According to Hinduism, the Himalayas are the abode of Gods, especially of Lord Shiva.(Picture Credit: Canva )
What is it about the Himalayas that it pulls yogis, sages and those who seek spiritual guidance? Himalayas comes from the Sanskrit word hima” (snow) and “alaya” (abode) and it crosses across India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Bhutan and Nepal. People across have travelled to Himalayas seeking moksha, meditate, freedom from material world, inner peace and connect with their higher self.
In Hinduism, the father of Goddess Parvati was Lord Himavat, the human form of the Himalayas. Goddess Parvati is the wife of Lord Shiva, and the much-revered Himalayas are even mentioned in ancient scriptures such as the Shiva Purana. Lord Shiva, described as the greatest ascetic, is believed to reside in the Himalayas. It's believed that Lord Shiva resides on Mount Kailash, located in southwest Tibet in the Himalayan Mountains, along with his wife Parvati. The Himalayas are also described as the sacred place of self-realization. Such is the reverence of the majestic Himalayas that in the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu, explains how he can manifest as anything on earth and states, “among things unmovable, I am the Himalaya.”
Some of the most important sacred sites for Hindus are located in the Himalayas. These include Kailash Mansarovar, Kedarnath Temple, Badarinath Temple, Sri Amarnath Cave Temple, Rudranath Temple, Tungnath Temple (the highest Shiva temple in the world), Neelkanth Mahadev Temple, and many more. The holiest river for Hindus - Ganga (Ganges) - originates in the Himalaya Mountains at Gomukh, the terminus of the Gangotri Glacier. Hindus believe that water from the Ganga River can wash away all sins. The Himalayan state of Uttarakhand is known as the Devbhoomi or the land of gods. The Yoga capital of the world - Rishikesh is located in Uttarakhand. It's popular across the world for those seeking to learn Yoga and meditation.
Not just Hinduism, but Buddhism is also a prominent religion followed in the Himalayan regions.
Gautam Buddha was born in Lumbini, located in the Terai plains of southern Nepal. As a result, the Himalayas are where most of the followers of Buddhism are found. There are thousands of Buddhist monasteries in Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet, and India, including regions such as Darjeeling, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Spiti, and Ladakh. Nepal's Muktinath temple is revered by both Hindus and Buddhists. Tibetan Buddhists refer to it as Chumig Gyatsa. The temple of Lord Vishnu is also considered one of the main 24 Buddhist Tantric places. For Tibetan Buddhists, it's a place of spiritual significance. Mount Kailash is also important for Buddhists who believe it's the abode of Demchog, a tantric meditational deity.