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Glaciers in India
A glacier is a well formed body of dense ice over a land surface, covering an area of 0.1 km² moving under its own gravity always, due to the accumulation of snow exceeding its melting and sublimation process over many years, even centuries.
Glaciers are found in almost 50 countries, which include Antarctica, Alaska, Canada, Chile,Iceland and Greenland, besides Australia and South Africa having them in distant island territories. In India, there are Glaciers are found in Himalayas in Karakorum region, Siachen Glacier known to be the second largest glacier next to those in polar region. There are 15 Glaciers in Jammu and Kashmir State, about 12 in Himachal Pradesh, 3 coming under Sikkim and about 12 in Uttarkhand.
Glaciers are different from Sea Ice and Lake Ice which are thinner and formed over water, while Glaciers are form only on land surface.
Major river systems of India, Indus, Ganga and Brahmaputra are fed by Himalayan Glaciers, which are grouped into four such as Punjab, Garhwal, Nepal and Assam groups.
Visiting Glaciers through trekking is one of very interesting adventure tourism activities. For instance,
- Gangotri Glacier, which is one of the largest glaciers of Himalaya, located in the Garhwal Himalayan Region of Uttarkhand State, has its snout called Gomukh, which produces water stream, Bhagirathi from an elevation of 4000 m, is a beautiful spot for trekking. The tourist has to trek almost 18 km from Gangotri town to reach this location.
- Dokriani Glacier in the same region originating from Janoli (6633m) and Draupadi Ka Danda (5716 m) peaks is situated in Bhukki village, where from a small stream called Din Gad flows down. The middle part of the Glacier consisting of crevasse, glacier table, Moulin and ground moraine are wonderful spots to visit by trekking through huge boulders and debris.
- Kolhai Glacier in Jammu & Kashmir State, situated along Lidder Valley, is of 3650 m to 4800m elevation with deep and wide crevasses are another spot for making a thrilling visit by trekking.
- Chotta Shigri Glacier, lying east of Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh, has high and steep ridges, with wonderful and panoramic view of an expansive Glacier space, where lateral moraines are present along the accumulation zone is another place to visit by adventure tourists.
India tourism provides good facilities for adventure tourists for reaching the trekking bases and joining trekking adventures. There are trekking bases at
- Base camp Taluka for Bunder Punch Glacier reachable from Mussoorie and Dehradun
- Base camp for Gangotri Glacier reachable from Uttarkashi, Tehri and Rishikesh
- Base camp Ghuttu for Khatling Glacier approachable from Rishikesh
- Base camp Juma Village for Doonagiri Village reachable from Joshimath and Srinagar
- Base camp at Nainital to reach Dokriani Glacier of Bhagirathi Basin
- Base camp Saung to trek to Kaphini Glacier reachable from Kathgodam, Almora or Bageshwar
There are specialized tour organizers for these trekking adventures who can be contacted on line to do advance booking of tours.