Hinduism

Himavat

Himavat means "icy" or "snowy" in Sanskrit, the word can also be translated as the "God of Snow", or the "Himalayan Mountain(s)".

In this part of my website I will enlist some mountains with religious significance in Asia (Tibet, China, Pakistan, India, Bhutan...), but this may not be a strict rule here, as I will not omit some lakes and possibly other places of certain importance or uniqueness.

To quickly see the mountains with religious significance in Asia, choose from the following list: Afghanistan and Pakistan, Kazakhstan (and other post-Soviet countries), Kashmir (India), Himachal Pradesh (India), Uttarakhand (India), China (Tibet), Sikkim (India), West Bengal (India), Arunachal Pradesh (India), Nepal, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka. The list of the countries is not complete here, as some of them, like Myanmar, contain only one mountain and I did not make a link to it here (although I have the entry Myanmar here). Please, use the above links as your roadmap in your search for Lord Himavat.

Since I like a certain order (and peculiarities, too :), I would prefer that you imagine, together with me, the map of Asia (particularly Northern India) and only then please read this information about the mountains. However, the first mountain in the list will be Mount Kailash, as Hindus and Buddhists believe it is the most sacred place in the world.

Mount Kailash

Mount Kailash (6,638 m) is a holy peak in China. It lies near the source of some of the longest rivers in Asia. Four religions consider it a sacred place: B÷n, Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism. In Hinduism, it is considered to be the abode of Lord Shiva. The ancient Zhang Zhung culture of Tibet concentrated around this mountain as well.

Afghanistan

 

Noshaq

Noshaq (or Nowshak, 7,492 m) is the highest mountain in Afghanistan. It is part of the Eastern Hindu Kush range. I did not find any legends associated with this mountain, because Afghanistan is the worst mapped and worst documented country in the world. However, the Hindu Kush is abundant with legends, but in the worst documented country, which has struggled in wars for many years, mostly locals will tell you a story. Nuristan, a region in Afghanistan in the south of the Hindu Kush valleys, was converted to Islam much later than other parts of the nearby regions (Pakistan, Iran). A kingdom in Afghanistan is mentioned in the Mahabharata - the name Afghanistan is most probably derived from Sanskrit. This was the place from where Gandhari came from and it is probably the origin of the word Kandahar, the second largest city in Afghanistan. You will be surprised, but there is still a minority of Hindus living in Afghanistan.

The highest mountains in Afghanistan are: Noshaq, Ql Sorkhi (6,171 m), Shah Dhar (7,038 m); many of the Afghanistan's mountains (including Noshaq) are on the international boundary with Pakistan.

Pakistan

 

Hunza

Hunza Valley is one of the most exotic places in the world. The valley provides spectacular views of some of the most astonishing mountains - Rakaposhi (7,788 m), Ultar Sar (7,388 m), Bojahagur Duanasir II (7,329 m), Ghenta Peak (7,090 m), Hunza Peak (6,270 m), Darmyani Peak (6,090 m), and Ladyfinger Peak (6,000 m). Hunzakuts, the people of the Hunza Valley, speak the Burushaski language, which resembles Basque; both languages (Basque and Burushaski) are language isolates.

The picture of Shispar Peak (near Hunza Valley). The picture was taken from this website. There are some other websites, just look.

Ganesh Village

Many people in the Hunza Valley are like Europeans in appearance. In Ganesh Village (also spelled as Ganish Village and known, too, as Ganish Khun) there are some most amazing ancient inscriptions carved on rocks and in ancient scripts such as Karoshti, Gupta, etc. The age of some of them is estimated to go back as far as 5,000 years BC.

Some people say that Hunza Valley is a place that can be associated with the lost kingdom of Shambala (Shangri-la). For centuries, the Hunza Valley, like some mountainous ranges in Afghanistan and India, has been one of the most isolated territories in the world. It is known that King Suchandra came from Shambala (some say that Shambala was a kingdom north of Kashmir) to request and receive the Kalachakra teachings from Shakyamuni Buddha.

K2

K2 (8,611 m) is the second highest mountain on Earth. K2 and many other high mountains in Pakistan are part of the Karakoram mountain range. The beauty of Karakoram (like we can see in our Slovak High Tatras) is in concentration of its peaks.

Sakar Sar Peak

Sakar Sar (6,272 m) is in the Chapursan Valley of Gojal (Hunza). A shrine of Baba Gundi (also written as Ghundi), a saint from Afghanistan, is here (in a village). According to a local legend, Baba Gundi came in the valley asking for food but he only received it from an old woman. So he decided to punish the whole valley and sent flood and mud on it - he destroyed everything in it (the village, too) except the old woman.

