Meaning “abode of the snow” in ancient Sanskrit, the Himalayas offer more than just a scenic mountain slopes ripe for photography. Stretching between China and India, from Pakistan in the west to Bhutan in the east, these 100 mountains have long been the storied and secluded locale of exploration of the world’s greatest heights; particularly of its tallest mountain, Mt. Everest.
The Taktshang Monastery, known widely as the Tiger’s Nest in Paro Taktsang, Bhutanis one of the most picturesque Buddhist monastaries in the world. Built in 1692, the temple grounds were slowly constructed here around the cave where the progenitor of Buddhism in Bhutan, Guru Padmasambhava, meditated in the 8th century for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours.
Located along the southern edge of K2, or Mount Godwin Austen, the world’s second-highest mountain peak, Baltistan is a Pakistani region of Kashmir that offers pristine views of both Himalayan grandeur and culture. The region isn’t loaded with four-star resorts, but it does come abounding with marvels at every turn.
Everest is the Grandfather of all mountain peaks, the world’s highest at 29, 029 feet. Merely to mount it, explorers through the centuries have sacrificed their lives and limbs. Today, many hire expedition leaders for mountain climbing treks to various ascents, depending on the skill levels of the customers.
Trekking peaks for those with only minimal skill isn’t out of the question. Some professional expeditionary groups guide novices up peaks measuring no more than 21, 129 feet high (the 6, 640-meter Mt. Cholatse in Mahalangur. The Nepal Mountaineering Association provides a list of the 15 mountains most accessible to learners. Nine of the 15 are in the Solukhumba region of the Mahalangur range of mountains.
The Stone Towers of the Himalayas, in the Western Sichuan province between Tibet and China, once numbered in the thousands but just a couple hundred remain in this area. Dated to between 600 and 900 A.D., these towers, hulking to as high as 200 feet, were built by various factions of the sectarian province to show the strength and prowess of each individual clan and to provide safety during times of warfare.
The Seven Sisters are a collection of Indian states across the Brahmaputra range that offer visitors a cultural overload. Available to travellers are tour packages through all of the states: Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura; each with their own distinct customs and mores. Throughout these states, prayer flags, kaani gateways, maniloker prayer wheels and mani walls of mantras can be found tucked away or out in plain view.
The tiny country of Nepal, which flushed Tibetan followers of the Dalai Lama en masse nearly a half-century ago into Northern India, is home to nine of the world’s 10 largest mountains, including Mt. Everest. The capital city of Kathmandu is the famous staging ground of many of Mt. Everest’s historic climbs, but also the place to embrace Tibetan cuisine, buy souvenirs, sightsee and absorb a lifestyle very different than many today on earth.
* This post was written on behalf of www.shaktihimalaya.com