India is not associated with the snow-covered mountains or icy glaciers. For most Europeans, the typical ideas about the Land in Asia is likely to be characterised by a tropical climate, and coasts with long beaches, or at best, still busy megacities velvet chaotic traffic.

it is easy to forget: Also a part of the Himalaya mountains, Indian territory. And it is precisely from this Region, the recording comes up, you been shot by one of the Sentinel satellites of the Esa. The photo shows a part of the Northern state of Uttarakhand, bordering Nepal in the South-East and China in the North.

On the image of the Gangotri glacier is to be seen, he is one of the largest in the entire Himalayan massif. The ice take on the Western slope of the Chaukhamba. The mountain is about 7100 meters, the highest peak in the Western Himalayas – he is on the photo in the lower right corner, light grey discontinued.


From here, the ice of the Gangotri ranges in between two and four kilometers wide tongue for about 30 kilometres towards the North-West, before it ends.

And here, at the very end of the ice, there it is: the “mouth of the cow”.

The Hindus call this the snout of the glacier Gomukh. The Name probably comes from ancient times, it describes how the output for the melt looked like water once. Because here the Bhagirathi river originates, he unites with the Alaknanda, and is henceforth the Ganges. But in Hindu mythology, the Gomukh, the cow-mouth is regarded as the source of the Ganges. Therefore, the remote place is the destination for many spiritual pilgrims and hikes. The believers also mostly in the village of Gangotri stop, which is located a few kilometres away. In the tiny town of over 3000 meters of altitude in the Ganga temple, is a popular destination.

However, the Bhagirathi is off of spiritual importance for the Region. Above all, he is the major freshwater supplier. The high-altitude ice fields of the Himalayan Region and the Tibetan plateau contains the largest fresh-water reservoir outside of the polar regions. And further down-river water power plants, ensure the power supply.


However, the Gangotri is affected by a similar fate in the world, also many of the other glaciers. A long time its ice sheets are dwindling. Studies suggest that it forms for well over 200 years. And recent measurements have shown that Between the mid Fifties and seventies, up to 35 yards thawed per year, currently it should be about ten.

of The Ganges, is a burden on already heavy with pollutants, through the Himalayas, flows South, one of the most densely populated areas of the earth. In the plane, the capital city of New Delhi, with more than 25 million inhabitants one of the largest metropolises in the world.

Therefore, could have changes and decrease in glacier mass will have serious consequences for the people, writes the Esa. Even more important is to check the changes in the glacier mass on a regular basis and documented. This includes earth observation satellites provide a long time an important contribution. Especially when it comes to such remote regions as the “mouth of the cow”.


Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.