Mapping the Western Himalayas

Welcome to a centralized portal on the Western Indian Himalayas which until now was non existing making it difficult to explore this beautiful region. In the last few weeks, myself & Aman digitally mapped a large number of passes, hiking routes, high altitude lakes, peaks, rivers, hamlets and remote locations in the Western Himalayas. We consolidated data from many sources, accurately geo-referenced and properly tagged the data into Open Street Maps (OSM). The information can viewed through standard OSM map viewers and mobile apps. We also built a custom map which highlights all info relevant to the hiking community. Special credit goes to Depi Chaudhry who selflessly shared his valuable & extensive work on mapping hiking routes.

What you see here is a first draft of work in progress. Let us know if you see anything missed out or you wish to contribute in this ongoing project:

Passes – 498
High altitude lakes – 623
Peaks – 703
Hiking Routes – 611

Summary Map

This is a custom map created in QGIS with an OpenTopoMap base layer and highlighting OSM data (snapshot 3 July 2020) relevant for the Himalayan hiker covering J&K, Ladakh, Himachal and Uttarakhand. Zoom in and out to reveal more/less details and click on the layers to filter out different types of information.

Waymarked Trails Map

This is a standard map view on hiking routes defined in Open Street Maps (real-time). It shows intercontinental, national, regional and local routes as you zoom in and out of the map. As of now 218 routes are defined for the Western Himalayas with more being added periodically. You can click on each route to see an elevation profile and download a GPX file for navigation.

Mountain Passes

Here is a list of 467 mountain passes in the Western Himalayas along with their exact location. You can search any pass using name on the Summary map above. Around 50% right now are covered by the hiking routes below. OSM key: “mountain_pass=yes”

Hiking Routes

Here is a list of 217 hiking routes covering many passes and high altitude lakes above. We are working to further expand this set until all passes and lakes are covered. The routes are visually shown in the waymarked trails map above where you can view the elevation profile and download GPX file for navigation purposes. OSM key: “route=hiking”

High Altitude Lakes

Find a list of 121 high altitude lakes and their exact location in the Western Himalayas. Many of these lakes are considered holy by the local people and part of an annual pilgrimage. Around 50% of the lakes are covered by the hiking routes above. OSM key: “natural=lake”

Peaks

Here is a list of 489 peaks mapped in OSM in the Western Himalayas. Although not an immediate target for the hiker, the peaks are prominent features of the Himalayas, many of which can be viewed from the hiking routes above. OSM key: “natural=peak”

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