Hindu Kush

The Hindu Kush   also known as Pāriyātra Parvata    is an 800 km (500 mi) long mountain range that stretches between central Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. The highest point in the Hindu Kush is Tirich Mir (7,708 m or 25,289 ft) in Chitral District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.

The origins of the name "Hindu Kush" are uncertain, with multiple theories being propounded by different scholars and writers. Hindu Kūh  and Kūh-e Hind   are usually applied to the entire range separating the basins of the Kabul and Helmand rivers from that of the Amu River (ancient Oxus) or more specifically to that part of the range, northwest of the Afghan capital KabulSanskrit documents refer to the Hindu Kush as Pāriyātra Parvata  
The mountain range was called "Paropamisadae" by Greeks in the late first millennium BC.  In the time of Alexander the Great, they were further referred to as the Caucasus Indicus or "Indian Caucasus" (as opposed to the Iberian Caucasus range), which past authors have additionally considered as a possible derivation of the name "Hindu Kush".
Other sources state that the term "Hindu Kush" originally applied only to the peak in the area of the Kushan Pass, which had become a center of the Kushan Empire by the 1st century AD.
The Persian-English dictionary   indicates that the word 'Kush' is derived from the verb Kushtan, meaning to kill. Although the derivation is only a possible one, some authors have proposed the meaning 'Kills the Hindu' for "Hindu Kush", a derivation that is reproduced inEncyclopedia Americana:
The name Hindu Kush means literally 'Kills the Hindu', a reminder of the days when Indian slaves from the Indian subcontinent died in the harsh weather typical of the Afghan mountains while being transported to Central Asia.
However, such a derivation is strongly challenged by historical documents, such as the one found in the writings of 14th century explorer Ibn Battutah, who explains that the words "Hindu Kush" refers to the harsh meteorological conditions and frost that was responsible for the death of many local travelers in that region. At the time, the word Hindu was a secular term which was used to describe all inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent – or Hindustan – irrespective of their religious affiliation. It was only towards the end of the 18th century that European merchants and colonists referred collectively to the followers of some Indian religions as Hindus.
The World Book Encyclopedia states that "the name Kush, .. means Death".  While Encyclopædia Britannica says 'The name Hindu Kush first appears in 1333 AD in the writings of Ibn Battutah, the medieval Berber traveller, who said the name meant 'Hindu Killer', a meaning still given by Afghan mountain dwellers who are traditional enemies of Indian plainsmen. 
The word "Koh" or "Kuh" means mountain in many of the local languages. According to Nigel Allan, there were at least two meanings for "Hindu Kush" common centuries ago "mountains of India" and "sparkling snows of India" - he notes that the name is clearly applied from a Central Asian perspective.  Others maintain that the name Hindu Kush is probably a corruption of Hindi-Kash or Hindi-Kesh, the boundary of Hind.
The mountains have historical significance in the Indian subcontinent and China. There has been a military presence in the mountains since the time of Darius the Great. The Great Game of the 19th century often involved military, intelligence and/or espionage personnel from both the Russian and British Empires operating in areas of the Hindu Kush. The Hindu Kush were considered, informally, the dividing line between Russian and British areas of influence in Afghanistan.
During the Cold War the mountains again became militarized, especially during the 1980s when Soviet forces and their Afghan allies fought the mujahideen. After the Soviet withdrawal, Afghan warlords fought each other and later the Taliban and the Northern Allianceand others fought in and around the mountains.
The American and ISAF campaign against Al Qaeda and their Taliban allies has once again resulted in a major military presence in the Hindu Kush. 
Alexander the Great explored the Afghan areas between Bactria and the Indus River after his conquest of the Achaemenid Empire in 330 BC. It became part of the Seleucid Empire before falling to the Indian Maurya Empire around 305 BC.
Alexander took these away from the Persians and established settlements of his own, but Seleucus Nicator gave them toSandrocottus (Chandragupta), upon terms of intermarriage and of receiving in exchange 500 elephants. 
Strabo64 BC–24 AD
Indo-Scythians expelled the Indo-Greeks by the mid 1st century BC, but lost the area to the Kushan Empire about 100 years later. 
Before the Christian era, and afterwards, there was an intimate connection between the Kabul Valley and India. All the passes of the Hindu-Kush descend into that valley; and travellers from the north as soon as they crossed the watershed, found a civilization and religion, the same as that much prevailed in India. The great range was the boundary in those days and barrier that was at time impassable. Hindu-Kuh--the mountain of Hind--was similarly derived.
Pre-Islamic populations of the Hindu Kush included Shins, Yeshkun,  Chiliss, Neemchas   Koli,  Palus, Gaware, Yeshkuns,  Krammins,  Indo-ScythiansBactrian Greeks,Kushans.
The mountains of the Hindu Kush system diminish in height as they stretch westward: Toward the middle, near Kabul, they extend from 4,500 to 6,000 meters (14,700 feet to 19,100 feet); in the west, they attain heights of 3,500 to 4,000 meters (11,500 feet to 13,000 feet). The average altitude of the Hindu Kush is 4,500 meters (14,700 feet). The Hindu Kush system stretches about 966 kilometres (600 mi) laterally, and its median north-south measurement is about 240 kilometres (150 mi). Only about 600 kilometres (370 mi) of the Hindu Kush system is called the Hindu Kush mountains. The rest of the system consists of numerous smaller mountain ranges including the Koh-e BabaSalangKoh-e PaghmanSpin Ghar (also called the eastern Safēd Kōh), Suleiman RangeSiah KohKoh-e Khwaja Mohammad and Selseleh-e Band-e Turkestan. The western Safid Koh, the Malmand, Chalap Dalan, Siah Band and Doshakh are commonly referred to as the Paropamise by western scholars, though that name has been slowly falling out of use over the last few decades.
Rivers that flow from the mountain system include the Helmand River, the Hari River and the Kabul River, watersheds for the Sistan Basin.
Numerous high passes ("kotal") transect the mountains, forming a strategically important network for the transit of caravans. The most important mountain pass is the Salang Pass (Kotal-e Salang) (3,878 m); it links Kabul and points south of it to northern Afghanistan. The completion of a tunnel within this pass in 1964 reduced travel time between Kabul and the north to a few hours. Previously access to the north through the Kotal-e Shibar (3,260 m) took three days. The Salang tunnel at 3,363 m and the extensive network of galleries on the approach roads were constructed with Soviet financial and technological assistance and involved drilling 1.7 miles through the heart of the Hindu Kush.
Before the Salang road was constructed, the most famous passes in the Western historical perceptions of Afghanistan were those leading to India. They include the Khyber Pass (1,027 m), in Pakistan, and the Kotal-e Lataband (2,499 m) east of Kabul, which was superseded in 1960 by a road constructed within the Kabul River's most spectacular gorge, the Tang-e Gharu. This remarkable engineering feat reduced travel time between Kabul and the Pakistan border from two days to a few hours.
The roads through the Salang and Tang-e Gharu passes played critical strategic roles during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan and were used extensively by heavy military vehicles. Consequently, these roads are in very bad repair. Many bombed out bridges have been repaired, but numbers of the larger structures remain broken. Periodic closures due to conflicts in the area seriously effect the economy and well-being of many regions, for these are major routes carrying commercial trade, emergency relief and reconstruction assistance supplies destined for all parts of the country.