Ladyfinger Peak

Bublimoting or Ladyfinger Peak is a distinctive rock spire (6,000 m) in the westernmost subrange of the Karakoram Range of mountains in Pakistan. It is named after an unfortunate Hunza princess Bubuli. A local legend says that her husband, king Kiser, a mythical ruler of Tibet, seated Bubuli on this granite spire. Ladyfinger Peak is a surrounding peak of Uttar Peak (7,388 m).

Buni Zom

Buni Zom Mountain (6,551 m, near the border with Afghanistan) is one of the most unexplored mountain areas in the world. The Buni Zom Group has many other peaks, some of which have never been climbed.

Karakoram (the picture of the Baltoro Muztagh Range / Baltoro Cathedrals).

Tirich Mir

Tirich Mir (7,708 m), alternatively also called Terichmir or Turch Mir, is the highest mountain in the Hindu Kush region and the highest mountain outside of the Himalaya-Karakoram range (near Afghanistan).

According to local legends, no one can climb this mountain because of demons and fairies who live there in it. Locals believe that this mountain is the abode of fairies.

The highest mountain in Pakistan is K2 (8,611 m), which is the second highest mountain in the world.

Muztagh Tower in the Karakoram range in Pakistan.

Other important peaks in Pakistan are: Khunyang Chhish (7,852 m), Masherbrum (7,821 m), Batura Sar (7,795 m), Kanjut Sar (7,760 m), Rakaposhi (7,788 m), Disteghil Sar (7,885 m), Gasherbrum IV (7,925 m), Gasherbrum III (7,952 m), Trivor (7,577 m), Sia Kangri (7,442 m), Momhil Sar (7,343 m), Skil Brum (7,360 m), Shispare (7,611 m), Saltoro Kangr (7,742 m).

Snow Leopard is one of the most enigmatic animals in the world; it lives in very high altitudes (up to 6,000 meters). It is the "big cat of the Himalayas". In addition to Nepal, Bhutan and the Chinese Himalayas (and Russia, Mongolia, etc.), it lives in Pakistan (Chitral, Karakoramů) and in India, particularly in the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh, Kashmir (J and K), Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh (in the Eastern Himalayas). A very good video on youtube will tell you more.

Kazakhstan

 

Pik Talgar

Pik Talgar (4,979 m) is a peak in the Tian Shan mountain range in Kazakhstan, named after the Talgar River and the city Talgar, which lies in the southeastern part of Kazakhstan somewhere near the border with Kyrgyzstan and China.

Kazygurt Holy Mount

Kazygurt Holy Mount is a place enveloped in legends and mostly in connection to a righteous person named Nukhepaigambar (Noah). It lies in the Kazygurt District (southern Kazakhstan) very near the border with Uzbekistan and its capitol, Tashkent.

Khan-Tengri

Khan-Tengri (Lord of the Spirits, with elevation of 7,010 m) is one of the most spectacular peaks of the central Tien-Shan. This mountain, too, has long been wreathed in legends.

Other important peaks and places in Kazakhstan: Belukha Mountain (with 4,506 m, the peak shares the border with Russia) - the highest peak in Siberia and the Altai.

Kyrgyzstan

 

Jengish Chokusu

Jengish Chokusu, with 7,439 m above the sea level, is the highest mountain in the Tian Shan mountain range.

The Sulayman Mountain

The Sulayman Mountain (also known as Taht-I-Suleiman) is the world heritage site in Kyrgyzstan. It is not very high and I could not find its elevation. It is located very near the city of Osh (with many legends going back to times of the biblical King Solomon) and it was once a significant place of Muslim and pre-Muslim pilgrimages. The mountain rises abruptly from the surrounding plains of the Fergana Valley. Sulayman was also an important prophet in the Qur'an.

Tajikistan

 

Ismoil Somoni Peak

Ismoil Somoni Peak (7,495 m) is the highest mountain in Tajikistan. It is named after Ismoil Somoni, the ancestor of the Samanid dynasty.

Pallas's Cat (or Otocolobus Manul) is a small wild cat, a very little brother of Snow Leopard; it is named after the German naturalist Pallas. Manuls (these little cats) live primarily in central Asian grassland regions (Mongolia, Siberia, China, Tibet, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan...) and in high altitudes, too (some even up to 5,000 m). Like Snow leopard, Manul is an endangered species.

