Bara Shigri is the largest glacier which is located in the
state of Himachal Pradesh, India, Bara-Sigri glacier is the
second longest glacier in the world. The glacier is located in
the Chandra Valley of Lahaul. The glacier feeds the Chenab
River. The name comes from the Lahaul dialect, where Bara
means big and Shigri means glacier. Bada Shigri glacier is
more than 25 km. long and about 3 km. wide. It lies on the
middle slopes of the main Himalayan range. It is also aided by
many small tributary glaciers. It is surrounded by high
mountains from three sides. It is said that this glacier
formed Chandertal lake by causing a major havoc in Chandra
valley in 1936. Bada Shigri glacier was occupied by all women
mountaineers in 1956. It was further successfully trekked by
Stephenson in 1956.
There are number of famous glaciers in Chandra valley in
Lahaul. Some of them are Chhota Shigri (means Small Glacier ),
Kulti, Ding Karmo, Bolunag, Shpting, Pacha, Tapn, Gyephang,
Shamundri and Shili. Gyephang is the chief deity of Lahaul
valley and the Gyephang glacier is named after him. It is full
of snow all the year. It is considered as the Manimahesh of
Lahaul. Bada Shingri Glacier connects Manali – Bara Shigri –
Keylong. It is just 4 kms away from Batal and around 40 Kms
from Rohatang Pass.
The Bara Shigri glacier attracted much attention for many
years because of the precious antimony deposits found there.
The glacier was first surveyed in 1906 by H. Walker and E.H.
Pascoe of the Geological Survey of India. In 1955, the
Geological Survey of India sponsored an expedition to this
glacier as part of the Indian programme for the International
Geophysical Year 1956-57, when a number of Himalayan glaciers
were examined and their snout position were fixed.
According to Hugh Whistler's 1924 writing, "Shigri is applied
par-excellence to one particular glacier that emerges from the
mountains on the left bank of the Chenab. It is said to be
some miles long, and the snout reaches right down to the
river, lying athwart the customary road from Kullu to Spiti."
Estimates differ as to the breadth of the glacier where it is
crossed, as due to its movement and roughness no two caravans
cross it in exactly the same way, but it is not less than a
mile wide. In 1836 this glacier dammed the Chenab River,
causing the formation of a large lake, finally which broke
loose and carried devastation down the valley.
The Bara Shigri glacier flows northwards and debouches into
the Chenab River where its southerly course is deflected
westwards, close to the Spiti border. The glacier's elevation
is between 3,950 m (12,960 ft) and 4,570 m (14,990 ft), and
its 11 km length has been recently surveyed and mapped. The
glacier is so heavily covered with surface moraine that ice is
not visible for long stretches except along the gaps and in
the ablation areas. Another glacier known as Chhota Shigri is
across the Bara Shigri . Chhota Shigri is relatively a smaller
glacier and does not reach down to the bed of the Chenab, but
it is slippery, steep and difficult to cross.