The Himalayas

The highest mountain range in the world, the Himalayan range is far-reaching, spanning thousands of miles, and holds within it an exceptionally diverse ecology. Coniferous and subtropical forests, wetlands, and montane grasslands are as much a part of this world as the inhospitable, frozen mountaintops that tower above.

The word Himalaya is Sanskrit for “abode of snow” – fitting for a stretch of land that houses the world’s largest non-polar ice masses. Extensive glacial networks feed Asia’s major rivers including the Ganges, Indus, and Brahmaputra. More than a billion people rely on these glacier-fed water sources for drinking water and agriculture. The Himalayas are not only a remarkable expanse of natural beauty. They’re also crucial for our survival.

NATURE takes us on a stunning journey to the Himalayas. From Everest to the Tibetan Plateau, from the Gaumukh to the Ganges, this episode introduces us to a complex, interconnected natural world that continues to inspire, challenge and amaze the human race.

  • Mountains

    What beautiful mountains. Places like this are simply amazing and should be preserved for every generation that follows us. It is mind boggling to consider the life of those who life in and on this mountain region. Great Photography work. America has some beautiful hill country

  • Chris Fraser-Jenkins

    Just a small point about these mountains which I see every day from my home in Kathmandu – “Himalayas” is an English plural form, so one can’t possibly say “the Himalayas is …”, you’d have to say “are”. But anyway the Sanskrit word is not “Himalayas”, but “Himalaya” and it is already a plural collective word – thus correctly one should say “The Himalaya is the world’s highest range”. You’ll see in most of the English Botanical literature etc. that it talks about “the Himalaya”, not “the Himalayas”, which is a tautological plural form of a collective word.
    Each individual range within the Himalaya is called a Himal – thus Annapurna Himal, Kanchenjunga Himal, Sagarmatha Himal (Everest group) etc.
    NATURE would know that, I’d have thought?
    Forgive the lecture – but it would be nice if the correct form could be encouraged by example.
    Chris F.-J., Botanist, Kathmandu and Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.

  • Mike

    Interesting! I hope that everyone’s Sunday was great and I hope that they have a great week, plus I hope that they had a happy Groundhog Day! I’m sorry that I didn’t say anything about this last week, but it slipped my mind!

  • Chris C

    Dear Chris Fraser,
    Thank you for the info.
    I think the English form with an S at the end, has taken root because it’ easier to say and comprehend it that way in English, even though you are correct. I am guessing that people just started saying it that way just like the Engish often add an extra syllable to aluminum putting an I before the last U. I think it is just a matter of dialect and comfort with pronunciation of letter groups.
    “The Himalaya is the world’s highest range” is not to hard to say, so much as it “feels” more correct to add the S pluralizing it unecessarily just like the Rocky mountains are called the Rockies in certain sentences when refering to the whole range at once, even though Rocky Mountains is a more correct way to refer to them as a whole. Maybe if we were taught about each range being a Himal instead of the whole range as one entity it might change.
    I like specifictiy in language and appreciate your taking the time to teach us.

  • Bill

    in the Aymara language, the word “Imalaya” means big watershed. The Aymara live in the Andes. same meaning, nearly the same word, how did it get there?

  • Randy

    What a beautiful site. The land and people seem so mystical.

  • Adam Pinnell

    Wow! Just breathtaking camera work/scenery! Can’t wait to watch!

  • Catherine

    Most fascinating place on earth! The wildlife and photography are amazing–most breathtaking yet on Nature-but so many episodes are superb! Am watching it now–looking forward to the replay~ was looking forward to seeing this since I found out it would air~and the way the life philosophies were explained made me wish all of mankind would just “smarten up”.

  • Cesar Ruiz

    !WOW! Marvelous,you are The Best ,Thank You.

  • Jon Asams

    I am disappointed by PBS making such an obvious mistake, using Everest as a name. Mount Chomolungma, is the world’s highest mountain above sea level at 8,848 metres (29,029 ft). It is located in the Himalayas on the Nepal (Sagarmatha Zone)-China (Tibet) border. Chomolungma is a name given by the Tibetan god thousands years ago, before Everest even was born. Why chose a wrong name???

  • Rejean Sirois

    Fantastic report of this wonderful side of the height of the world.

  • Hermione

    One of the most exquisitely filmed nature programs that I’ve ever watched. It was beautiful!

  • brian

    those monkies with the big pink lips were funny! tibet had the most interesting animals, especially that snake and the wild asses. i just wish you guys would’ve shown bhutan, and some more of nepal. still a good episode though.

  • kc

    Just saw the full episode on TV. Kudos to the people who put it together… truly amazing. I’d love to see a behinds the scenes “making of” type clip for this. Is that available somewhere? For instance, how were the snow leopard and bear shots obtained? I’m also curious about the budget and funding source. This must have been very expensive to make. Whatever it cost, it was worth every penny and I hope this same team keeps working on similar projects in the future. Also, are there conservation efforts geared toward this region and its species that viewers can support?

  • Peter

    Maybe one of the best episodes of all. And I’ve seen MANY. As always, GREAT writing, and the animals featured are stunning. The height of purity and beauty.

