Himalayan Legends & Pilgrimages
As an abode of peace, there are many references to the Himalya as the place where sages and common people have meditated in the pursuit of peace most myths associated with the Himalayas have a base in the idea of penance most myths associated with the Himalayas have a base in the idea of penance.
The whole of the Himalya are viewed as the abode of Lord Shiva. He rests in different forms on these mountains with Mount Kailash being his permanent residence. He even married the daughter of the king of the Himalayan Mountains, ‘Sati’ or ‘Himavati’ or the Daughter of Snow.
It is said that meditating on the Himalya brings liberation in the form of true knowledge dispelling the darkness of ignorance and helps attain a pure state of the ultimate.
So glorified is the story of the Himalayas that it is believed that a sage named Vyasa sat there in meditation. And then, it is said in ancient Hindu texts that Vyasa saw the history of Bharat (India) from event to event. The past is recorded in the Mahabharata. Vyasa however saw more: from the past as ancient as the Mahabharata, to the future that human beings are not able to visualise the Himalayas are, thus, not just the seat of the wise and source of waters that keep life, but the very fountainhead of ‘Smriti’ or knowledge and cognitive memory.
Therefore it is said, just as dew disappears with the morning sun, all sins get washed away at the very sight of the magnificent Himalayas
For the rest of the world Himalayas is a mountain range that encloses the highest peaks of the world. For the thrill seekers, Himalayas is the ultimate adventure sports destination. And for the tourists they have the most exotic and picturesque holiday resorts found on earth. But for the pilgrims they are the most sacred and revered mountain ranges in the world. From ancient times these holy mountains were considered the abode of Lord Shiva. It was here in the mist shrouded crags of these mystic ranges that the legends and myths of Hinduism were born and thrive to this day.
Drive along ancient pilgrim trails, visit the remote Himalayan temples and shrines and experience the serenity and tranquillity of the Himalayas. Travel on the same trail used by pilgrims for centuries to visit sacred pilgrimage site such as Kailash Mansarovar, the Holy Mountain in Tibet and the Char Dhams Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri, and Gangotri. In the Trans-Himalayan regions the Monasteries, often built on steep slopes, still dominate social life and religious practices that continues in much the same way.
Some of the most important and popular Himalayan pligrimages are:
The majestic Himalayas figure prominently not only in the topography of India but in its history and mythology as well.
One of the holy Trinity, Shiva is a living God. The most sacred and the most ancient book of India, the ‘Rig Veda” evokes his presence in its hymns.
Vaishno Devi Yatra
Faith has moved mountains. From a cave shrine tucked away deep in the the Trikuta Mountains of Kashmir to a bustling religuous centre, the call of Mata Vaishno Devi.
Dharamsala over looks the plains and is surrounded by dense pine trees and Deodar forests.
Ladakh & Leh
The flight into Leh, the capital of Ladakh, is an unforgettable experience – over the dramatic expanse of the Himalayas – for Ladakh straddles four main ranges.
Lahaul & Spiti
The Lahaul plateau nourished by the Chandra and Bhaga rivers and the Spiti valley linked to it by a high pass the Kunzam la, are together a district in Himachal Pradesh.
Gangtok which, at an altitude of 1,870m, is Sikkim’s fairytale capital in the clouds, balances precariously on steepy mountain slopes, Surrounded by lush rice terraces.
The Zanskar valley is noted for its high ranges, fine Gompas and gentle people. The most isolated of all Himalayan valleys inaccessible for 8 months in a year, it is now a popular destination with trekkers.
Char Dham, or the four pilgrimage centers, comprising of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri are frequented by the religious minded as well as those.
43-kms from Dehradun & 24-kms from Haridwar, the celebrated spiritual centre of rishikesh is situated amidst a calm environment, impressive water front, dense forest and hills.
This was where Banasura of the leg-end ruled. One night his beautiful daughter, Usha, had a dream.
Kullu was once known as “Kulanthpitha”, which means the end of the habitable world. Beyond rose the forbidding heights of the Greater Himalayas.
“He, who thinks of the Himalayas, though he should not behold him, is greater than he who performs all worship in Kashi.”
Tibet, one of the extra ordinary destinations where indeed adventure lurks around every corner. Its name the “Roof of the world” is not a mere statement.
Kathmandu valley consists of three main cities of great historic and cultural interest Kathmandu, Lalitpur (Patan) and Bhaktapur (Bhadgaon).