Kashmir (India)

 

Gumbok Rangan

Gumbok Rangan (5,320 m) is a rocky precipice located in the Kurgiakh Valley of Zanskar, India, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Local inhabitants consider it sacred. Mani walls (stone tablets or stones engraved with prayers and put together) can be found at the foothills of the Gumbok Rangan precipice.

Harmukh

Harmukh is a mountain in Jammu and Kashmir in the Himalayas. It has a height a little more than 5,000 m above the sea level. This place and its surroundings is considered sacred and to be the abode of Lord Shiva.

One of the highest mountains in Kashmir (Jammu and Kashmir): Stok Kangri (elevation 6,153 m).

Takht-i-Sulaiman

Sankaracharya Temple, also known as the Jyesteswara Temple, sits on top of the hill Takht-i-Sulaiman, or "Throne of Solomon" near Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir. The temple is known for its inscriptions on the stairs leading to the shrine and some people use them as a proof that Jesus visited the temple (Holger Kersten wrote the book about this: Jesus Lived In India).

China - Xinjiang

 

Gaochang Mountains

Tianshan Mountain is a large mountain range that starts in central Xinjiang and stretches into Kazakhstan. The Flaming or Gaochang Mountains are known by a legend that says that a dragon lived in the Tianshan Mountains. Because the dragon ate little babies, a Uigur hero decided to slay it.

The highest peaks of Xinjiang are: Gasherbrum II East (7,758 m), Kongur Tagh (7,649 m), Skyang Kangri (7,545 m), Muztagata (6,884 m), Xiaofong Tip (6,845 m).

The world's second highest mountain, K2 (8,511 m), is situated on the Xinjiang's southern border with Pakistan.

Himachal Pradesh (India)

 

Chamba Kailash

The Manimahesh Kailash Peak (5,653 m), also known as Chamba Kailash - and similar in appearance to Mount Kailash in Tibet, stands towering high over the Manimahesh Lake. Like Mount Kailash, the Manimahesh Kailash Peak, too, is believed to be the abode of Lord Shiva. It is one of the most important religious sites in Himachal Pradesh. The Manimahesh Lake is at the base of the Chamba Kailash Peak and people of Himachal Pradesh hold both in deep veneration.

Two pictures assembled into one - Chamba Kailash (top) with Mani walls (bottom) found on many places in Tibet / India.

Kinnaur Kailash

The Kinnaur Kailash (6,500 m) is a mountain in the Kinnaur district. The Kinnaur Kailash, too, is considered sacred (both by Buddhists and Hindus).

Rewalsar

The most sacred spot for Buddhists in Himachal Pradesh. According to a legend, Guru Padmasambhava departed for Tibet from this spot to spread the dharma. A pagoda-style monastery stands along the edges of the lake. Mandi, a city in Himachal Pradesh, houses Rewalsar, the place from which Buddhism spread to Tibet on the wings of Padmasambhava (the Lotus Born). Padmasambhava also transmitted Buddhism to other parts of Asia (Bhutan). Guru Rinpoche and Padmasambhava is one person.

Parvati Valley

The name itself says that this valley in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh is tightly related to Goddess Parvati. A beautiful city in Parvati Valley, Manikaran (with altitude of 1,760 m), attracts tourists very much - it has hot springs and pilgrim centers. The Hindus believe that Manu (the Hindu equivalent of Noah) recreated life in Manikaran and it is therefore a sacred area. It has many temples and a Gurudwara (a place of worship for the Sikhs). According to a legend, when Lord Shiva and his half, Parvati (His spouse), once walked in the valley, Parvati dropped one of her earrings. Shesha-Nag, a serpent deity, seized it and immediately disappeared into the earth with it. He did not want to give it back to Parvati, which angered Shiva very much. Shesha-Nag surrendered only after Shiva performed His cosmic dance (known as Tandava).

The highest peaks in Himachal Pradesh are: Manirang (6,593), Shilla Peak (6,132 m), Shipki (5,669 m).

Uttarakhand (India)

 

Kalanag

Kalanag (6,387 m) captivated my interest because of its two words - kala (meaning black) and nag (meaning a snake or cobra).

