Glaciers in Himachal Pradesh

By | August 28, 2017

What is a Glacier?

A Glacier is a body of ice that originates on land by the recrystallization of snow under definite condition. The conditions are as follows:

  1. It needs a distinct area where more snow or ice usually accumulates than what melts called accumulation zone.
  2. Needs a distinct area where more snow or ice usually melts or wastes than what accumulates called ablation zone.
  3. A slow transfer or movement of the ice mass from the first region to the second.
Glaciers in Himachal Pradesh

Ghepan Glacier, Lahaul-Spiti (Image: Loopwhole)

Glaciers vary widely in forms and characteristics. The major morphological types include:

  1. The cliff and the cirque glaciers
  2. The continental ice sheets
  3. The valley glaciers

Glaciers in local language (Himachali) are known as “Shigri”. Bara Shigri is the largest glacier in Himachal Pradesh, located in Chandra valley of Lahaul and feeding the River Chenab.

There are four major concentration of glaciers in Himachal Pradesh; namely

  1. Bara Banghal, lying amidst Kangra, Kullu , Chamba and Lahaul valleys, feeding the river Ravi
  2. In the zone of Lahaul Spiti and Kullu valley, feeding glacial tributaries of River Beas
  3. Near the tri-junction of Kullu, Kinnaur and Spiti; feeding the tributaries of River Beas and Satluj
  4. Chandra valley in Lahaul

District-wise distribution of Glaciers:

Glaciers in Lahaul-Spiti: Bara Shigri, Chhota Shigri, Pacha, Kulti, Shipting, Ding Karmo, Tapn, Gyephang (also known as Manimahesh of Lahaul), Shili, Shamundri, Bolunag, Taragiri, Chandra, Bhaga, Kugti, Lainghar, Doksha, Nilkanth, Milang, Mukkila or Mukkiya, Miyar , Lady of Keylong, Gangstang, Perad, Sonapani, Gora, Takdung, Manthora, Karpat, Ulthampu and Tharong.

Glaciers in Kangra: Bhadal

Glaciers in Kullu: Parvati, Dudhon and Beas Kund

Glaciers in Shimla: Chandra Nahan

Other Important information about Glacier of HP:

  • Most of the glaciers in Himachal Pradesh are located in Greater Himalayas.
  • Bara Shigri glacier in Lahaul sub division feeds Chandra River and is located in the Chandra river valley.
  • The dimension of Bara Shigri glacier is 25 km * 3 km.
  • Captain Harcourt conquered the Shigri glacier in 1869 AD.
  • In 1858 AD, Stephenson trekked Bara Shigri glacier.
  • In 1970 AD, Bara Shigri glacier was scaled by Major Baljit Singh of Indian Army.
  • Walker and E.H. Pascoe were the member of Geological Survey team visited Bara Shigri glacier in 1906 AD.
  • Himalayan mountain system has over 5000 glaciers. The total number of glaciers found in Himachal Himalayas is 2500.
  • The Lady of Keylong is the name of glacier, in which a dark patch in the middle looks like a female figure walking with a load on her back and hence named by Lady Elashainghday.
  • Andrew Wilson a European traveler called Lahaul in 1873 AD as ‘The Valley of Glaciers’.
  • Snow and Avalanche Studies Establishment (SASE), a wing of Defense Research Development Organization (DRDO), is located at Manali.
  • Sonapani glacier was first surveyed by Walker & Pascoe in 1906 AD.
  • Sonapani and Gyephang glaciers are visible from the Ridge ground in Shimla.

2 thoughts on “Glaciers in Himachal Pradesh

  1. Sunny

    I thing there is mistake in this information that is 1958 not 1858.


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