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Physical and cultural patterns in the Himalaya

  • Gurung, H.

There is a lack of consistency on the designation for the highest mountain range in the world. That is, some describe it in singular as 'Himalaya' while others use the plural 'Himalayas'. The author aims to clarify how these two forms should be used according to the context under discussion. This mountain range deserves to be treated as a singular entity owing to its emphatic physiographic expression of extreme elevation. Its homogenous personality conjures up the image of the Himalaya as an earthly phenomenon with ethereal aura since the power places there have an element of unity - be it Shamanistic, Buddhistic or Hinduistic. This does not mean that its plural version is spurious. It becomes relevant when referring to topical components of the Himalaya. In geology, its respective components are Higher Himalaya, Lower Himalaya, and Sub-Himalaya. Its vegetation realms are West Himalayan (xerophytic) and East Himalayan (hydrophytic). Again, its geographical divisions yield the Western, Central and Eastern Himalaya.

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