Neelakant

Neelakant (or Nilkantha - meaning a blue throat in Sanskrit) towers over the valley of the Alaknanda River and rises 6000 m above the Hindu holy town of Badrinat. It is the most important of the four sites in the India's Char Dham pilgrimage. A legend says that there was no mountain on the spot where Nilkantha stands today. Lord Shiva blocked here the way personified as a huge mountain and this is how Nilkantha came into existence. However, the most famous story related to Shiva's blue throat (that is - Neelakant) is in the Puranas - Lord Shiva drank the lethal poison (Halahala) during the churning of the ocean, but His spouse, Goddess Parvati, stopped the poison from entering His body. The poison remained in the Lord Shiva's neck and His neck is therefore blue.

Om Parvat

Om Parvat (also known as Adi Kailash, or Little Kailash) is a mountain (6,191 m) in Uttarakhand, India. It is considered sacred by Hindus. Its appearance is similar to the shape of Mount Kailash in Tibet. Two wonderful lakes are situated nearby - Lake Parvati and Lake Jonglingkong. Lake Jonglingkong is sacred, too, and Hindus perceive it similarly as Lake Manasarovar.

Trisul

Trisul is a group of three Himalayan peaks grouped near on the ridge of one mountain massif; the highest one is Trisul I reaching 7,120 m. The three peaks resemble the Lord Shiva's (and the Parvati's) trident - in Sanskrit and in some other Indian languages (such as Hindi), Trishul is the trident, the weapon of Lord Shiva. Goddess Ambika in Devi Mahatmyam also fights Asuras with the trident.

Swargarohini

Swargarohini is a mountain massif (6,252 m) consisting of four separate peaks in the Bandarpunch Range of the Garhwal Himalaya. Swargarohini is the main peak of the four peaks. It is associated with legends that tell that the Pandavas visited it. Some other legends say that it is the only way one can approach the heaven with human body. This indicates that traces of Shambala are probably here - the mystical kingdom that allegedly disappeared from the Earth's surface.

Bandarpunch

Bandarpunch (or Bandarpoonch) is a peak (6,316 m) whose name suggests that it is associated with Lord Hanuman. When translated, it means "Tail of the monkey", or "Tail of Hanuman" in Hindi. To say it more accurately, Bandarpunch is a twin peak - it consists of Bandarpunch-I and Bandarpunch-II. Many visitors come here every year. Kalanag (6,387 m) or Black Peak, which is mentioned above, is very near Bandarpunch.

Haathi Peak

Haathi Peak (Elephant Peak) or Haathi Parvat (6,727 m) lies in Uttrakhand. Locals say that the two huge rocks on a spur of Haathi Parvat represent Kaaka (crow) and Garuda (a mythical bird, Lord Vishnu's vehicle).

Hardeol

Hardeol or "Temple of God" (7,151 m) is one of the major peaks in the Uttarakhand state. It is one of the highest peaks on the northern side of the ring of peaks guarding the Nanda Devi Sanctuary.

Rishi Pahar

Rishi Pahar (6,992 m), as the name indicates, is "The Peak of the Saint".

Nanda Devi

Nanda Devi (7,816 m) is the second highest mountain in India (excluding Pakistan occupied Kashmir) and the highest entirely within the country. The Nanda Devi Raj Jat Yatra is a famous pilgrimage here and in vogue since the time immemorial (the word Nanda means happiness or paradise in Sanskrit; Nanda Devi can be translated as Goddess of Paradise).

On the picture you see Mother Goddess (Nanda Devi) - Mother Of Bliss (or Mother who bestows bliss) and one of the highest peaks of India.

Gangotri

Gangotri is a town in the state of Uttarakhand, India, where the River Ganges originates. This place is considered to be the seat of Goddess Ganga. It is a Hindu pilgrim town.

Chandrashila

The Chandrashila Peak (Moon Mountain, 3,679 m) is a rock face positioned above the temple of Tungnath. Climbing the peak will reward visitors with the most spectacular view of the Himalayas, especially with the view of Nanda Devi and Trisul. The (Shiva) temple here is one of the highest situated of all the temples in the Himalayas. It belongs to one of the five most sacred places of the Shaivite (dedicated to Lord Shiva) branch of Sanatana Dharma. There are various legends associated with this place. The five places (Pancha Kedar), where devotees worship Lord Shiva, manifested as different parts of the Lord Shiva's holy body - the navel at Madmaheshwar, the arm at Tungnath, the face at Rudranath, the matted hair at Kalpeshwar. Kedarnath (which makes the number five full) is considered to be the main temple, and Chota Char Dham are "the four smaller abodes" (and a pilgrimage circuit). All five holy temples are in very high altitudes (Rudranath is the only temple below the altitude of 3,000 meters). The Lord Shiva temple at Kedarnath is said to have been built by the Pandavas. Some other legends say that the Pandavas built all the five temples here. The history of the above five holy temples is attached to a legend that says that the Pandavas, after they killed their brothers in war (read my brief overview of the Mahabharata), felt guilty and wanted to approach Lord Shiva, but He repeatedly kept His real physical appearance (that is - His human-like form that can speak, smile, etc.) from them and took the form of a bull. But the Pandavas recognized Him and followed Him everywhere, so He decided to disintegrate His body. All five holy temples are situated between the rivers Bhagirathi and Alaknanda, and all are in the Indian state of Uttarakhand.

