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Hills and Mountains of Northeast India | UPSC | North East India Info

Hills and Mountain Ranges of Northeast India have two different geological and physiographical units. In the north-eastern part of the region hills and ranges are part of the Himalaya Mountain. On the other hand, the south-western part of the region's hills and ranges is the production of Peninsular Plateau.

There are hundreds of mountain hills in Northeastern India. if we categorized them with Macro, Meso, and Micro Hills. In the following discussion of this article, we have just covered the mountain ranges and regions which have the most important hills of those regions.

1. Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya or Mahabharata Range

    1.1 Singalila Range

    1.2 Donkhya Range 

2. Arunachal Himalaya

    2.1 The Greater Himalayas Range

    2.2 Dafla Hills

    2.3  Miri Hills

    2.4 Mishmi Hills

3. Patkai-Purvanchal Range

    3.1 Patkai Hills

    3.2 Naga Hills

    3.3  Manipur Hills

    3.4  Mizo Hills or Lushai hills

    3.5 Tripura Hills or Jampui Hills

4. Barail Range

    4.1 NC Hills

5. Karbi-Meghalaya Plateau Region

    5.1  Mikir Hills

    5.2  Khasi Hills

    5.3  Garo Hills

    5.4 Jaintia Hills

Northeast India Mountains and Hills Map

Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya part of Mahabharata Range

Sikkim-Darjeeling Himalaya

The Sikkim-Darjeeling Himalaya contains the stretch of tectonically active Eastern Himalaya. It is composed of three main tectonic units: Higher Himalaya, Lower Himalaya and Siwaliks separated by thrusts but joined by a great fluvial system of the Tista River. The Higher Himalaya with relief up to 2,000–4,000 m was uplifted by about 2,000 m in the Quaternary rising above the snowline.[1]

This notable mountain range has divided into two; The Singalila Range separates Sikkim from Nepal in the west, while the Dongkya range forms the border with the Tibet Autonomous Region of China to the east.

Singalila Range

The Singalila Ridge is a north-south mountain ridge running from north-western West Bengal through Sikkim in the Indian part of The Himalayas. The district of Ilam in Nepal falls on the western part of this ridge.

The Singalila range receives heavy precipitation from the monsoon and is covered with hundreds of feet thick ice. The avalanches are an ever-present source of danger in the part of Sikkim.

Donkhya Range

The outstanding feature of the Donkhya range is the immense luxuriance and a verity of vegetation and the forests are still virgins.

Arunachal Himalaya

The Arunachal Himalayas form the eastern frontier of the eastern Himalayas. The Namcha Barwa massif on the extreme east of the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh is the accepted easternmost point of the Himalayas. Earlier this region was known by the term of Assam Himalayas, but the creation of theNorth East Frontier Agency (NEFA) and Arunachal Pradeshrendered this term obsolete.

Arunachal Himalaya again divided into following hills-

The Greater or Higher Himalayas

The Greater or Higher Himalayas a zone of very high relief with heights greater than 6000m having precipitous slopes and deep gorges. This zone is generally devoid of vegetation. Its southern limits are defined by the Main Central Thrust.[2]  

Dafla Hills

The Dafla Hills is the part of the lesser Himalaya of Kameng district. The Daflas constitute more than 44 % of the total tribal population of the Kameng district. Also called Bangnis, they belong to the wild eastern part of the district which has recently been brought under administration. In the western part of the district the Monpas are gentle and courteous people who cultivate on terraces.

Miri Hills

The Miri Hills is also part of lesser Himalaya. the hill Miri people accompanied by the groups of Dafalas and Tagins live in the wild and the desolate hill of Subansiri district, whereas the north-western part is occupied by more cultured and settled agriculturists.

Mishmi Hills

The Mishmi Hills are located at the north-eastern tip of India, in north-eastern Arunachal Pradesh. On the Chinese side, they form the southern parts of Nyingchi Prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The Himalayan arc takes a sharp turn and meets Indo-Burma ranges. The rocks of eastern lesser Himalaya and the central crystallines appear to be largely attenuated and truncated in Mishmi Hills.[3] 

Patkai-Purvanchal Range

Patkai-Purvanchal Range

The very fact that the Purvanchal chiefly comprises of Eastern Mountain gives a sufficient indication regarding its topographic characteristic. The ranges of Assam Himalaya running east-south take a Hair-pin bend where they cross the Lohit and thence extend southwards across the region beyond which they are known as the Arakan Yoma. The region is tightly packed with North- south aligned ranges defined by narrow and parallel valleys towards the west.
The major hills of  Patkai Purvanchal range as follow-

Patkai Hills

The Patkai hill range is part of the Arakan Mountains and is not as rugged as the Himalayas and the peaks are much lower. Features of the range include conical peaks, steep slopes, and deep valleys. 

The Patkai or Patkai Bum is the hills on India's north-eastern border with Burma or Myanmar. They were created by the same tectonic processes that created the Himalayas in the Mesozoic.

Patkai Range, the highest mountain range of the State attaining a height of 3,840 meters at Saramati traverses the extreme eastern high hill ranges. 

It takes a north-south course separating the State of Nagaland from Burma and also acts as a watershed between the rivers of India and Burma. 

Tizu is the only major river of Nagaland that crosses the range and empties itself on the eastern side in the Chindwin Drainage System of Burma. The western side of the Patkai Range falls in India.[6]

Naga Hills 

It is located in India extending into Myanmar which forms a divide between India and Myanmar. The hills of Nagaland being created in the Tethyan orogenic belt form a part of the Alpine-Himalaya mountain chains. 

