Abstract Within the scheme of south-directed orogenic polarity in the Himalayan region, the Main Central Thrust (MCT) developed at an intermediate stage between the collisional tectonics at the Indus-Tsangpo suture in the north and the latest underthrusting at the Main Boundary Thrust (MBT) in the south. The proposition that the MCT marks the base of the High Himalayan Central Crystalline zone against the Inner sedimentary belt of the Lower Himalayas creates confusion in its definition, and its location in Kashmir and especially in the Eastern Himalayas. The problem can be resolved by defining the MCT as the basal thrust of the crystalline nappe sequences either rooted at or detached as klippe from the Central Crystalline zone. Characteristically, the nappe sequences show inverted metamorphism which generally starts at the basal thrust, the redefined MCT, from the chlorite-biotite grades and reaches the kyanite-sillimanite grades with migmatites and anatectic granites in the highest tectonic levels. The metamorphic rank of both the substrate and the overthrust rock units in the vicinity of the MCT is generally low. The inverted metamorphism may be explained by intracontinental underthrusting and resultant downbowing of the isotherms. The redefined MCT does not appear to represent the thrust zone along which the continental underthrusting was initiated. It developed to the south of this zone as a possible sole thrust of the nappe stack of the crystalline rocks that overrode the parautochthonous sedimentary sequences of the Lower Himalayas. The sequence of events associated with the MCT would probably be repeated in the MBT.