HOLY MOUNTAINS - INSPIRING MOUNTAINS
Holy Mountain, Shiva Linga, Matterhorn Peak
Pilgrimage Site, Sacred Spring
Shivling, called „Indian Matterhorn Peak“ by early European visitors, is one of the most beautiful mountains in the world, a dramatic rock peak in the western Garhwal Himalaya. It lies in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand just south of the Hindu holy site of Gaumukh, near the snout of the Gangotri Glacier. Its name refers to its status as a sacred symbol - Shiva Linga – of the Hindu God Shiva.
Om Namah Shivaya - Shiva Mantra
Shiva (Sanskrit: शिव, lit. „the Auspicious One“) is one of the principal deities of Hinduism, the Supreme being who creates, protects and transforms the universe. Shiva has many benevolent and fearsome depictions. In benevolent aspects, he is depicted as an omniscient Yogi who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash as well as a householder with wife Parvati and son Ganesha. In his fierce aspects, he is often depicted slaying demons. Shiva is also known as Adiyogi Shiva, regarded as the patron god of yoga, meditation and arts.
From Delhi we will be travelling North to the small town of Rishikesh. Located in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India beside the Ganges River, Rishikesh is known as the 'Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas' and 'Yoga Capital of the World', a pilgrimage town regarded as one of the holiest places to Hindus. Hindu sages and saints have visited Rishikesh since ancient times to meditate in search of higher knowledge. From there we will head up into the mountains to Uttarkashi on the banks of river Bhagirathi at an altitude of 1,158m above sea level and then to Gangotri on the Greater Himalayan Range at a height of 3,100m. According to popular Hindu legend, it was here that Goddess Ganga descended when Lord Shiva released the mighty river from the locks of his hair.
Shivling forms the western gateway for the lower Gangotri Glacier, opposite the triple-peaked Bhagirathi massif. Appearing as a single pyramid when seen from Gaumukh, Shivling is actually a twin-summitted mountain, with the northeast summit being slightly higher than the southwest summit, 6,501 m (21,329 ft). Between Gaumukh and Shivling lies the Tapovan meadow, a popular pilgrimage site due to its inspiring view of the mountain, where we will set up our basecamp.
Shivling is well-defended on all sides by steep rock faces; only the west flank has a moderate enough slope for snow accumulation. The mountain was first climbed in 1974 via the West Ridge, by a team from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, led by Hukam Singh. The ridge leads to the col between the two summits; a steep snow/ice ridge then leads to the main summit.
Ganga – Sacred River
In Hinduism, the river Ganges is considered sacred and is personified as a goddess -Gaṅgā. She is worshiped by Hindus who believe that bathing in the river causes the remission of sins and facilitates Moksha (liberation from the cycle of life and death), and that the water of the Ganges is considered very pure. According to Hindu mythology the saint Bhagiratha meditated for a thousand years. God Shiva saw this and granted him a wish. Bhagiratha asked for the river Ganga to be brought down from the heavens to earth.
Shiva – Parvati – Ganesha
According to legend Shiva went to Mount Kailash to meditate and left his wife Parvati at home. Goddess Parvati was preparing for a bath and didn’t want to be disturbed by the many suitors she had. So, taking the turmeric paste (for bathing) from her body she created Ganesha, a small boy. She poured Ganges water over him and brought him to life. Then she posted Ganesha on guard duty at the door and gave him guardianship over the heavenly hosts. Many years later Shiva rose out of meditation and remembered his wife. He returned home only to find this strange boy telling him he couldn’t enter his own house! In his divine fury Shiva severed Ganesha’s head, killing him instantly. When Parvati learned of this, she was enraged and screamed at Shiva: “You have killed my son. Now get back to your mountain. I never want to see you again!” Shiva, having cooled down by this time, and realizing his mistake, sent his servants out with orders to bring back the head of the first creature they crossed that is laying with its head facing North. They soon returned with the head of a strong and powerful elephant, which Shiva placed onto Ganesha’s body. Breathing new life into him, he declared Ganesha to be his own son, and gave him the status of being foremost among the gods, and leader of all the ganas (classes of beings), Ganapati.
Ganesha (Sanskrit: गणेश, Gaṇeśa) is one of the best-known and most worshiped deities in the Hindu pantheon. The chubby, gentle, wise, elephant-headed Ganesha is the god of wisdom, success and good luck. He is also the remover of obstacles, the deity whom worshipers first acknowledge when they visit a temple. Statues of Ganesh can be found in most Indian towns. His image is placed where new houses are to be built; he is honored at the start of a journey or business venture, and poets traditionally invoke him at the start of a book. His appetite for sweets is legendary and offerings of them are often left at his shrine.
Source: Wikipedia and Wikiwand