There are a number of other important passes in Afghanistan. The Wakhjir Pass (4,923 m), proceeds from the Wakhan Corridor into Xinjiang, China, and into Northern Areas of Pakistan. Passes which join Afghanistan to Chitral, Pakistan, include the Baroghil (3,798 m) and theKachin (5,639 m), which also cross from the Wakhan. Important passes located farther west are the Shotorgardan (3,720 m), linking Logarand Paktiya provinces; the Bazarak (2,713 m), leading into Mazari Sharif; the Khawak Pass (4,370 m) in the Panjsher Valley, and theAnjuman Pass (3,858 m) at the head of the Panjsher Valley giving entrance to the north. The Hajigak (2,713 m) and Unai (3,350 m) lead into the eastern Hazarajat and Bamyan Valley. The passes of the Paropamisus in the west are relatively low, averaging around 600 meters; the most well-known of these is the Sabzak between the Herat and Badghis provinces, which links the western and northwestern parts of Afghanistan.
These mountainous areas are mostly barren, or at the most sparsely sprinkled with trees and stunted bushes. Very ancient mines producinglapis lazuli are found in Kowkcheh Valley, while gem-grade emeralds are found north of Kabul in the valley of the Panjsher River and some of its tributaries. The famous 'balas rubies', or spinels, were mined until the 19th century in the valley of the Ab-e Panj or Upper Amu Darya River, considered to be the meeting place between the Hindu Kush and the Pamir ranges. These mines now appear to be exhausted.
The Eastern Hindu Kush range, also known as the High Hindu Kush range, is mostly located in northern Pakistan and the Nuristan andBadakhshan provinces of Afghanistan. The Chitral District of Pakistan is home to Tirich Mir, Noshaq, and Istoro Nal, the highest peaks in the Hindu Kush. The range also extends into GhizarYasin Valley, and Ishkoman in Pakistan's Northern Areas.
Chitral is considered to be the pinnacle of the Hindu Kush region. The highest peaks, as well as countless passes and massive glaciers, are located in this region. The ChiantarKurambar, and Terich glaciers are amongst the most extensive in the Hindu Kush and the meltwater from these glaciers form the Kunar River, which eventually flows south into Afghanistan and joins the Bashgal, Panjsher, and eventually the much smaller Kabul River.

