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Myths and Legends of the Himalayas

Creation of the World

Formation of the Himalaya

Mount Sumeru

Origin of the Ganges


Shambhala and Shangri-La


Title:Creation of the World
Credit:Compiled from multiple sources by Pragya
The Tibetan ‘Jigten Chagtsul’ is a cosmography rooted in the ancient theories on the origin of the world. According to it, the story of the creation of the world began with the creation of the cosmic mountain, Rirab Lhunpo, popularly known as Sumeru or Meru. The story of creation, as described in the Jigten Chagtsul, begins in the following manner. In the very beginning of time, there was just a void. Then the wind began to gather and formed a huge double thunderbolt, from which emerged large thick clouds. From the clouds large raindrops began to fall and thus, the primeval ocean came into being. The wind kept on churning this ocean as a result of which foam was formed at the centre of the ocean, which gradually coagulated into a solid mass. From the centre of this mass rose the cosmic mountain Sumeru. It had four faces. The north face was of gold, the south of malachite, the east of crystal, and the west of silver. From the highest point on the mountain grew a tree whose branches were soon covered with flowers and fruits. Soon the entire summit was covered with trees, meadows, rivers, hills and valleys. It was a paradise of such beauty and magnificence that the gods made the mountain their abode. The base of this cosmic mountain was encircled by a lake surrounded by a ring of mountains, which was encircled by a lesser lake and its ring of lesser mountains, and beyond, more lakes and more rings of mountains. The last outer ring of mountains was surrounded by the outer ocean on which floated four worlds. The world to the north was square, the one to the south was triangular, the one to the east, crescent shaped, and the one to the west, circular. The Tibetan legend identifies our world as the triangular one and refers to it by the name Dzambu Lying. Our world continued to remain lifeless until some of the gods descended on it from the cosmic mountain and began to reside here. They found a curd on the surface of this world and began to eat it. With each morsel, their powers began to wane and finally they became humans.