The diverse country that India is, her topography and landscape is an adequate reflection of the inclusiveness that lend the land its characteristic uniqueness. From lowlands to mountains, hills to peaks, India amasses an array of the highs and lows quite comprehensively within its borders. With the mighty Himalayas in tow, India is home to a large number of mountain peaks that which present themselves in a sight unraveling in wonder. Here are the top 15 highest peaks in India that stand testimony to the majestic grandeur of the country-
The highest peak in India and the third highest in the world, Kangchenjunga is also one of the most prominent of mountains. Rising to an elevation of 8,586 meters at the Nepal- India border in the great Himalayan range in Sikkim, the peak is also considered a sacred spot. Particularly in Buddhism, the mountain peak assumes immense religious significance and represents a prominent cultural lineage in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. Literally translating as the Five Treasures of the High Snow, Kangchenjunga or Khangchendzonga is believed to harbour such treasures as salt, gold, turquoise and precious stones, sacred scriptures, invincible armor or ammunition, grain, and medicine.
While the majesty of the mighty Kanchenjunga is indeed one that inspires awe and splendor, no less breathtaking is its array of biodiversity. In being encompassing of three distinct ecoregions across its expansive landscape, the revered mountain comprises of a range of protected areas including conservation zones, natural reserves, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries in India, Nepal as well as Bhutan. Inhabiting its many such protected areas are significant flora and fauna, particularly endangered species like snow leopard, red panda et al. In its pristine natural setting undisturbed by human interference due to its relative inaccessibility, the peak has retained much of its charm and aura. Religiously revered, spiritually sacred and geographically distant, the Kanchenjunga indeed carries well the enigma of being the highest mountain peak in India.
Nanda Devi might only be the second highest peak in India but in being the highest peak located entirely within the country sure presumes significance of its own. At an elevation of 7816 meters above sea level, Nanda Devi is part of the Garhwal Himalayas, and is located in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Also considered sacred, the peak literally translates as “Bliss-Giving Goddess” and is considered to be the daughter of the Himalaya in Indian myth and folklore. In its religious reverence and fragile ecosystem, the peak has been granted the status of a protected area. The Nanda Devi National Park that surrounds the eponymous peak is one of the prime places where one can spot the snow leopard in India and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988.
At 7756 meters above sea level, Kamet is the third highest peak in India. Also located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, Kamet is a remote presence near the Tibetan Plateau. Prominent in its appearance that resembles a giant pyramid topped by a flat summit area with two peaks, Kamet is part of the Zanskar range in the union territory of Ladakh in India. As the first mountain over 7500 meters and 25000 feet to be climbed, Kamet is another of the significant high peaks of India.
The highest peak of the Saltoro mountains and the fourth highest overall in India, Saltoro Kangri sits in a remote location, very deep in the Karakoram range. The 7742 meters elevated peak is located near the Siachen Glacier and has been a focal point that gave rise to the Siachen Conflict of 1984.
A group of five majestic mountain peaks in Ladakh, Saser Kangri is among the highest peaks in India. A part of Saser Muztagh, the easternmost subrange of the Karakoram, Sase Kangri stands tall at an elevation of 7672 meters above sea level. Reigning between the river valleys of Nubra and Shyok, Saser Kangri is an aesthetic phenomenon as well. With a name that literally means Yellow Mountain, Saser Kangri is a majestic sight and is popularly known also as the K22.
Also a steep presence in Ladakh is the sixth highest peak in India, the Mamostong Kangri. At an elevation of 7516 meters, it is the highest peak in the remote Rimo Muztagh and is located in a remote area close to the Siachen Glacier. In its rugged terrains the Mampstong Kangri however conceals a mystery far more towering. With a Turkish name that literally translates as the mountain engulfed in a thousand fogs, the Mamostong Kangri has been a mountain that has continuously deferred expedition attempts in both its remote deceiving folds and its volatile environment.
Lying on the boundary between China and the Siachen Glacier region near the line of control between India and Pakistan is the 7462 meters high peak Teram Kangri. A mountain massif in the remote Siachen Muztagh, again a subrange of the Karakoram, Teram Kangri or the snow mountain of Teram is one of India’s many high mountain peaks.
Standing at an altitude of 7462 meters, the Jongsong Peak might be among the ten highest peaks in India but it remains rather dominated by a more prominent Kanchenjunga. Located inside the Khangchendzonga National Park, this mountain in the Janak section of the Himalayas has its summit on the tri-junction of India, Nepal and China.
Another peak of the Saltoro mountains that happen to be one of the highest in India is one strategically named K12. Near the Line of Control between the areas controlled by India and Pakistan, this peak rises steeply to an altitude of 7428 meters. A part of the Karakoram Range along the Pakistan-China border, this pyramid-shaped mountain got its rather interesting name from the designation given during the original survey of the Karakoram range.
On the border of eastern Nepal and India, Kabru is a 7412 meters high mountain peak of the Himalayas. One of the tall virgin peaks in the Himalayan mountain range, Kabru is a ridge that extends south from the Kanchenjunga. Literally meaning the ‘White Avalanche’ peak, Kabru poses as domineering a vision of its landscape as it does in its terminology. Elusive in the highly unstable ice falls that characterise it, this legendary mountain in north west Sikkim is indeed one of the more formidable of high peaks in India.
At an elevation of 7385 meters above sea level, the Rimo peak located near the Siachen area of Ladakh is another of the highest peaks of the Karakoram in India. Translating as striped mountain in its name, the remote setting of the mountain renders it relatively unwandered by humans, as does the many strains of political and military tensions ruling rough over its equally rugged topography.
A 7,202 meters high peak in the Karakoram range, Singhi Kangri is located on the border between China and the Siachen Glacier. As a mountain that bears a name literally meaning difficult peak, Singhi Kangri boasts of quite difficult treading trails.
One of the major peaks and also one of the oldest summits in the Kumaon Himalaya is Hardeol. At an elevation of 7151 meters, this peak also known as the Temple of God is one of the highest in India. Located in the border of the Chamoli and Pithoragarh districts of Uttarakhand in India, Hardeol is also the highest peak in the northern side of the ring of peaks guarding Nanda Devi. Called Hardoli or Hardol by locals who worship it as their presiding deity, the peak itself is not devoid of religious significance as such. Standing on a sharply cut vertical rock mass, Hardeol is also popular as Trishuli south.
Located yet again in Uttarakhand in its Garhwal district, Chaukamba is a 7138 high mountain peak. One of the chief mountain massifs in the Gangotri cluster of mountains, the majestic peak literally meaning four pillars attributing its four peaks lies at the head of the Gangotri glacier. The enormous peak however isn’t just a towering presence in its dominant rise. The picturesque environs also render this high peak in India one of the more popular with trekking enthusiasts. A popular Hindu pilgrimage site, Chaukamba is as breathtaking a tourist attraction as it is magnificent a landscape.
A group of three Himalayan mountain peaks of western Kumaun, Trisul is a mountain peak named after the weapon of the Hindu Lord Shiva. This is because the three peaks that make up Trisul represent a trident, the English equivalent of the Sanskrit Trishula. Also a part of the ring of peaks guarding the sacred Nanda Devi, Trisul is a major peak in the Himalayan range. At 7120 meters abouve sea level, it has been the first peak above 7000 meters to have ever been ascended. In its mesmerising beauty and pure pristinity, Trisul is a sight to soak up in all its enchanted glory. As one of the highest in India, this is a peak that entices tourists not jut by its prominent characteristic but also with its beckoning in simplistic beauty.