Glaciers and Rivers in Leh Ladakh
While on your tour to Ladakh, with some sightseeing to monasteries, palaces, lakes and passes, you can also explore Glaciers and Rivers which has beauty of their own. Glaciers are formed when excessive snow gathered on mountains over many years. These glaciers depart itself from the mountains because of its excessive weight. Glaciers are the biggest source of the freshwater. This water is so much in amount that it can feed one third of the population. Even some glaciers act as reservoir for particular season while release the water to keep the life cycle for the flora and fauna.
Glaciers are good for the adventure activities. Glaciers will test the stamina of any healthy person. There are many glaciers in Ladakh that can explore while on adventure activities. Some of the main Glaciers in Ladakh are:
Glaciers in Ladakh
Siachen glacier is situated near the line of control between India and Pakistan. This glacier is on the eastern side of Karakorum Range. The main and all related tributary of Siachen is controlled by the India. Siachen word is derived from the Balti in which “Sia” means rose plant and “chun” means in abundance, means land with lots of roses.
Siachen glaciers water is releases in the Nubra valley of Ladakh region, which are further moves to the Shyok river. This glacier is the main source for the Indus river as the Shyok meets the Indus river.
Nubra glacier is situated in the Karakorum Range of Jammu and Kashmir and is a way to Leh town in Ladakh. This glacier is a main water source for the Nubra River and Shyok River. The other side glaciers act as a feed to the main glacier and because of that, the main glacier looks like a vast area of snow field.
Biafo glacier lied in the south of Karakorum Range in Balistan of Ladakh and gives a way to Skardu in Ladakh. This glacier is 60 kms long and is the main source of water for the Shigar River. This glacier is also fed by the other small tributaries and this area sees no vegetation.
Rakaposhi glacier is on the lower side of the Karakorum Range. This glacier is situated in the Gilgit in Ladakh. The water of this glacier is a feed for the Hunza River. This glacier is a way to Gilgit from Jammu and Kashmir side.
This glacier is situated in the border of India and Pakistan. Saltoro glacier is located in the Saltoro Massif in mountain basin. There are two main rivers in the Saltoro Massif and Saltoro glacier is a feeder for one of these two main rivers.
Drang – Drung Glacier
Drang – Drung glacier is largest glacier in the Ladakh region in Jammu and Kashmir side. This glacier is situated near the PensiLa. This glacier feeds the Stod River in Ladakh.
Rivers in Ladakh
The Ladakh region has many rivers which is the best way to explore through adventure activity, river rafting. The main rivers in Ladakh region are
Sutlej River originates at the Himalayan region and flow down to the Himalayan basin. After flowing down for long time, it diverse towards the Shipki pass. After diverging towards the Shipki pass, it flows towards the Zanskar range in the Ladakh. After diverging towards the Zanskar range, it took the route to the gorge of Kinner Massif. In Kinnaur district, the Sutlej River runs parallel to the Indian – Tibet road. This river merges with the Baspa River in the Karcham district. After the Karcham district this river becomes very ferocious.
Indus River also known as Lion River, originates in the Tibet which comes under the China. Because of its origin, it is also known as Sengge Tsangpo River. This River flows from the desert region of the Leh valley in Ladakh. The Indus River, gives a different attraction destination for the people who came to Ladakh. This river has made a canyon on those ways from where it goes, esp. on Ladakh and Zanskar range. Indus River flows from the places where you can see many monasteries, gompas, years old statues and frescoes. This River is suitable for the River rafting.
Shyok River is tributary of Indus River, starts from the Rimo glacier in the Siachen glacier. This River meets with the Nubra River and become broad. After meeting with the Nubra River, it flows towards the Pangong area in the South East direction. From the Panging area, it flows ahead towards the North West direction and again flows parallel to its first path. After returning to its path it merges with the Indus at Keris in the east of Skardu.
Zanskar River has two branches which flow in different directions. One of the tribute flows towards the Doda, near the Pensi La, and flow ahead to main Zanskar valley and Padum. The second tribute of Zanskar River again flows in two directions, one near Shingo La as Kargyak River and second near Baralacha La as Tsarap River. These two main branches again merge and named Lungnak River in Prune.
Tsarap River originates at the Jammu and Kashmir and flows towards the Ladakh. In Ladakh it flows towards the Zanskar region. Tsarap River merges with the Doda River to make Zanskar River broader.
Doda also known as Stod, originates in the Jammu and Kashmir region. The water source for this River is Drang Drung glacier and flows towards the Ladakh. Doda River, flows towards the Padum Valley and merge ahead in the Tsarap River to widen the Zanskar River.
Markha River is a tribute of the Zanskar River in Ladakh. Markha River in the Markha valley is a most known route in Ladakh.