Himalayas are not merely a geographical feature, a range of mountains;
they epitomise a people's civilisational identity that goes back to the
dawn of history. If these majestic mountains were not there, the rain
clouds sweeping up from the Indian Ocean would have passed over the Indian
subcontinent into central Asia leaving it a burning desert.
Archaeological evidence reveals that urban civilisation first emerged in the valleys of the rivers coursing down from the Himalayan mountains. When man elsewhere was cautiously emerging from his cave shelters, spectacular cities flourished at Mohenjodaro and Harappa in the Indus valley.
Many other texts use very colourful adjectives to describe the mountains. Some call it, "the measuring rod of the earth".
The oldest Veda, the Rig Veda refers to the Himalyas as 'Himavan', a deity and asks: "To which other deity shall we offer our prayers? On account of your prowess, mountains like the Himalyas and the oceans with rivers are created and the distant quarters are designated as your mere arms."
No wonder then that a mountain of so many aspects is viewed in Indian mythology as having a 'divine soul'. It is called "Devatatma" in a Sanskrit poet Kalidasa's works. That divinity is an all-pervading idea can be seen by the fact that there is a reference to a situation where a sage catches sight of the mountain ranges in Krishna's stomach!
Krishna was the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the preserver in yet another instance, the path to heaven, it is said runs up the Himalya the hero of the Mahabharata, Yudhishtra, is said to have climbed these peaks in his progress towards heaven the one leading to the heavens is called "Swargarohini", where Swarga means heaven "Arohini" means ascent. Chomolungma is the "Goddess mother of the earth" in Tibetan.
River valleys played an important role with diversity and inter-relationship. It is along the river valleys that major civilisations took birth and thrived. The Indus Valley civilisation also known as the Harappan Civilisation flourished between 3rd millennium BC to 1st millennium BC and covered an area of 3,50,000-sq-kms under undivided India. Its area of influence was larger than the combined area of Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilisations.
Among the general characteristics of the civilisation were the gridiron pattern of the cities, the fortifications, the elaborate drainage system and management. There are evidences that the Harappan people knew Bitumen. It was used in the Great bath of Mohenjodaro (now in Sind) that was constructed with beautiful well-baked brickwork and made water tight with bitumen. The technical advancement and uniformity of Harappan culture has no parallel.
People of Harappan times had a distinctive script, sculptures and pottery. Large-scale excavations of the Harappan sites, both in India and Pakistan, reveal an uncompromising uniformity in pottery, trading seals, brick size, etc. It is another matter that their script has largely remained undeciphered in spite of tremendous research. This small village in the western Himalayas has a setting that only the Gods could have created.