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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:Formation of the Himalaya
Credit:Compiled from multiple sources by Pragya
The Mahabharata speaks of the formation of the Himalaya. In the very beginning of time and creation, the Hindu god Vishnu used to live by the shores of a great vast sea (later identified as the Tethys Sea). A pair of seagulls also nested on the same shore. Every year the female seagull would lay her eggs by the shore of the sea. But the sea would sweep in and wash her eggs away. The female seagull laid her eggs farther ashore every year but the sea would continue to sweep in and wash them away every single time. The seagulls were heartbroken by their loss. In despair, they appealed to Vishnu, the great Preserver, to come to their aid. Vishnu felt pity and compassion for their hapless situation. He opened his mouth and swallowed the sea in a huge gulp. Where the sea was, now lay the newly created Mother Earth. Vishnu was very exhausted by the feat of swallowing up such a vast sea. He lay down to rest and soon fell into a deep sleep. The demon Hiranyanksha was lurking nearby. When he saw Vishnu asleep, he seized the opportunity and brutally assaulted the defenseless Mother Earth. His brutality was of such great magnitude that her limbs were broken and levered up. These broken limbs, towering towards the sky, formed the mighty Himalayas.