Glaciers in India - Check Highest Glacier in India

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Aug 11, 2022, 14:39

Glaciers in India are a body of dense ice that moves under their weight. The formation of Glaciers occurs due to the accumulation of snow that compresses into a thickened ice mass. India is home to a large number of glaciers. As per a study conducted by the Space Applications Centre, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), India has 16,627 glaciers. The Himalayan region, in particular, has some of the most prominent glaciers in the world. Even the highest glacier in India is located in this region.

Glaciers form only on land and not on water bodies. Most glaciers on the Indian map are scattered across Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, and the Union Territory of Ladakh. A few glaciers are also present in Arunachal Pradesh. Some of these glaciers in India can be as small as football fields, while others can extend hundreds of kilometers.

Largest Glacier in India

The Siachen is the longest glacier in India in the Himalayas-Karakoram region. It is also the second-largest glacier outside the polar regions on earth, being 76 km long. Here is a list of some of the glaciers in India relevant for various competitive exams.

List of Important Glaciers in India

S. No.

Glacier Name

Length

Location

1

Siachen Glacier

76 km

Ladakh

2

Gangotri Glacier

30 km

Uttarakhand

3

Bara Shigri Glacier

27.7 km

Himachal Pradesh

4

Zemu Glacier

26 km

Sikkim

5

Drang-Drung Glacier

23 km

Ladakh

6

Milam Glacier

16 km

Uttarakhand

7

Shafat Glacier/ Parkachik Glacier

14 km

Ladakh

8

Pindari Glacier

9 km

Uttarakhand

9

Chhota Shigri Glacier

9 km

Himachal Pradesh

10

Machoi Glacier

9 km

Ladakh

Top 10 Notable Glaciers in India Map

Siachen Glacier

It is the largest glacier in India, found in the Karakoram range in the Himalayas. Siachen Glacier is a type of mountain glacier having a length of 76 km (47 miles) using the longest route.

  • The total area of the glacier is 2,500 km2 (970 sq miles).
  • Siachen Glacier falls from 5,753 m above sea level at Indira Col on the India–China border down to 3,620 m (11,875 ft) at its terminus.

Gangotri Glacier

This glacier is a prominent source of the Ganges. It is the second biggest glacier in India and is located in Uttarkashi District, Uttarakhand, India, in a region bordering Tibet.

  • The glacier is about 30 kilometers (19 miles) long and 2 to 4 km (1 to 2 mi) wide, becoming the longest glacier in Uttarakhand.
  • The terminus of the Gangotri Glacier is said to compare to a cow's mouth, and the place is called Gomukh or Gaumukh, which is about 19 km from the town of Gangotri.
  • The glacier is a conventional Hindu pilgrimage site.

Bara Shigri Glacier

This glacier feeds the Chandra River in Lahaul and Spiti valley in Himachal Pradesh and is regarded as the third largest glacier in India.

  • It is currently extending to 27.7 kilometers and covers over 126.45 square kilometers. The highest elevation of the glacier is 6363 m.
  • Bara Shigri feeds the Chandra River, which after its intersection at Tandi with the Bhaga River, is known as Chandrabhaga or Chenab.

Zemu Glacier

It is the fourth longest glacier in India in the Eastern Himalayas and is located at the base of Kangchenjunga. Zemu Glacier is about 26 kilometers in length.

  • The glacier is the water source for multiple rivers, feeding them when it melts, for example, the Teesta River.
  • Analyzing digital imagery indicates that the glacier decreased by 27 meters every year between 1967–1984.

Drang-Drung Glacier

This mountain glacier is also called Drung Glacier and is the fifth highest glacier in India. It is situated in Ladakh in the Kargil district.

  • The maximum length of the glacier is 23 km at an average elevation of 4,780 m.
  • The Drang-Drung Glacier is a long river of ice, a source of the Stod River, a tributary of the Zanskar River, which in turn, is a tributary of the Indus River.
  • The glacier lies in the northeastern portion of the Himalayan Range, known as the Zanskar Range, south of Kargil and east of Srinagar, the capital of Jammu and Kashmir.

Milam Glacier

It is the longest glacier found in the tehsil of Munsiyari, Uttarakhand at Pithoragarh district, about 15 kilometers northeast of Nanda Devi.

  • It is the sixth largest glacier in India, having an elevation from about 5,500 meters to about 3,870 meters at its nose.
  • This glacier serves as a popular trekking destination.
  • It covers around 37 km2 and is the source of the Goriganga River.

Shafat Glacier

This glacier is also known as Parkachik Glacier. The Shafat Glacier is a 14-kilometer-long glacier in the Himalayan Range in Ladakh, India.

  • The Shafat Glacier and Parkachik Glacier give rise to the Nun and Kun mountain peaks, which have a height of more than 6800 meters.
  • It is situated 85 kilometers south of Kargil and 294 kilometers east of Srinagar.
  • The water that melts adds to the Suru River, a tributary of the Indus River.

Pindari Glacier

This glacier is found in the upper distances of the Kumaon Himalayas, to the southeast of Nanda Devi and Nanda Kot.

  • It is the eighth longest glacier in India, about 9 kilometers long, giving rise to the Pindar River in the Garhwal district.
  • The Glacier track provides a 90 km round-trip trek that most people find comfortable completing in 6 days.
  • Pindari is also renowned for other adventure sports like Mountain biking and ice climbing.

Chhota Shigri Glacier

This glacier lies on the northern slope of the main ridge of the Pir Panjal Range of the inner Himalayas, east of the Rohtang Pass (H.P.). It feeds the Chandra River.

  • The development of this glacier is possible because of the high, steep ridges and mountain terrain.
  • The glacier covers approximately 16 square kilometers of area.
  • Chhota Shigri is one of the best recorded mass budget studies, for example, in Jawaharlal Nehru University in the entire Himalayan region.

Machoi Glacier

It is the source of the Sind River and the Dras River. It is located in the northeastern Himalayan Range.

  • The Machoi Glacier is a 9-kilometre-long and the tenth largest Himalayan glacier in Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh, India.
  • It lies at an average peak of 4800 meters.
  • The glacier, like others, has also been melting at threatening rates due to Global warming.

The glaciers act as indicators of global warming and climate change. The Himalayan glaciers in India also serve as critical freshwater sources for the water reservoirs and rivers in the northern part of the country. That is why it is essential to monitor the glaciers.

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FAQs about Glaciers in India

Which is the Largest Glacier in India?

The Siachen is the largest glacier in India. The total area of the glacier is 2,500 km2 (970 sq miles).

Can glaciers form on water bodies?

No, glaciers can not form on water bodies. They can develop only on land.

Name some glaciers located in Arunachal Pradesh.

A few important glaciers from Arunachal Pradesh are Bichom Glacier, Kangto Glacier, and Mazgol Glacier.

Which glacier is the source of the Teesta River?

Zemu Glacier in the Eastern Himalayas is the source of the Teesta River. It is found in the Eastern Himalayas and at the base of Kangchenjunga.

How many Glaciers are there in India?

India has 16,627 glaciers, as given by Space Applications Centre, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Which state has the most glaciers in India?

Most glaciers in India lie in the territory of Ladakh and the states of Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Himachal Pradesh. Some glaciers are also discovered in Arunachal Pradesh.

Which is the second largest glacier in India?

Gangotri Glacier is the second largest glacier in India which is located in Uttarkashi District, in a region bordering Tibet. It is roughly 30 kilometers (19 miles) long.