking trails like Kyanjin Gompa, Gosaikunda Lake, Helambu Trek and Tamang Heritage Trail.
Mahabharat Range: One of major mountain ranges in Nepal, Mahabharat range also called as The Lower Himalayan Range is a major east-west mountain range with elevations of 3700m to 4500m. Mahabharat range mainly consists of Inner-Terai valley and enclosed by Shivalik hills in the southern part. It is regarded as the Himalayan foothills which separates the mountains from the plains and consists of valleys and hills.
Bethanchok, Narayanthan is believed to be the highest peak residing at the southern hills of the Mahabharat range with an altitude of 3021m and boast the magnificent view of panoramic mountain ranges from Dhaulagiri to Makalu. It is about 30km far from Dhulikhel and 7km walking distance from Dhungkharka. Bethanchok is also termed as king of the hills. Top of this range offers a great view of Kavre and Bagmati basin of Makwanpur. The terai region of Nepal which covered 65% of the total land area is situated around the Mahabharat range which is close to the Churia Range.
Mahalangur Himal: Mahalangur Himalaya range consisting Nepal’s main treasure, the highest point on the planet Mount Everest also called as Sagarmatha in Nepali language and other 3 eight-thousanders Makalu (8463m), Lhotse (8516m) and Cho oyu (8201m) sits in the Nepal-Tibet border 70km east northeast of Kathmandu. This massive range is 80km long and 65km wide. Mahalangur is the major and well-known mountain range all over the world with four of the 14 eight thousanders along with 20 peaks over 7000m and 63 over 60000m high.
The Sagarmatha national park includes the world’s famous trekking route known as Everest Base Camp trail and Makalu Barun national park comes inside this Himalayan range. Every year thousands of trekkers and mountaineers from all over the world enters the Everest region to feel the once in a life time experience and to catch the eye-catching view of some of the highest peaks of this planet. The scenery of this trail is spectacular. Mahalangur Himalaya range is divided into three subsections: Makalu, Barun and Khumbu. The Khumbu region in Mahalangurs is best known and most populated part of this Himalayan range and a home to Mount Everest.
Mansiri Himal: Mansiri Himal is one of the major part of the Nepalese Himalayas range situated in the west-central part of Nepal, that is one of the major mountain ranges in Nepal. The Marsyangdi River separates the Mansiri from mighty Annapurna’s. The range includes Manaslu (8156m) ranked 8th highest peak in the world along with Himalchuli (7893m) ranked 18th highest and Ngadi Chuli (7871m) 20th highest peak in the world. Mansiri range is also called as Manaslu Himal or the Gurkha Maassif. Manaslu is derived from Sanskrit word which means ‘Mountain of the Spirit’. It was first conquered by Japanese expedition team on 1956, thus Mount Manaslu has always been a favorite Japanese mountain since then.
The landscape of this region is spectacular and Manaslu circuit trek is considered among the best treks that Nepal offers. It is less crowded and the trek is wild and remote, yet there are teahouses at everyday rest point. The trekking trail towards Manaslu follows ancient salt trading route and 10 peaks over 6500 meters and few over 7000 meters are visible. The highest point of the trail is Larkya La Pass at an altitude of 5106 meters.
Rolwalling Himal: This hidden gem is located in the north-eastern part of Nepal and is associated with many myths. It is amazingly situated like a graveyard between the tallest peaks of Khumbu and Langtang region so it is also called as ‘Grave yard’ by the locals. Rolwalling himal range consists Melungtse 7181m , Melungtse II 7203 m inside Tibet border and Gaurishankar Himal 7134m on the Nepal side with more than 50 additional peaks over 6000m all extending from Nangpa La pass of Mahalangur Range on the south to the Tamakoshi River. The story of mythical Yeti is part of the Nepali traditional stories passed through the generations by word of mouth is closely associated with people of Rolwalling Valley.
People consider this valley as the home of mythical Yeti and the locals of Rolwalling region had told bed times stories of the mountain man to their childrens for ages. Gaurishankar Himal the second highest peak of Rolwalling range holds a special place in Hinduism as Hindus believe Gaurishankar to be lord Shiva. The trek to the valley is a lifetime experience. The trail starts from Charikot of Dolakha district and followed by Tamakoshi river on the way up to Rolwalling Valley. Tsho Rolpa lake, the largest glacial lake in Nepal is also situated in this region at an altitude of 4580m.
These are the major mountain ranges in Nepal, all waiting for you to come visit them. So, when’s your next trip to the mountains?