Rajrambha

Rajrambha is the name of a Himalayan peak (6,537 m) meaning a "celestial nymph" (Apsara). There may be some legends that associate this place with fairies. The peak has most probably been the same source of myths as we can find in relation to Tirich Mir (a mountain in the Hindu Kush).

Nanda Kot

Nanda Kot (6,861 m) is a mountain peak in the Himalayas. When translated it means the "Nanda's Fortress". As the name suggests ("Nanda's Fortress"), it is the abode of Goddess Parvati. The mountain is extremely beautiful; looking at it you may get a feeling that you are not in the real world but in the place where science fiction begins (see the picture on the left).

Nag Tibba

Nag Tibba (3,022 m) is the highest peak in the lesser Himalayan region of the Uttarakhand state. Nag Devta (Naga serpent) lives here, as the name indicates. To be more accurate, Nag Devta is God of Snakes (of Nagas). In Hindu mythology, the great king of the Nagas is Vasuki (a divine being). Buddhists, too, have stories about snake people in their myths.

Mana Peak

Mana Peak (7,272 m) lies on the border with China (Tibet-India) with Mana village at its foot. Mana village is famous in history as Veda Vyasa lived here in a cave for many years. People believe that Lord Ganesha wrote the epic "Mahabharata" here (with His tusk) as Veda Vyasa dictated it to Him. There are many other legends related to Mana village, Mana Peak and its neighborhood.

The highest mountains in Uttarakhand: Nanda Devi (7,816 m), Kamet (7,756 m).

Haryana (India)

 

Samlasan Devi

Samlasan Devi is a 788 m hill in Haryana, India.

Tamil Nadu (India)

 

Arunachala

Arunachala (800 m) is the holy hill at Thiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu with a holy temple. Every year in October-November, the Karthigai Deepam (Light) is lit atop the hill. It is the most important place for people practicing Atma vichara (self enquiry, the teaching of Sri Ramana Maharshi) and one of the five main Shaivite holy places of South India.

Rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta), or Rhesus monkey, is one of the most well known species of monkeys in Asia. It lives in northern India but in other countries, too - in grasslands, woodlands, and mountainous regions up to 2,500 m in elevation.

China (Tibet and other parts)

 

Kawagebo

Kawagebo (6,740 m) is famous for its pilgrims; it is the highest mountain in Yunnan, China. It is in Tibet near the border with Myanmar. It has a very nightmarish climbing history - an avalanche in 1991 killed 17 members of one expedition. Many other expeditions, too, were unsuccessful. In 2001, the local government banned climbing onto this mountain.

Mianzimu

 

Mianzimu (6,054 m) is a sacred mountain in China.

 

Shishapangma

Shishapangma (8,013 m) is the fourteenth highest mountain in the world and the lowest of all eight thousand meter peaks.

Mount Gephel

Mount Gephel is a small mountain some 8 kilometers west of Lhasa. Drepung Monastery lies at its foot.

Gurla Mandata

This spectacular massif (7,694 m) decorates the western section of the Himalayas in Tibet. Gurla Mandata is a close neighbor of the sacred Mount Kailash, which lies to its north. The local inhabitants call it Namo Nanyi (or Namo Nani), the "Fairy's Peak". Lake Manasarovar and Lake Langatso are situated nearby.

Gurla Mandhata is the highest peak of the Nalakankar Himal, a small (sub)range of the Himalayas. It is situated near Mount Kailash, as you see on the map (below Gurla Mandhata). The letter "K" in glaring red is the place where Mount Kailash is on the map.

Gambo Utse

Drepung is the largest of all Tibetan monasteries and it is located on the Gambo Utse Mountain, some five kilometers from the western suburb of Lhasa. Jamyang Choge Tashi Palden founded the monastery in 1416. Its name comes from a sacred abode in South India (Shridhanyakataka).

