Jammu & Kashmir (5,142 m) – Home of Lord Shiva
Mount Harmukh is another of the mountains closely associated with the god Shiva, another possible location of his residence on Earth. It is also believed to be a place where a local man achieved Nirvana. Because of this, and because it is both more accessible and easier to ascend than many other mountains in this region of the Himalayas, Mount Harmukh is one of the most popular sacred Hindu mountains for pilgrims. It is named after the hermit who spent twelve years living here.
As the legend goes, Hurmukhuk Gosoni was a hermit who spent twelve years attempting to climb the mountain and meet Shiva. Eventually, he came across a goatherd who had inadvertently ound his way to the top while looking for a stray goat. At the top the goatherd met a couple who anointed his head with milk. The hermit licked the milk from the goatherd’s head and instantly achieved Nirvana on the spot.
Mount Harmukh was first explored by Europeans in the 1850s. One of the relatively more accessible and climeable mountains in the area, it was first scaled in 1856. It was from here that the mountains later identified as K1 and K2 (the latter the second tallest mountain on Earth) was first spotted.
Mount Harmukh stands at the northern end of Kashmir and is at the very edge of the Himalayas. It overlooks a magnificent valley of lakes and alpine meadows. Located barely fifteen miles east of the city of Bandipora and with a major road running past its base, Harmukh is by far one of the most easily visited of India’s sacred mountains, and many pilgrims travel here every year. Located in India’s northernmost state of Jammu and Kashmir, it is a little over 400 miles north of New Delhi.