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Saturday, June 5, 2021

the scenic, mighty Himalayas ~ the abode of Sriman Narayana

Oceans are vast; Mountains are mighty … the mightiest of them all is “Himalayas”

The Himalayas, [Sanskrit:  himá (हिम 'snow') and ā-laya (आलय) 'abode, temple, dwelling'), are a mountain range in South and East Asia separating the plains of the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau. The range has many of Earth's highest peaks, including the highest, Mount Everest, at the border between Nepal and China. The Himalayas include over fifty mountains exceeding 7,200 m (23,600 ft) in elevation, including ten of the fourteen 8,000-metre peaks. By contrast, the highest peak outside Asia (Aconcagua, in the Andes) is 6,961 m (22,838 ft) tall.

For us Srivaishnavaites, Emperuman Sriman Narayana is everywhere – at home, in Temples, in Divyadesangal, in Ocean, in mountain, on air, beneath and beyond Universe – HE is Everywhere !  

Lifted by the subduction of the Indian tectonic plate under the Eurasian Plate, the Himalayan mountain range runs west-northwest to east-southeast in an arc 2,400 km (1,500 mi) long.  Its western anchor, Nanga Parbat, lies just south of the northernmost bend of the Indus river. Its eastern anchor, Namcha Barwa, is just west of the great bend of the Yarlung Tsangpo River (upper stream of the Brahmaputra River).  The Himalayas are inhabited by 52.7 million people,  and  spread across five countries: Bhutan, China, India, Nepal and Pakistan.

NASA astronaut and flight engineer for the International Space Station (ISS) Mark T Vande Hei recently shared a picture of the Himalayan range as viewed from space and the picture has left netizens mesmerised. “Somewhere on a clear, bright day in the Himalayas. I cannot get enough views like this,” he wrote while sharing the picture on Twitter. Mark T. Vande Hei @Astro_Sabot

Few parts of the world would seem as inhospitable to humans as the highlands of the Tibetan Plateau, near the Himalayas. Archaeologists have long wondered when, where and how our ancestors began to explore and occupy these landscapes. But evidence of early human presence on the plateau has been scarce – and dating the few remaining traces has proven an ongoing challenge. Using a recently developed dating technique,  a  research team has now produced the first solid evidence for human presence on the central-southern Tibetan Plateau more than 5,000 years ago. Findings published in Advances Science Mag on June 2, 2021 present interesting and clinching evidence of this.

The dry highlands of Tibet are considered to be among the last areas on Earth to have been settled by humans. The high altitude of the region, in the shadow of Himalayan peaks more than eight kilometres high, makes for extreme conditions. The question of where and when the peopling of this remote region occurred has been debated among archaeologists. Many studies have come from research conducted at open-air locations, with abundant evidence of stone tool use or manufacture, such as rock flakes found on the ground. These sites are referred to as ‘lithic artefact scatters’. They are among the most commonly preserved archaeological sites in the world, and hold potential to reconstruct human settlement patterns and explore various aspects of past human behaviour.

Artefacts on the surface are prone to erosion, and movement by wind and water, over hundreds or even thousands of years since humans first produced them. Consequently, they’re often found “out of context”, so a clear relationship can’t be drawn between them and their immediate surroundings. To overcome this limitation, the researchers  spent the past several years in the Innsbruck OSL (optically-stimulated luminescence) dating laboratory in Austria led by Michael Meyer at the University of Innsbruck, developing a new technique suitable for dating ancient stone tools. OSL dating has become one of the main dating methods in archaeology and the earth sciences. It’s based on the accumulation of energy in the crystal structure of sand grains.

When grains are shielded from daylight, such as when they’re buried, their crystal accumulates energy due to low-level radiation from surrounding rocks and sediment. This can then be measured in the laboratory, through controlled exposure to blue and green light, which releases the energy as a “luminescence signal”. The longer the grains have been buried, the more luminescence we will measure from them.   

