The ice stupa, a kind of artiﬁcial glacier, is the brainchild of a famous Ladakhi engineer and innovator named Sonam Wangchuk, who created first Ice Stupa in 2015, taking inspiration from ancestral practices and veteran Ladakhi civil engineer Chewang Norphel’s work on artificial glaciers, Ice Stupas have been designed at various locations across Ladakh ever since.
Ice Stupa is a form of glacier grafting technique that creates artificial glaciers, used for storing winter water (which otherwise would go unused) in the form of conical shaped ice heaps. During summer, when water is scarce, the Ice Stupa melts to increase water supply for crops.
To create a Ice Stupa, pipes connect to a stream of water from higher in the mountains which flows down and cold temperatures do the rest. An artificial glacier can go up to a height of 50 to70 feet.