‘Ice Stupas’, mountain-like manmade ice cones or towers, being made in Ladakh by freezing the water that otherwise goes waste in the winter months, have now become popular in the winter as hundreds of people including tourists and locals visit these structures on daily basis.
“On Sundays we get almost one thousand visitors, more than 800 visitors came to see the innovation last Sunday,” one of the team members of Ice Stupa told STATE TIMES.
Two Ice Stupas are being built at the previous place at Phyang Thang while two more are coming up in the Phyang stream up in the valley. The idea behind artificial glaciers is to freeze and hold the water that keeps flowing down the streams and into the rivers throughout the winter.
With making of Ice Stupas, this ice will melt in the springtime, just when the fields need watering.
Ice Stupas coming up at Phyang Thang are measuring about 60 feet each and the height is expected to cross 80 feet in the coming days. With invitation from Drikung Skyabgon Chetsang Rinpochey and support from Phyang Gonpa, Founder SECMOL Sonam Wangchuk started working on the Ice Stupas’ full-scale version of the proto-type at Phyang village after a small prototype was successfully built at the SECMOL Alternative Institute in 2014.
Innovator Sonam Wangchuk bagged prestigious Rolex Award for Enterprises in 2016 for building Ice Stupas to conserve water.
Ice Stupa built last year recorded a length of 78.4 feet, far taller than the tallest manmade Ice Sculpture in China having 53 feet height. Since Ice Stupas are in the shape of cones it lasts till June-July and melts slowly,” Sonam Wangchuk had informed media.
He hoped that this experiment to become a solution all over Himalayas where there is shortage of water in early spring.
“These ice mountains can be built right next to the village itself where the water is needed.
Very little effort or investment is needed for laying one underground pipeline from a higher point on the stream to the outskirts of the village,” Ice Stupa team told STATE TIMES.