Even the thought of walking on a frozen river might give you goosebumps for a while but what if I say that it’s possible and is a famous trek in India. Chadar Trek is a high-altitude trek that gives you an opportunity to experience the surreal thrill to walk on the frozen Zanskar river in the Ladakh region. It is so famous that Discovery and National Geography have even filmed its charming beauty. This trek gives you a glimpse and puts you in the shoes of the nomads of the region who’ve been walking on Zanskar for decades for their livelihoods. The people around are just too sweet and their hospitality is beyond words. The top of the world and the cold desert welcome you with huge wide barren lands opening their arms towards you. You won’t regret your decision to fly down to this land of unaltered cultural heritage and take home some unbelievable experiences.
The inhospitable weather conditions with temperature around -10°c in day time and falls to -25°c or even below makes it a really challenging trek all together. Heavy winds, no vegetation around and frozen Zanskar flowing by makes it even harder to stay put in the trek. But the rewards of seeing ice form, break and change colour every few hours will definitely make it worthwhile. The sight of frozen 50 feet ice waterfall will leave you awestruck and rob your consciousness for a moment to believe in what you are looking at. It is that beautiful of a sight.
It’s a 6 day trek excluding the days used for acclimatizing in Leh which would be around for 3 days from your arrival. It starts and ends at Shingra Koma which is a small town 3 hours away from Leh.
A small itinerary for the Chadar Trek is mentioned below-:
After 3 days of acclimatization you are ready to begin the adventure. Leave for Chilling, which is the starting point after breakfast. You’ll adore the cold desert on the way and Zanskar flowing by. Magnetic Hill and Gurudwara Pathar Sahib are the attractions on the way. Stop there for some time let the feeling sink in and continue the drive. After reaching Chilling, the trek starts. You’ll be trekking to Gyalpo, the first campsite.
Wake up in the Himalayan laps and start the trek to Tibba Caves. It’ll be a long day today as the trek will take around 6-7 hours climbing up to the heights of 11,800ft. You’ll crash to sleep as soon as you hit the sleeping bags of tiredness. Spend the time on the campsite and enjoy the surroundings around. The peace is absolutely serene and once in a lifetime experience.
Today’s the day that every trekker on the trek was waiting for. Today’s destination is Nerak which is about 13km and will take around 6-7 hours. The most fascinating part of this while trek is the Nerak waterfall which is 56ft high and completely frozen. It’s a sight to behold as it’ll be very to see this kind of sight in one’s entire life. Complete days tiredness and fatigue goes away by just a glimpse of this beauty. This is the last campsite of the trek as next we’ll be tracing our way back.
From Nerak to Tibba Caves now seems to be a bit monotonous as you’ll be tracing the same route back but there are so many surprises on each step you take. Zanskar never misses to surprise you with it’s beauty and uncertainty. You’ll encounter monks and Buddhists coming back from Leh to Lingshed and some other locals on the way.
Tibba Caves to Shingra. This is the last stretch of the trek so enjoy every moment of it and cherish Zanskar for the last time. As you reach Gyalpo camping site you can either end your day there or drive to Leh the same day if possible.
This brings end to an extravagant and extraordinary trip to Ladakh and Chadar trek, one of the most sought after and thrilling experiences in the Himalayas. The more you allowed Zanskar to get in you the more and enchanting feeling you take away from Chadar. Let your stories of Zanskar and Chadar flaunt in front of others and make them feel to do this once in their life.