Lo Manthang

Lo Manthang is a medieval walled city and Village Development Committee in Mustang District in the Dhawalagiri Zone of northernNepal. At the time of the 1991 Nepal census it had a population of 876 people living in 178 individual households. 
On the Tibetan Plateau north of the main Himalayas range, Lo Manthang served as the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Mustang, which survives as the Kingdom of Lo (or "Upper Mustang" (the northern two-thirds of the present-day Mustang District.) Lo Manthang was founded in 1380 by Ame Pal, who oversaw construction of the city wall and many of the still-standing structures in the early 15th century. The monarchy officially ceased to exist on October 7, 2008 by Nepali Government order.  The last king (raja or gyelpo) isJigme Dorje Palbar Bista (born c. 1933), in the direct line of the historic monarchy dating back 25 generations to 1380. The population includes ethnic Lhobas. 
Recently a series of at least twelve caves were discovered north of Annapurna and near the village, decorated with ancient Buddhistpaintings and set in sheer cliffs at 14,000 feet (4,300 m).  The paintings show Newari influence, dating to approximately the 13th century, and also contain Tibetan scripts executed in ink, silver and gold and pre-Christian era pottery shards. Explorers found stupas, decorative art and paintings depicting various forms of the Buddha, often with disciples, supplicants and attendants, with some mural paintings showing sub-tropical themes containing palm trees, billowing Indian textiles and birds.
The village is noted for its tall white washed mud brick wallsgompas and the Raja's or Royal or King's Palace, a nine-cornered, five story structure built around 1400.  There are four major temples: Jampa Lhakhang or Jampa Gompa, the oldest, built in the early 15th century and also known as the "God house"; Thubchen Gompa, a huge, red assembly hall and gompa built in the late 15th century and located just southwest of Jampa Gompa; Chodey Gompa, now the main city gompa; and the Choprang Gompa, which is popularly known as the "New Gompa". 
Even though foreign visitors have been allowed in the kingdom since 1992, tourism to Upper Mustang remains limited, with just over 2000 foreign tourists in 2008. 
The Nepalese Department of Immigration requires foreign visitors to obtain a special permit, which costs $50 per day per person, and liaison (guide) to protect local tradition from outside influence as well as to protect their environment.

List of mountains in Nepal

Nepal contains part of the Himalayas, the highest mountain range in the world. Eight of the fourteen eight-thousanders are located in the country, either in whole or shared across a border withTibet or India.

