|Elevation||5,142 m (16,870 ft)|
|Prominence||1,462 m (4,797 ft)|
|Location||Ganderbal, Kashmir Valley, India|
|First ascent||1856 by Thomas Montgomerie, United Kingdom|
|Easiest route||Arin Bandipore|
Harmukh (also known as Mount Haramukh or Harmukh mountain) is a mountain with a peak elevation of 5,142 metres (16,870 ft), in Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmir. Harmukh is part of the Himalaya Range, and is located between Nallah Sindh in the south and Kishanganga Neelum River in the north, rising above Gangabal Lake in the vicinity of Kashmir valley. It is mostly climbed from the northwestern side of Arin Bandipore.
Harmukh, with Gangbal Lake at its foot, is considered a sacred mountain by Hindus. According to Hindu mythology, Harmukh is the abode of Lord Shiva. According to the legend of "Hurmukhuk Gosoni"
- Once a hermit tried to reach the summit of Harmukh to see Lord Shiva face to face. For twelve long years he tried to scale the summit, but failed until one day he saw a Gujar descending the summit. When the Gujar approached him, the hermit enquired as to what he had seen there. The Gujar said he had been searching for a stray goat, and that while searching he saw a couple milking a cow and drinking the milk from a human skull. The couple had offered him some milk, which he refused to drink; when they departed they rubbed a little of the milk on his forehead. When the Gujar indicated the spot where the milk was rubbed, the hermit was extremely joyful and rushed to lick his forehead. It is said that the hermit attained Nirvana and disappeared from the place, to the complete surprise of the Gujar.
Harmukh lies in the northwestern Himalayan Range. The Karakoram Range borders it on the north and the Kashmir Valley on the south. Melt waters from glaciers form Gangabal Lake which lies at its foot to the north east side and contribute significantly to the regional fresh-water supply, supporting irrigation through Nallah Sindh. This Himalayan Range lies along the southern edge of the Eurasian tectonic plate and is made up of ancient sedimentary rocks (more than 390 million years old). Those strata were folded and thrust-faulted, and granite masses were intruded, when the Indian plate collided with Eurasia, beginning more than 100 million years ago. Harmukh means same on all sides. It is notable for its local relief as it is a consistently steep pyramid, dropping sharply to the east and south, with the eastern slope the steepest.
Harmukh was first climbed by members of the Great Trigonometric Survey lead by Thomas Montgomerie in 1856. Montgomerie made the first survey of the Karakoram some 210 km (130 miles) to the north, and sketched the two most prominent peaks, labelling them K1 and K2. Harmukh was later climbed by many other climbers.
The policy of the Great Trigonometric Survey was to use local names for mountains wherever possible and K1 was found to be known locally as Masherbrum. K2, however, appeared not to have acquired a local name, possibly due to its remoteness. The mountain is not visible from Askole, the last village to the south, or from the nearest habitation to the north, and is only fleetingly glimpsed from the end of the Baltoro Glacier, beyond which few local people would have ventured. Therefore, Harmukh is the mountain from which the world‘s 2nd highest mountain peak K2 was discovered and the name given it by the Survey, K2, continues to be used.
The easiest route among the different routes of Harmukh is via Arin Bandipore, 47 km motorable road from Srinagar to Arin and 18 kilometers of high altitude alpine tract leads to the base of Harmukh. Another track leads from Naranag to the base of Harmukh at Gangabal Lake, but it is a steep climb.
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- The most obvious exception to this policy was Mount Everest, where the local name Chomolungma was probably known, but ignored in order to pay tribute to George Everest. See Curran, p. 29-30.
- Curran, p. 30
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