Tibet is a land of many wonders, but none more majestic than the region’s awe inspiring glaciers. We invite local experts Tibet Travel to tell us more about their four favourite icy marvels of Mother Nature…
Tibet, rightly called the roof of the world, is encompassed by awe-inspiring mountain ranges and mesmerizing landscapes. It often considered the ultimate destination of mountain hunting trekkers, tourists and adventurers. The Tibetan plateau is an abode of thousands of glaciers. Every year these mystic masses of ice draw and enchant a good many number of visitors. Although an offbeat tourist destination, Tibet never fails to allure its visitors especially with the aid of its breathtaking glaciers, which possess an all encompassing serenity, poise, beauty and placidity. If one plans to make Tibet travel to see these Tibetan glaciers, their wish list should definitely include the following four glaciers.
Rongbuk glacier: The gateway to Everest
Located in the Himalaya of southern Tibet, Rongbuk glacier forms the gateway to the northern route of Mt. Everest. This glacier consists of two large tributaries – East Rongbuk glacier and West Rongbuk glacier. Mt. Everest is a possible source of the Rongbuk glacier. Wrapped in cloud and fog, the glacier offers jaw-dropping views. Rongbuk glacier is that place where all those who dream of reaching Mt. Everest must come. Rongbuk’s specialty lies not only in the wide expanse of nature’s beauty but also on its religious significance. The Rongbuk Monastery on the north side of Himalayas provides spiritual solace to the mountain seekers. The way towards the monastery passes through a rough terrain surrounded by lakes and valleys. The architecture of the monastery with the round chorten and reliquary is of vital tourist interest. Recently the increased number of expeditions to Everest has brought the monastery into the limelight. The monastery, standing erect on the same location for ages, was the one to witness the first man to step on the peaks of Mt. Everest. The blessed calmness of its vicinity emphasizes the beauty of this particular glacier. The panorama of massed snow, icy forests, many shaped peaks and columns are a sight to behold for those that gather here. Rongbuk glacier can be reached with the help of mountain jeeps with necessary requirements. However, trekking or mountain climbing in the higher elevations of Rongbuk glacier demands professional precautions along with a whole lot of determination and resolution.
Along with Rongbuk glacier, Midui glacier has been considered as one of the six most beautiful glaciers in China. Midui glacier is the lowest glacier located at the concourse of Nyenchen Tanglha Mountains and Boshula mountains in Yupu town. This glacier is of maritime nature. It is frequently visited by tourists and trekkers. Midui glacier’s advantageous location at Sichuan-Tibet Highway makes it easier for tourists to crowd at the spot with efficient transport facilities. This glacier is a canvas for photographers, with its heterogeneous mixture of green forests and white peaks. The glacier is said to have formed from the meeting of two icy waterfalls. The glacier extends into a sub tropical evergreen forest which too becomes an attraction for tourists. Midui glacier is all the more famous for its diversity and geological parks. The green apparels of the forests engulf the visitors in its awesome beauty. Tourists generally flock there when it is not so cold, ie. during summer to autumn (May-October).
Located in the close premises of a highway allows travellers to easily visit the Karola glacier. It is located at the junction of Nanggarze County and Gyangze County of Tibet. The snow laden glaciers inspire mountain lovers to stop on their way and rest their eyes on these marvelous creations. Along the highway you will also find Tibetans selling authentic items which can be bought as souvenirs. Formed from the compression of ice chunks over the years, Karola glacier is a brilliant display of Nature’s beauty. Although the glacier is quite far from the highest peak, it provides all the same landscapes and scenic beauty as the others. The vividness of the snow covered mountain engulfs the visitors into an aura of its own. One of the fascinating specialties of this glacier is that through it, one can make their way up to the ice sea. Yamdrok Lake is yet another show stealer. The misty mountains in the surroundings, the sky blue colour of the lake make it almost look like the mirror image of the sky. A visit to the Karola glacier will remain incomplete without exploring the Samding Monastery built on a cliff. The monastery within its walls feels woven from real Tibetan emotions. Against the backdrop of Karola glacier these tourist destinations make the glacier all the more gorgeous and stunning.
Kangshung glacier: Another gateway
Just as the Rongbuk glacier is the gateway to the North of Mt. Everest, Kangshung glacier forms the East face. The glacier is located in the Shigatse district which falls on the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. Kangshung glacier is comparatively less visited in spite of its beauty. Unlike the north and south side of Everest which can be easily reached by several methods, to reach the East side you need to march for several days passing through Langma La pass into Kama valley. Kangshung glacier also has a critical climb and thereby less frequently travelled by tourists and more by mountaineers. The waterfalls and gushing streams roaring and rushing form a picturesque view to the onlookers. The isolated peaks of Kangshung glacier, steep terrains and rough weather at times make it a challenging region and often trigger adventurers’ sense of excitement. With the added advantage of good weather, this glacier offers an amazing experience but mountaineers are always advised to carry proper gear in order to prevent any sort of trouble on their way.
Threats to these Tibetan beauties
In recent years, Tibetan glaciers have started to witness a steady decline. Due to pollution and global warming the dwindling rate of the glaciers are increasing at a worrying speed. The third abode of snow after Antarctica and Greenland, Tibetan glaciers are not only facing a retreat in the lower altitudes but equally in the higher elevations. The heavy hand of global warming is slowly becoming a threat to the Nature’s beautiful creation. The black carbon pollution too affects the glaciers of the Tibetan region. Immediate action needs to be taken to mend these problems before the impending disaster devours the entire glacial world.
Tibetan beauty lies on the silvery visage of these glaciers. The tourism industry of Tibet has hiked because of frequent treks and mountain climbing in the environs of these stunning glaciers. The gracious grandeur of the glaciers makes a brilliant display for most of our wallpapers, but why restrict them only to the photographs? Join Tibettravel.org on a tour to the Tibetan mountains and see these marvels of Nature for yourself.