Jomolhari

Jomolhari (7,314 m) is a mountain in the Himalayas on the Bhutan-Tibet border. The mountain is sacred to Tibetan Buddhists who believe it is the abode of one of the Five Tsheringma Sisters (protector goddesses of Tibet and Bhutan).

Cho Oyu

Cho Oyu is the sixth highest mountain in the world with 8,201 m above the sea level. Cho Oyu lies in the Himalayas and is some 20 km west of the Mount Everest at the border between China and Nepal. Cho Oyu means "Turquoise Goddess" in Tibetan. It is a holy mountain to the locals.

Mount Kailash

 

Mount Kailash (6,638 m) is a peak in China. It is the most sacred mountain for the Hindus. Kailash (also called Shenshan) is locally more known as Kangrinboqe.


Zhara Lhatse

This sacred mountain (5,820 m) in Tibet is located in the Tawu County. Five holy mountains make up this place facing Lhagang, the nearby village: Chenresig, Jambayang, Chana Dorje, Drolma, and Zhara. Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) is connected with this place.

Any look at Zhara Lhatse is both scary and inspiriting.

Chokpori

Or Chagpo Ri, the "Iron Mountain", is a sacred hill in the city of Lhasa, Tibet. It lies south of the Potala (sacred Buddhist complex of buildings).

Tongshanjiabu

Tongshanjiabu (7,207 m) is a mountain in the Himalayas. It sits on the disputed border territory between Bhutan and China. No one has ever officially climbed it.

Gyala Peri and Namcha Barwa

Gyala Peri (7,294 m) is a peak sitting at the entrance to Tsangpo gorge (a canyon in Tibet). The best-known myth related to this peak is the story of Namcha Barwa and his younger brother, Gyala Peri; God sent them to guard Tibet. They play the same role of spiritual teachers as Tonpa Shenrab mibo, the founder of the pre-Buddhist Tibetan religion called B÷n. Namcha Barwa (7,756 m) is the name of a nearby peak. These are the companion peaks.

Mount Emei

This is (3,099 m) one of the four Sacred Buddhist Mountains in China, traditionally regarded as the bodhimaa, or place of enlightenment.

Mount Emei is the place of enlightenment.

Lakes

 

Lake Manasarovar

Lake Manasarovar (4,556 m) is a fresh-water lake in Tibet some 800 kilometers from Lhasa. To the west of Lake Manasarovar lies Lake Rakshastal and towards the north Mount Kailash. It is the highest (of such size) situated fresh-water lake in the world. Buddhists also associate the lake with the legendary lake known as Anavatapta in Sanskrit (believed to exist in the center of the world), where Queen Maya conceived Buddha. A few monasteries decorate places near the lake's shores. The most notable of them is the ancient Chiu Gompa Monastery, which was built right onto a steep hill.

Lake Rakshastal

Lake Rakshastal is a lake in Tibet, lying close to Lake Manasarovar and Mount Kailash. Lake Rakshastal does not share the same spirit with its eastern neighbor. Meaning "lake of the rakshasa", Lake Rakshastal is considered to be the residence of Ravana, the ten-headed demon of Lanka. Lake Manasarovar, which is round like the sun, and Lake Rakshastal, which has a shape of the crescent moon, are regarded as "day" and "night". Lake Rakshastal has salty water, which is in a stark contrast to the fresh water of Lake Manasarovar. According to Hindu scriptures, King Ravana created this lake with a wish to garner superpowers through devotional acts to Lord Shiva.

Yamdrok Lake

Yamdrok Lake, too, is one of the holy lakes in TÝbet.

Namtso

Namtso, the highest saltwater lake (4,718 m) on Earth, is the "heavenly lake"; it possesses a few wonderful islands that have been used as spiritual retreats for many years. Local people believe that back in very ancient history Lake Namtso was a portal to heaven. It is a place where God's name, if whispered, God may possibly also hear. Mongolians know it as Tengri Nor, the "Sky Lake". It is enveloped in many celestial myths.

Lake Namtso is very near Lhasa - see the map.

Assam (India)

The hills in the Indian state of Assam are the least explored corners of India. The world's largest river island, Majuli, is situated on the Brahmaputra River here. It is the centre of the Vaishnava culture with Vaishnava monasteries. The monasteries are called satras.

Nagaland (India)

 

Nagaland borders with Assam; it is situated in the easternmost corner of India together with Arunachal Pradesh. Mount Saramati is the highest peak in this Indian state. Nagaland is mostly a Christian state, but its name is derived from the Nagas (snakes).