Mount Everest8,84829,029Khumbu Mahalangur  Earth's highest from sea level
Kangchenjunga8,58628,169Northern Kangchenjunga  3rd highest on Earth
Lhotse8,51627,940Everest Group  4th highest
Makalu8,46227,762Makalu Mahalangur  5th highest
Cho Oyu8,20126,906Khumbu Mahalangur  6th highest
Dhaulagiri I8,16726,795Dhaulagiri  7th highest
Manaslu8,15626,759Mansiri  8th highest
Annapurna I8,09126,545Annapurna  10th highest
Gyachung Kang7,95226,089Khumbu Mahalangur  between Everest and Cho Oyu
Himalchuli7,89325,896Mansiri  18th highest
Ngadi Chuli7,87125,823Mansiri  First ascent 1970
Nuptse7,86125,791Everest Group  319 metres prominence from Lhotse
Jannu7,71025,295Kumbhakarna Kangchenjunga  
Jongsong Peak7,46224,482Janak  #57 in the world
Kabru7,41224,318Singalila Kangchenjunga  
Chamlang7,32124,019Barun Mahalangur  #79 in the world
Langtang Lirung7,22723,711Langtang  #99 in the world
Chamar7,18723,579Sringi  First ascent 1953
Pumori7,16123,494Khumbu Mahalangur  First ascent 1962
Nemjung7,14023,425   First ascent 1983
Gauri Sankar7,13423,406Rolwaling  First ascent 1979
Tilicho Peak7,13423,406Annapurna  First ascent 1979
Api7,13223,399Yoka Pahar Gurans  First ascent 1960
Baruntse7,12923,389Barun Mahalangur  First ascent 1954
Nilgiri7,06123,166Nilgiri Annapurna  First ascent 1962
Saipal7,03123,068Saipal Gurans  
Machapuchare6,99322,943Annapurna  Sacred mountain, unclimbed
Kang Guru6,98122,904Larkya or Peri  2005 avalanche kills 18
Dorje Lakpa6,96622,854Langtang  
Ama Dablam6,81222,349Barun Mahalangur  "Mother and her necklace"
Kangtega6,78222,251Barun Mahalangur  First ascent 1963
Cho Polu6,73522,096Barun Mahalangur  First ascent 1999
Num Ri6,67721,906Barun Mahalangur  First ascent 2002
Khumbutse6,64021,785Khumbu Mahalangur  First mountain west of Everest
Thamserku6,62321,729Barun Mahalangur  First ascent 1964
Dragmarpo Ri6,57821,581Langtang  Unclimbed
Taboche6,54221,463Khumbu Mahalangur  First ascent 1974
Singu Chuli6,50121,329Annapurna  Trekking peak
Mera Peak6,47621,247Himalayas  Trekking peak
Hiunchuli6,44121,132Annapurna  Trekking peak (difficult)
Cholatse6,44021,129Khumbu Mahalangur  Connected to Taboche
Kusum Kangguru6,36720,889Barun Mahalangur  Trekking peak (difficult)
Ombigaichan6,34020,801Barun Mahalangur  
Kongde Ri6,18720,299Barun Mahalangur  Trekking peak (difficult)
Imja Tse6,16020,210Khumbu Mahalangur  Also known as Island Peak. Popular trekking peak.
Lobuche6,14520,161Khumbu Mahalangur  Trekking peak
Nirekha6,06919,911Khumbu Mahalangur  Trekking peak (difficult)
Baden-Powell Peak5,82519,111Jugal  Formerly known as Urkema Peak
Pokalde5,80619,049Khumbu Mahalangur  Trekking peak (moderate)
Mount Khumbila5,76118,901Mahalangur  Unclimbed
Tharpu Chuli5,66318,579Annapurna  Trekking peak
Kala Patthar5,54518,192Khumbu Mah  Popular hiking peak below Pumori
Yala Peak5,52018,110Langtang  

North of the Greater Himalayas in western Nepal, ~6,000 metre Tibetan Border Ranges form the Ganges-Brahmaputra divide, which the international border generally follows. South of the Greater Himalayas, Nepal has a High Mountain region of ~4,000 metre summits, then the Middle Hills and Mahabharat Range with 1,500 to 3,000 metre summits. South of the Mahabharats, an outer range of foothills with ~1,000 metre summits is called the Siwaliks or Churiya Hills.