The Himalayas or Himalaya - Himalaya is from Sanskrit Language: Hima (snow) + Alaya (abode) which means abode of snow. It covers the Himalayan states and regions. This range is home to nine of the ten highest peaks on Earth, including the highest above sea level, Mount Everest. The Himalayas have profoundly shaped the cultures of South Asia. Many Himalayan peaks are sacred in Dharma religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism. In Hinduism, the Himalayas have been personified as the god Himavat, father of Ganga and Parvati. Several places in the Himalayas are of religious significance in Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism. Three of the world's major rivers (the Indus, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra) arise in the Himalayas.