Sikkim (India)

 

Siniolchu

Siniolchu (6,888 m) is one of the highest mountains in the Indian state of Sikkim. The mountain is considered to be a particularly beautiful mountain. It is situated near the green lake adjacent to Kangchenjunga, the highest peak in the state and the third highest in the world (it shares its border with Nepal).

West Bengal (India)

 

Sandakfu

Sandakfu or Sandakphu (3,636 m) is the highest peak in the state of West Bengal, India.

Phalut

Phalut or Falut (3,600 m) is the second highest peak of West Bengal, India.

Bihar (India)

 

Barabar Caves

Barabar Caves are situated in the Barabar Hills, at a distance of some 25 km to the north of Gaya, Bihar (Gaya is a large city in Bihar). These hills are famous for their rock-cut caves. These caves were constructed during the reign of Emperor Ashoka some 200 years BC.

Champanagar

Champanagar, a Buddhist pilgrimage center, with name derived from the Champak tree (a large evergreen tree growing in abundance here), is situated in the Bhagalpur district of Bihar. Buddha delivered a number of sermons here. It lies some 220 km away from the capital city of Patna (capitol of Bihar). This place is significant for Buddhists because Lord Buddha visited it in person.

Pragbodhi

Pragbodhi Mountain is situated in the state of Bihar. The name Pragbodhi literally means "Prior to Enlightenment". The mountain derives its name from the sojourn of Prince Siddhartha here before his enlightenment. The legends say that Prince Siddhartha spent the time of his asceticism in a small cave here.

Gurpa

Gurpa is a sacred mountain, which is situated in a small village in the Indian state of Bihar. This magnificent mountain is associated with Maha Kassapa, the successor of Buddha.

Gurpa (picture on the left) is the place associated with the future Buddha and thus it has always carried both the message of Buddhism and prophecies of Buddhism. There are not many Buddhist places so visibly connected with the future as Gurpa.

Manipur (India)

Manipur is known for its Longthabal, a small hill situated a few kilometers from the capital city of Manipur. This place is full of relics and ruins of ancient palaces and temples.

Mizoram (India)

The highest mountain in this Indian state is Phawngpui (2,157 m). Phawngpui means Blue Mountain.

Tripura (India)

This Indian state is surrounded mostly by Bangladesh and it does not have very high mountains, but it has rich myths. Its name could be derived from Tripura Sundari. This is a very ancient location where the Manikya Dynasty ruled for hundreds of years. The capitol of Tripura is Agartala and probably also the place where the word Agartha originated (Agartha is an underground kingdom of a very advanced civilization; some people believe it is a myth, some other people believe it really exists).

Meghalaya

This Indian state is known for its splendid waterfalls. The highest mountain here is Maryngksih (1,525 m).

Arunachal Pradesh (India)

 

Takpa Shiri

Takpa Shiri is an unclimbed peak with unique religious significance; it lies in the Kangto part of the Himalayas. Located at an altitude of some 6,654 m (not all sources agree and it is difficult for me to find a good and reliable map) in the state of Arunachal Pradesh on the border with China and India, it is one of the most sacred mountains here. Locals believe that circling the Takpa Shiri delivers a spiritual bliss. Unfortunately, much of the ancient traditions have disappeared due to border disputes and difficulties with crossing the border. Circumambulation of the Takpa Shiri equals to circumambulation of the Mount Kailash.

Mishmi Hills

The Mishmi Hills extend from Arunachal Pradesh to Assam. Ruins of ancient temples are here (for example, on the Nilachal Hill in Assam). However, much of the Mishmi Hills belongs to the Dibang Valley district of Arunachal Pradesh. The mountains have elevation of about 4,500 m above the sea level. Many of the shrines here were used as places where human sacrifices were practiced (source: History Of Upper Assam by L. W. Shakespear, 1914).

Other peaks of Arunachal Pradesh: Kangto, Nyegi Kangsang, and the Gorichen Peak are the highest peaks in this part of the Himalayas.

Uttar Pradesh (India)

This Indian state borders with Nepal. I noticed a lot of false information that confuses Uttar Pradesh with the Indian state of Uttarakhand. When you look at the terrain map of India, you will notice that this Indian state is mostly a flat land.

Vindhya Mountains (Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, India)

The intelligent birds that the Markandeya Purana mentions lived on the Vindhya Mountains. Goddess Shakti says (in Devi Mahatmyam): "Then born as the offspring of Yasoda's womb in the cowherd Nanda's house, and dwelling on the Vindhya Mountains I will destroy them both" (She speaks of Shumbha and Nishumbha, the great Asuras that she destroys).

