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Travel to Kumaon

Kumaon appeared out of the sea 30 million years ago. At that time the Himalayas began to rise out of the ancient Tethys Ocean pushed up by the pressures of the plate on which the peninsular wedge of India rests. In a slow northwards movement it had thrust its edge under the plate of the Eurasian continent raising the Tethis higher and still higher into the sky. The bed of this ancient ocean hunched up and became the Himalayas and the high altitude desert of Tibet. In the last million years this region of 2.5 million square kms has grown by an amazing 4000 to 5000 meters.

The Himalayas of Kumaon are cool and welcoming. At their feet stretches a tusk land of dense forests and marshes called the Terai.It is rich in wildlife. Visitors flock to these foothills particularly in summer and it was here that the British established their summer resort hill stations and their military cantonments around recruiting centres. To the north of the foothills rise the towering, white crested Higher Himalayas.


       


Their great peaks present irresistible challenges to mountaineers and their scenic trails beckon trekkers from all over the world to alpine lands of breath taking beauty. Further north still on both sides of the high frontier between India and Tibet lie the Inner or Tethys Himalayas. This is an austere wind-whipped land of glaciers high altitude deserts and curious old granitic intrusions thrusting through the younger mountains.

One of these in Tibet but the focal point of pilgrimages from India is the intriguingly rounded peak of Mount Kailas.This holy mountain and other lesser rounded hills which look like humped carapaces could have inspired Himalayan people to name their land after the tortoise incarnation of the Preserver, Lord Vishnu. The incarnation is called Kuruma and this they say is the origin of the name Kumaon.