By Faryal Raza
In the serene landscape of a region located 7500ft high, the visionary mind of agriculture officer M Raza and industrious efforts of local community have given rise to a colossal 70ft high marvel known as the Hussainabad Ice Stupa.
This frozen spectacle is not merely an architectural feat but also a symbol of sustainable development, leaving an indelible mark on agriculture, tourism and climate change mitigation. It is considered to be the first ice stupa built at a very low elevation in Asia.
The ice stupa stands as a guardian against water scarity in the region. As temperature rise and traditional water sources dwindle, the ingenious ice structure comes to the rescue, by providing water for crop irrigation, ensuring agriculture sustainability in a challenging environment. The ice stupa thus becomes a life line for local fertile fields.
It muste be acknowleged that the first ice stupa was built by Sonum Wangchuk, a Ladakhi engineer, and his team in 1918 in the Kargil-Ladakh region.
The colossal structure of ice stupa in Hussainabad has twined both, natural beauty and innovation, as manifested by the flow of visitors drawn not only to witness the architectural marvel but also to understand the intrirte engineering behind it. This infux of tourists brings economic benefits to region creating opportunity for local business and fostering a sense of community pride.
Creation of the “Stupa” involves diverting glacial melt water, from nearby glacial streams, to freeze it into towering structures during winter. If two inches wide pipes is used to divert water and construct the ice stupa, it can store up to one crore liters of water over a period of a month.
These ice stupa act as natural reservoirs holding water in solid state untill it is gradually released, due to rise in temperature, during the month of April and May.