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 (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.
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
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.
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.
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 (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.
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 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 (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.
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 (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.
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.
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.
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 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).
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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).
Kalanag (6,387 m) captivated my interest because of its two words - kala (meaning black) and nag (meaning a snake or cobra).
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 (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 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 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 (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 (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 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 (6,992 m), as the name indicates, is "The Peak of the Saint".
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 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.
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 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 (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 (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 (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).
Samlasan Devi is a 788 m hill in Haryana, India.
Tamil Nadu (India)
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.
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 (6,054 m) is a sacred mountain in China.
Shishapangma (8,013 m) is the fourteenth highest mountain in the world and the lowest of all eight thousand meter peaks.
Mount Gephel is a small mountain some 8 kilometers west of Lhasa. Drepung Monastery lies at its foot.
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.
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 (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 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 (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.