The Vindhya Mountains are not very tall (about 1,000 m); they divide the southern and northern India. Their highest point is Amarkantak, a pilgrim town in Madhya Pradesh.

There are four most (well-known) deadliest snakes In India - Naja Naja (the Indian Cobra), the Common Krait (or Bungarus caeruleus), the Russell's Viper (Daboia Russellii, also known as Vipera Russellii), and a very aggressive viper called Echis carinatus - the Saw-Scaled Viper. Naja Naja is widespread and you may find it (and other poisonous snakes) also in the Himalayas up to some few thousand meters above the sea level. Vipera Russellii is one of the most dangerous vipers in India. The King Cobra (it lives in the vicinity of the Himalayas, and in Bengal, Assam, South India too) is rarely reported, although very poisonous, too. There are not many encounters reported with humans, because the King Cobra is a reclusive snake (therefore usually not mentioned in the list of the most dangerous snakes of India).

Nepal

 

Kangchenjunga

The area around Kangchenjunga is a place where the Kangchenjunga Demon has its throne - a type of yeti or rakshasa. A British geological expedition in 1925 reported spotting a bipedal creature here and this is probably how the Yeti myth got to the West. Located along the India-Nepal border, it is the third highest mountain (with 8,586 m) in the world after Mount Everest and K2.

Annapurna

Annapurna (8,091 m) is a Sanskrit name (anna - cooked and ready-to-eat rice; purna - full) that can be translated as "Goddess of the Harvests". In Hinduism, Annapurna is "the universal and timeless mother who feeds" (Annapurna Devi).

Machapuchare

Machapuchare or Machhapuchhre (6,993 m), "Fish Tail" in English, is a mountain that local people consider sacred and they associate it with Lord Shiva.

Makalu

Makalu (8,463 m) is the fifth highest mountain in the world. Makalu is an isolated peak with shape of a four-sided pyramid.

Khumbila

Khumbila or Khumbu Yul Lha (5,761 m), the name can be translated as "God of Khumbu", is one of the Himalayan peaks in the Khumbu region of eastern Nepal. Local Sherpa people consider it too sacred to be climbed.

Ama Dablam

Ama Dablam is a mountain in the Himalayan range of eastern Nepal. Climbers consider it to be the "Himalayan Matterhorn" (with 6,856 meters above the sea level). Ama Dablam means "Mother's Necklace"; the long ridges on each side of the mountain look like the arms of a mother (ama) who protects her child.

The highest peaks in Nepal are: Mount Everest (8,850 m), Kanchenjunga (8,586 m),
Lhotse I (8,501 m), Makalu I (8,463 m), Cho Oyu (8,201 m), Dhaulagiri (8,167 m), Manaslu I (8,163 m), Annapurna (8,091 m).

Bhutan

 

Jomolhari

Mount Jomolhari (about 7,000 m above the sea level) is in Bhutan on the Bhutan-Tibet border. The mountain is sacred to Buddhists; several other sacred sites sit on the Mount Jomolhari's back including meditation caves. Jomolhari Temple (wedged into the rocks of this mountain, but on the Bhutanese side) is one of few temples in the world situated in altitude of more than 4,000 meters above the sea level.

Jomolhari Temple is situated in higher elevation above the sea level than Tungnath, some say (it is difficult for me to verify the exact elevation). I did not find any picture of it. This means that Bhutan is still a mystery and will remain such for a long time.

Paro Valley

Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 747 AD, was riding on the back of a flying tiger here - (tigress) Yeshe Tsogyal - a semi-mythical female deity (dakini / yogini). Paro Valley, with plenty of attractions, is one of the most beautiful places on Earth with elevation of more than 2,000 m above the sea level.

Kula Kangri

Kula Kangri (7,538 m), which lies on the border with China, is the highest mountain in Bhutan.

Myanmar (Burma)

 

Hkakabo Razi

Hkakabo Razi (around 5,800 m) is the Southeast Asia's highest mountain, located in the northern Myanmar state of Kachin.

Sri Lanka

 

Sri Pada

Sri Pada or Adam's Peak (2,243 m) is the highest Sri Lanka's mountain. Lord Buddha left his footprint here. Hindus consider it to be the expansion of Lord Shiva's Mount Kailash in the southernmost part of the Indian subcontinent (with Sri Lanka), and Muslims believe that the first human being, Adam, lived here. There is a nice website here.

Back


 
Last updated: Click on the English flag