The Himalayas, the tall snow-capped and seemingly inaccessible summits that rise up into a cold breathless air from a land bathed in mystique and religious devotion; literally translated as ‘Abode of Snow’ the name applies to the great mountain system of Asia separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau. Lifted by the subduction of the Indian tectonic plate, the Himalayan range runs north-west to south-east in an arc of over fifteen hundred miles from the peak of Nanga Parbat, 8,126m (26,661 ft) in northern Pakistan to Namcha Barwa, 7,782m (25,532 ft) in the state of Arunachal Pradesh in far eastern India. This core Himalaya is bordered on the north-west by the Karakoram which, in view of the significant number of tall mountains lying within this range, it is often included in what is loosely called the ‘Greater Himalaya’.
The Himalayas are spread across five countries: Nepal, India, Bhutan, China and Pakistan. The range has many of the world’s tallest peaks including the highest, Everest, standing at 8848m (28,029 ft). In addition there are thirteen other distinct peaks rising to above 8,000 metres (26,248 ft) and over fifty exceeding 7,200 metres (23,600 ft). The Himalayas have a profound influence on the climate of the region, preventing much of the monsoon rain the affects the Indian plains and foothills from reaching the Tibetan Plateau. Access to the Himalayas for mountaineers, photographers and tourists has improved considerably over the years via a network of new roads and an increase in the number of domestic airlines operating flights to the remoter areas such as Lukla in the Khumbu region of Nepal, Skardu in the Pakistan Karakoram, Bagdogra in northern India, Lhasa in Tibet and Gelephu in Bhutan.
The collection of images exhibited here have been captured from a wide variety of locations scattered across most of the Himalayan countries mentioned earlier. Nepal, on whose borders stand no less than eight of the world’s highest peaks, features heavily for that very reason. The Karakoram Himalaya which contains the highest concentration of the world’s 7,000 metre peaks is also given prominence.