Almost all of us have grown up with tales of Noah and how he built his giant ark and saved two of every species on the earth from going extinct. Did you know, however, that according to Hindu Mythology India has its very own Noah. The place, legend has it, where ‘India’s Noah’ started the revival of mankind is the world famous hill station of Manali in Himachal Pradesh.
This little town , surrounded by mountains and picturesque valleys, gets its name from the word ‘Manu-Alaya’ meaning ‘the abode of Manu’- the hero of this legend. According to legend, King Manu built his ark in order to save mankind from the Great Floods and when the flood receded, rekindled life on earth, in this hillstation. Manali, widely known as a summer retreat for many tourists throughout the world, also has this legendary significance in Indian Mythology.
Matsya Purana says that the Matsya Avatar of Vishnu (his 7th Avatar) appeared in the water to King Manu – the then king of Kumari Kandam-while he was washing his hands in the river. The fish pleaded with him to save its life, and Manu obliged and put him in a water jar. The fish began growing at an alarming rate, and in the end it was so huge that no river was enough for it to swim, which resulted in Manu putting him in the sea. When the sea itself became hard put to contain the ginormous fish, Lord Matsya revealed himself and warned the king of the impending flood that was about to wipe mankind off the face of the earth.
Heeding the Lord’s warning, Manu built a gigantic ark and housed his family, animals and 9 different seeds in it. When the deluge came, Vishnu appeared as a huge horned fish and Shesha appeared as a rope to tie the ark with the horn. After all the water had receded, Manu and his ark were found to be perched on top of the Malaya Mountain, from where he began to repopulate the earth. The place of this rebirth of the Indian Civilization is the present day hillstation of Manali.
When one rifles through the vast length of legends that the Indian culture is based upon, many such stunning facts about our mythology and history, could be unearthed. These are stories that never fail to leave us in awed wonder of the many fascinating secrets that lie beneath this ancient land.