These are built up mostly by the thick sequence of Cenozoic and late Mesozoic sediments. These sediments are bounded on the eastern side by an op h iolite complex and shelf sediments along the eastern periphery of the State bordering Burma. In the western part of the State, the most prominent morpho-tectonic sedimentary crustal block is the 'Belt of Schuppen’.[4]

Manipur Hills

It is located in the north of Nagaland, Mizoram in the south, upper Myanmar in the east and Assam in the westbound Manipur Hills.

The verage elevations vary between 5,000 and 6,000 feet (1,500 and 1,800 metres), although the hills in the north rise above 9,500 feet (2,900 meters). In the west the Surma River, known as the Barak River in Manipur, has cut a narrow steep-sided the valley through the West Manipur Hills as it flows to join the Meghna River in Bangladesh.

Lushai Hills

Lushai Hills also known as Mizo Hills. It is located in south-eastern Mizoram state, north-eastern India, forming part of the north Arakan Yoma system. The range is part of the Patkai range system and its highest point is 2,157 m high Phawngpui, also known as 'Blue Mountain'.

The Lushai Hills rise to about 7,000 feet (2,125 metres), and their slopes are covered with thick evergreen forest containing valuable timber and bamboo. In the intermontane valleys, shifting (slash-and-burn) agriculture and some terrace cultivation is practiced.

Jampui Hills

Jampui hills also known as Tripura Hills. These hills are a series of parallel north-south folds, decreasing in elevation to the south until they merge into the greater Ganges-Brahmaputra lowlands (also called the Eastern Plains). Each a successive ridge of hills to the east rises higher than the one before; the low Deotamura Range is followed by the Artharamura, Langtarai, and Sakhan Tlang ranges.

Jampui Hills is situated at about 200 Km. away from Agartala and is the highest hill range in the state bordering Mizoram. This permanent seat of eternal spring is situated at an altitude of 3000’ above sea level. 

During November every year, the unique Orange & Tourism festival is celebrated in the Jampui hill. A large number of tourists, both domestic and foreign, participate and enjoy this festival. The rainy season is no less charming. 

During this season the hill is covered with floating clouds and it provides a rare experience for the tourists. The formation of clouds at the bottom of the hill range and its gradual ascendance from the bottom to the top slowly engulfing the whole hill range in its mystic lap is an experience to treasure.

There are 10 small villages in Jampui hills and most of the inhabitants are the Mizo community. The villages are (from North to South) Vaisam, Hmawngchuan, Hmunpui, Tlaksih, Vanghmun, Behliangchhip, Bangla Zion, Tlangsang, Sabual and Phuldungsei.

Barail Range

The Barail Range is a group of a mountain or high ridges and watershed between the Brahmaputra and Barak rivers. The terrain ranges from flat and undulating in the river valleys, to mountainous with steep slopes. Located in Dima Hasao district of Assam.

The Barail range is a tertiary mountain range topographically bridging the Archaean Meghalaya Plateau with the tertiary Naga Hills which is the south-western projection of the Himalayas.

The Barail Range of Assam covering the N.C Hills district are the westward continuation of the Barail range stretching from Tuensang across Nagaland.

The Barail range divides the N.C Hills into two parts-the northern part falling under the Brahmaputra basin and the southern part falling under the Barak basin.

Hills of Karbi-Meghalaya Plateau 

Karbi- Meghalaya plateau

Karbi- Meghalaya plateau is a part of the Deccan plateau of the southern peninsular plateau region. Situated in Northeast India covering the whole Indian state of Meghalaya and Karbianglong district of Assam. the plateau consists of four major hills viz, Mikir, Garo, Khasi and Jaintia Hills.

Mikir Hills

The Mikir Hills area lies on the extreme east of the Meghalaya Plateau (Physigraphically the Mikir Hills is included within Meghalaya Plateau) and is in close proximity to the central part of the Brahmaputra valley. As such, It is under a somewhat rain-shadow effect, being situated on the leeward side of the Khasi and Jaintia Hills.[5]

Khasi Hills

Khasi Hills, physiographic region, central Meghalaya state, northeastern India. The area consists mostly of hilly regions and includes the Shillong Plateau; it is drained by tributaries of the Brahmaputra and Surma rivers.

Geographically famous for being the wettest place on earth and also Shillong, one of the most beautiful hill stations in India. In fact the entire Khasi Hills region that forms the central part of Meghalaya is richly endowed with natural beauty. Everywhere you go, you will never cease to be mystified by the spectacular charm the state offers.

Garo Hills

Garo Hills having an area of approximately 8,000 sq km. is densely forested and hence one of the richest spots in bio­diversity.

The Garos predominantly inhabiting the three districts of the State namely East Garo Hills, West Garo Hills and South Garo Hills are basically superstitious, believe in spirits and have rich traditional tales of myths and legends. To the Garos everything that is interesting and unnatural has to have the lore of some kind.

Jaintia Hills

The Jaintia Hills in the State of Meghalaya is bounded on the North and East by the State of Assam. On the South by Bangladesh and on the West by East Khasi Hills District. The total area is 3,819 sq.kms. having a population of 2,95,692 (2001 Census). 

A land of undulating hills rich in mineral deposits. The natural vegetation changes according to the topography of the land kingdom of Jaintiapur now in present-day Bangladesh

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