Moving away from all this – for us,  Srivaishnavaites, the purpose of life is to do kainkaryam to Sriman Narayana and His devotees ~ in that pursuit, we visit various Divyadesams associated with Emperuman and that way, those 108 holy shrines sung by Alwars hold a predominant place.  – and away from India is the Holy Mukthinath (Salagrammam divyadesam)

ஸ்ரீமன் நாராயணன் எங்கும் வியாபித்துள்ளவன்.  அவனுறையுமிடமான திவ்யதேசங்களிலே - பல ஸ்வரூபங்களில் நமக்காய் தர்சனம் அளித்து காக்கும் எம்பெருமான்,  தாரா என்னும் நீர்ப்பறவைகள் நிறைந்திருக்கிற வயல்களாலே சூழப்பட்ட ஸ்ரீஸாளக்ராமத்திலே வீற்றிருக்கிறான்.  அவ்வெம்பெருமானே நீக்கமற எங்கும் நிறைந்துள்ளவன் என்பதை திருமங்கை ஆழ்வார் அறுதியிட்டு உரைக்கின்றார்.

கார்கெழு கடல்களும்  மலைகளுமாய்  ஏர்கெழும்  உலகமுமாகி,

முதலார்களும்  அறிவரு நிலையினையாய்ச் சீர்கெழு நான்மறையானவனே

ஆண்டாய்  உனைக் காண்பதோர்  அருளெனக்கு அருளுதியேல்,

வேண்டேன்  மனை வாழ்க்கையை விண்ணகர் மேயவனே.

மேகங்கள் மிகப்படிந்திருக்கப் பெற்ற  ஸமுத்ரங்களுக்கும், மலைகளுக்கும் தாரகனாயும்,

ஒழுங்குபட்டிருக்கிற  லோகங்களுக்கும் நிர்வாஹகனாயும்,  பிரதானரான  பிரமன்  அறிய முடியாத ஸ்வபாவத்தை உடையவனாயும் சிறந்த நான்கு வேதங்களுக்கும் ப்ரதிபாத்யனாயுமிருக்கும் , சர்வேஸ்வரனான எம்பெருமான் ஸ்ரீமன் நாரணனே -  இத்துணை சிறப்பும் மிக்க ஒப்புயர்வற்றவனே ! என் பக்கலிலே அருள்செய்வாயாக என்று அந்த திவ்யஸ்வரூபனை வேண்டுகிறார், அவனடியே பற்றும்படி நமக்கும் அறிவுறுத்துகிறார் நம் கலியன்.


It is unique – a divyadesam outside Bharatha kandam – situate at an altitude of 3,710 meters (12,172 feet)  at the foot of the Thorong La mountain pass (part of the Himalayas) in Mustang, Nepal. Certainly the one situate at the highest altitude.  Mustang District  is in Dhawalagiri Zone of northern Nepal, and  is one of the seventy-five districts of Nepal. The district, with Jomsom as its headquarters, covers an area of 3,573 km²  - and is a remote area.  Mustang is an ancient kingdom, bordered by the Tibetan plateau and sheltered by some of world's tallest peaks, including 8000-meter tall Annapurna and Dhaulagiri.  The name "Mustang" is derived from the Tibetan word meaning, "Plain of Aspiration” ~ and here is our holy shrine Muktinath.


Jomsom, the gateway to Mukthinath  has an airport and is reachable from Kathmandu & Pokhara.  The local name for Muktinath is Chumig Gyatsa (Hundred Waters). The tradional caretakers of Muktinath-Chumig Gyatsa are the Tibetan Buddhist Chumig Gyatsa ('Muktinath') nuns.  Muktinath is Sanskrit name, has religious overtone and emotional attachment for Sri Vaishnavas.   Mukthi is salvation and the Emperuman in sitting posture here -  Muktinath, is the provider of salvation.  

To Buddhists, Muktinath is a place where the great sage Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) who brought Buddhism to Tibet, came to meditate. The area is a perfect place to find fossilized ammonites, known locally as Shaligram, which are found all along the upper reaches of the Kali Gandaki.

From Jomsom one travels by Jeep for an hour or so ~ and from that jeep point – further 45 mins to an hour by walk or on a pony takes to you a small beautiful temple dedicated to Sriman Narayana.  In front of the Temple there are two little ponds and around the temple, chill water flows in 108 taps.  Locals say that the  most suitable time to visit is from March to June.  When we reached there on 30.4.2018  it was pretty cold, with temperature hovering around 1◦C. Here is a short a video taken by me from air, whilst flying out of Jomsom :

Here are some photos of the hilly ranges taken in and around Jomsom.  Pray Sriman Narayana that things turn normal and in our life, we get another opportunity to visit Jomsom and have darshan at Holy Salagramam, the Mukthinath divyadesam.

adiyen Srinivasa dhasan
Mamandur Veeravalli Srinivasan Sampathkumar
5th June 2021 

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