These are some of the most dramatic landscapes in the world, with long glaciers and shapely spires. Travel here is not easy; the valleys are wild, remote and rugged with raging torrents.
Author: Bob Gibbons
View: 189The Hindu Kush and Karakoram ranges run from the centre of Afghanistan through northern Pakistan into Indian Kashmir. These are some of the most dramatic landscapes in the world, with long glaciers and shapely spires. Travel here is not easy; the valleys are wild, remote and rugged with raging torrents. As the well-publicised blurb says - Incredible India - and so it is. India has always been one of those places that inspires adventurous travel. It is as colourful an experience as is possible across the world, with the mountain regions no exception. The Himalayan zone runs from the arid high peaks of Ladakh and Zanskar through the lush Vale of Kashmir to the remote chain of Spiti and east to the Indian peaks. Hundreds of kilometres east beyond Nepal (see our Pictorial Guide to the Nepal Himalaya) is Sikkim, now integrated into India. Bhutan has long been described as the ultimate Shangri La, with its amazing Buddhist culture and nature. Bhutan is in complete contrast to India - a less frenzied, peaceful land of legends, peaks and monasteries. Apart from trekking, visitors come for a myriad of reasons - including its rich tapestry of religion, folklore and legend.In this series of Pictorial Guides, many of the sights are globally well known, but not all the destinations are familiar to visitors. Pakistan, India and Bhutan are no exception. The arid uncompromising mountain 'fortress' of Ladakh remained remote and little known for centuries, until as recently as 1977, when it first opened to outsiders. Kashmir, in contrast, has seen the passage of history for millennia, with its rich culture and exquisite nature. In Himachal and Uttarakhand, the Himalaya see fewer visitors, but hidden here are peaks as sublime as any. Sikkim is dominated by Kanchenjunga and hosts quiet Buddhist communities, while Bhutan is firmly on the tourist circuit for nature and culture.