Mountain Climbing Stories-Onward to Heaven

Climbing higher up the Himalayas, one by one they started slipping off the perilous slopes into the jaws of death.The Pandavas had hoped to reach heaven but only Yudhishthir could set his foot there.What is the story?

Mountain Climbing in Himalayas
Swargarohini Peak of  Himalayas

Swargarohini is a real place and legends say that it leads to heaven or paradise.Hindus have a different word for heaven, it is Swarg.Interested? Read on…

As you travel northwards and towards the intersection of the borders of China, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, you meet the legend of Swargarohini, a mountain massif of Garhwal Himalayas. Swargarohini is a mountain peak and it is famously associated with the great story of Mahabharata, the epic that comprises stories of our failures, successes , weaknesses and our strengths.The word “Swargarohini” is composed of two parts- “Swarg” means heaven and ‘Arohini” stands for climbing.

Did I forget to mention that Swargarohini peak is located in the Uttarakhand state of India?

This peak of Swargarohini is one of the 4 peaks that the Pandava brothers had to cross on their way to paradise.But, then, what is the story behind Pandavas and Swargarohini?

Five brothers, a wife and the War

The Pandavas were 5 brothers and they shared a wife, Draupadi. They were princes and the eldest of them, Yudhishthir was the legal heir to the kingdom of their father.But, as it so happens in most of the royal families, the Pandavas had a hostile bunch of cousins as rival claimants to the throne.These cousins , who numbered 100 and were called Kauravas, deceived the Pandavas in a game of dice- to settle the ownership of the kingdom- and forced them to go to exile for 12 years.It was agreed that the Pandavas would get back their kingdom upon their return from exile.

When the Pandavas returned home, their cousins went back on their words of handing back the kingdom to the Pandavas.War was declared and a terrible battle ensued.Hundreds of thousands of men perished. The battle lasted for 18 days .

Finally, the Pandavas won and Yudhishthir was anointed the king.

After spending quite a few number of years as the king, Yudhishthir and his brothers decided to forego the pleasures of royalty and leave for the Himalayas and thence to paradise.The brothers were accompanied by their wife, Draupadi.Somewhere along the way, a dog joined them in their expedition.

The climb was initially gentle for the party, but as they walked northward, the gradient became steeper and the paths slippery. Deep abysses stared them on their way and often,the brothers and their wife had to save themselves from the falling boulders from the sides of the mountains.The paths became narrower as they climbed further upwards.The expedition became tough and tougher for all of them- except for Yudhishthir …and the dog.

Now, you can only expect the mountain climbing goats to be adept at this task and these men and woman were people of the plains!

Draupadi was the first one to fall to her death.Then, came the turn of the twins, Nakul and Sahdeva. Arjuna, the hero of the War was next. And , finally it was Bhima, the one who possessed the power of 18, 000 war elephants, who slipped and hurtled down the abyss to his death.

Stories of Himalayas
Artistic representation of Pandavas walking up the Swargarohini peak

Yudhishthir survived this heartbreaking journey and made it to the gates of Swarg or paradise.And, yes, he was followed by his companion, the humble dog.

But, why did Yudhishthir alone make it to the paradise?Well, that is another story and will be covered in my Ebook on Kindle.Hope, you buy it. Suffice it to say that only Yudhishthir possessed the qualities of a virtuous person.

It is believed by many that the only way to reach heaven is to climb  the Swargarohini peak.

Swargarohini is not one of the higher peaks of the Himalayas. That honour goes to Kanchanjungha, Nanda Devi, Makalu and many others.It is just a little more than 6000 metres from sea level.But, what strikes the average mountain climber about this peak is the sheer gradient from the northern and southern sides. The peak has two summits and they are located east and west of each other. The western summit is higher of the two. So far, this peak has been scaled 15 times by climbers.

I hope you are now sufficiently interested in trekking to this part of Himalayas in India so, I am going to make it easy for you to plan your travel and stay here;

Would you like to watch a video of this peak? It is in Hindi and was broadcast by a Hindi TV news channel , IBN 7.It is a bit dramatized here.

Click here to get authentic information on booking and availability of resorts and hotels in Uttarakhand, the home state of Swargarohini > http://uttarakhandtourism.gov.in/ .It is a government website and so it is trustworthy. It will also give information on the various trekking programmes going on in Uttarakhand.

But, if you still are unable to get the right kind of information, please write to me at swayamt@gmail.com and I shall surely help you out.

For climbers interested in the specifics of this mountain peak, here are a few links that you can check upon.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Alpine_Journal 
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Himalayan_peaks_of_Uttarakhand

Thank you for reading this post.Bye for now.

 

10 comments

  1. What an interesting post! You had me hooked into the story. I could imagine indeed the trek was extremely difficult, I wouldn’t do it. Great job.

  2. Mountain trekking is something I enjoy doing with my family. Our Big Bunso was four yo that time when we first started hiking as a family. It has become a favorite activity every Holy Week. Trekking the Himalayas is something beyond our dream but perhaps we could do someday– soon. The boys would surely be thrilled with the idea of trekking Swargarohini and reaching heaven after. But its something frightening on my part.

  3. I would love to trek the Himalayas! I didn’t even realize that part of the Himalayas were in India! It makes sense that they would be important in the Hindu religion. It was interesting to learn about the mythology behind Swargarohini too.

  4. An interesting story to accompany a nice mountain peak. It would’ve been a nightmare to trek for the five brothers and their shared wife. I for one wouldn’t dare hike up something so high.

  5. A friend of mine has travelled the Himalaya years ago , just back packing with her sister for months . I have seen the most amazing photos ever after they have come back . I must admit , that would not be my kind of travelling , as much as I am fascinated by you and all the other ‘adventure travellers’ . I am now too old or too spoiled (LOL) I need a comfy hotel and a decent bathroom etc …. But 20 years ago , that could have been my thing as well . Great post , really enjoyed participating in your virtual trip !

  6. I admire people who have the ba lls and the money to do this sort of thing. But it is not my sort of thing. I do love a bit of a hike, on a hill with a lovely view. But not weeks on the side of a mountain. No thank you. I will be at the pub working my way along the treacherous top shelf… 😉

  7. I certainly find it amazing how a particular place preserve ancient structures and even stories for future generations! And the story you just shared here had definitely caught my attention. I really love reading such stories it’s just that mountain climbing is never my thing, I didn’t even try it. But sure the story got me.

  8. As someone who climbs mountains, I find this very interesting. Of course, not the falling to my death part! But I’ve always wondered what got people into climbing mountains if the trail is not established and they are less equipped to face the unpredictability. I guess a lot of it is owed to religion.

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