Himalayas are known as the epitome of mother nature’s biggest miracle. Himalayas hold revering significance for people of varied cultures. Infact, the word ‘Hima’ in Sanskrit is ‘snow’ and the word, ‘alaya’ means ‘abode. Himalyas are also known as ‘Giriraj’ or ‘King of Mountains’.
In Hinduism, the Himalayas are often portrayed as a god called Himavat, father of the goddess Ganga. Ganga, which is also sacred to Hindus, is said to have the power to wash away people’s sins.
The Himalayan source of the Ganges is the Gangotri mountain glacier, found in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand. Bathing in the ice-cold waters of the river is one of the highlights of a pilgrimage to this region for Hindus.
The Himalayas are filled with pilgrimages so much that the entire range can be called tapobhumi or land of spiritual practices.
It is a common belief that Lord Shiva resides atop Mount Kailash and there are several sacred holy dhams of Hindus such as Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gangotri and Yamunotri that reside in the Himalayas.
Apart from being a natural heritage, the Himalayas is a spiritual heritage for the Hindus. The Himalayas has originated so many life-giving perennial rivers that have sustained such a rich civilization.
Kedarnath is the abode of Lord Shiva and named after the famous King Kedar. It is the one of the four pilgrimage sites known as Kedarnath, Badrinath, Yamunotri and Gangotri. The temple opens at Akshay Tritiya on the month of April-May and closes on Bhai Duj on the month of October.
Yamunotri temple is believed to be the source of River Yamuna. The temple is visited by thousands of devotees who seek relief from their sins by taking holy baths in its sacred ponds like Suryakund and Gaurikund. Both these ponds contain warm water where devotees take bath to get treated by the naturally warm water. After which people get down to the Surya Kund and dip rice tied in fresh cloth to cook them in its boiling water. This cooked rice is taken back home as prasadam of deity Yamuna.
It is the only temple in Panch Kedar that remains open throughout the year and is also one of the best places for meditation in Uttarakhand.Lord Shiva is worshipped here as Jateshwar or Jatadhar Shiva. A small Shiva Lingam is worshipped in the main temple whereas, the matted lock of Shiva can be found in a nearby cave.
The temple is located in Chandranath Parbat in Rudraprayag district of Uttarakhand. Lord Shiva’s lingam is worshipped in the sanctum sanctorum. The lingam is regarded as swayambhu (self incarnated). The main sanctum also houses idols of sage Vyasa and Kala Bhairav which are made of astadhatu or eight metals. The Tungnath temple was discovered by the great Hindu religious preacher Adi Sankaracharya some thousand years back.
The temple is believed to be built by the Pandavas, the great heroes of the Mahabharata. The temple is located on green field above the hill and enclosed by the Himalayan mountains from all sides. It is said that one can feel the spiritual vibe present in the air once one reaches the temple premise. The temple remains closed from November to April as the temple route turns impossible to access due to heavy snowfall.
It is the temple where Rudra, the angry incarnation of Lord Shiva is worshipped with complete devotion also it is said that during the days of the Mahabharata, the face of Shiva, who was in the disguise of a bull was dropped here.The face of the deity is worshipped here as Neelkantha Mahadev. Shiva’s idol has a mask covering and it is taken off by the priest in the morning while arranging a royal bath for the deity.
Himalayas provides the opportunity to soak in the sacred energies of the enchanting and majestic mountains and come back deeply transformed.