  • PBSFan

    I loved it.

  • ShowMeSTL


    I am really interested as to how the cinematographers got those remarkable shots of the barred geese and Demoiselle cranes flying over and through the mountains.

    A map online of all the places they filmed would be nice.

  • slcbill

    That was such a great show!
    I sent a link to my daughter. On Wednesday 23 Feb, she couldn’t find the show, and now I can only get a black display with a “not available” message. How sad.

  • Angel Parsons

    My Dad was telling me about the show, what was the name of the huge goats shown?? I am only getting a black box with Not Available shown in it. I really wanted to see it.

  • Thomas Chase Ells

    I saw the show again, in parts, but fantastic all the way through.
    The Goats were named, “Tarken”, I have tried to look them up by that name but cannot find any entries in Google.
    Can anyone help with the proper scientific name?

  • Shanda Sherpa

    @Thomas Chase Ells…I missed this program but have been to the Himalaya twice. I believe you’re referring to the Himalayan Tahr.

  • Shanda Sherpa

    Can anyone tell me how I can watch this episode of Nature? I missed it and am so bummed, as I love the Himalaya.

  • George

    The episode refers to Himalyayan picas as “rodents” (taxonomic order Rodentia). Picas are not actually rodents, but belong to the taxonomic order Lagamorphia which includes rabbits, hares, and picas.

  • Manny Naffa

    Amazingly wonderful land, The peak of Mt. Everest is unreachable just for a fist of men and its journey is fasinating with true wilderness and its contents from animals, plants and virgin rocks. Love this episode of nature on our favorite channel PBS ( the Knowledge channel ). Make sure to order the cd for your kids to treasure.

  • Jake

    I agree that this is a beautifully shot episode, but I’m getting really bored with all of the recycled material from the Planet Earth series. The snow leopard, the melting glaciers…and this time around we don’t even get old Dave Attenborough.

  • Rusty F

    Thank you! Absolutely stunning cinematography, beautiful, intimate portrayals of all sorts of wonderful animals, spectacular landscapes, and outstanding commentary. A cinematic treasure, but a sublime gift of nature. Thank you.

  • marilyn c

    Shanda, check your local PBS station’s schedule for future airings. I’m with you, I missed most of it and will record it at later date. Astounding place, great program. The Tibetian pheasant was beyond belief. I can see why Budhists revere animals and nature.

  • Purdy

    Not only do the “Bar-Headed” geese have special hemoglobin in their blood, but they affirm the fact that many birds have a respiratory system much more advanced than our own. How can they be exerting themselves thousands of feet higher than we can even breath? I only learned this recently:

  • AJC

    I am unable to find that Goat also. I have looked up tarkin/tarken, golden tarkin….etc everything and cannot find it and NO it is not the Tahr, not the same animal

  • Karen

    Found the part about the Himilayan Langur monkeys very interesting. The difference between the battling Langurs of the lower elevations that were split up in small groups vs. the more friendly and peaceful large groups of the higher elevations that they eluded might have changed due to the harshness of their environment had me wishing people could learn from this.
    Thoroughly enjoyed this episode which left me wanting to go back to Nepal and Tibet.

  • Hemant Rana

    This was one of the best programs I have ever seen. Such a magical landscape, and wonderful creatures. Loved every bit of the episode. The Himalayan leopards are so beautiful. I wish I can visit this place very soon.

  • r

    Really looking forward to seeing this. THANKS, Nature!!

  • ming

    This video is basically an shorter re-edited, re-narrated BBC nature DVD, 85% from “wild china” and 15% from “planet earth”

  • Frank and Beth W

    This was one of the best hours of television that we have had in a long, long time! . Fasinating and beautifully filmed—incredible. Thank you PBS for this wonderful show.

  • Tracy

    What a fantastic episode. One of the best I’ve seen from Nature, and that’s saying a lot. Thanks, and well done!

  • IndiGuru

    Excellent program. Beautiful landscape and excellent narration. Thank you PBS. IndiGuru.

  • Anne

    I so enjoyed this presentation of the Himalayan ecosystem, especially how the snow pack and glaciers are the source of fresh water in so many countries. We must protect our glacial ecology, since it supports all life.

  • Neclair

    This was the best thing I watched on television in a very long time.

  • Vicki Grantham

    I enjoyed this episode so much! It made me appreciate even more the raw power and the fantastic beauty of nature!

  • Jenny L. Bates

    Thank you so very much Nature on PBS for producing this stunning program on the Himalayas. It was an epiphany! and I especially thank you for the beautiful moments on the Tibetan Plateau. I now refer to this area as: Where Paradise pressed it’s finishing palm. In particular the animal inhabitants of the plateau. I could live with them and love them all now, distinctly the large Kiang Donkey. I have included them in lectures I have given about Donkeys, and consider them the most beautiful of all the breeds. I had never seen them in their true home, however, and I was amazed! Our household supports public television and programs such as Nature always reminds us why we contribute. Thank you again.

    Jenny L. Bates author, “Opening Doors: an equilog of poetry about Donkeys”

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