The Chadar Trek is one of the most challenging treks in India and is eagerly anticipated both by adventure lovers and people in general. This trek involves walking on the frozen Zanskar River in Ladakh. The high altitude trek derives its name from the frozen river. During winter months, the river resembles a sheet of ice, which is called “Chadar” in the local language. Spanning for over 10 days, the Chadar Trek in Zanskar (Frozen River Trekking) 2019, gives you the opportunity to pacify the adrenalin rush and enjoy in the best possible way. During the course of the trek, you will come across various magnificent sights that will leave you thrilled.
Once you reach Leh airport, one of the highest airports in the world, get in touch with our tour representative. He will help you with an assisted transfer to the hotel/guest house. After resting for a while, head out in the evening to visit the local market of Leh where you will come across several food joints and shops open for business. You can choose to savor the local hot food and enjoy some last minute shopping if you wish to do so. Talking a walk here lets you experience the chill in the air.
Overnight stay at the guest house/hotel.
After enjoying your breakfast, set off for sightseeing the beautiful city of Leh, pride of the Ladakh region. Some of the sightseeing places include Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace and market.
Board a bus to Chilling in the morning. The road journey from Leh to Chilling takes you past incredible picturesque landscapes and gorgeous sights. The bus travels along the Indus River to Nimu Village where you can see the confluence of Zanskar and Indus Rivers. The bus makes a stop here for some time to enable the tourists to take photographs. The drive later continues on the road that descends towards the right into the river valley. The Zig-Zag road, dressed in snow, lets you enjoy a thrilling ride. The spectacular views of the snow-laden mountains are not to be missed.
After de-boarding the bus at Tilad Do, follow your trek leader who guides you towards the campsite. Your first steps on the Chadar, meaning “sheet” in Hindi, promises to be absolutely thrilling. You should be careful while crossing the frozen Zanskar River. Walking on the ice sheet requires practice, and this being your first time, you will need to start out carefully and slowly. As evening arrives, the team will pitch the tent on the banks of the river. You can also choose to climb up a nearby mountain to enjoy the outstanding views of the surroundings. The setting of the sun brings with it a decrease in temperature. Cuddle yourself into sleeping bags to keep your body warm.
Overnight stay in a tent.
Get out of your sleeping bags in the morning and enjoy a hot cup of tea on the 4th day of the trek. This will help you with the cold. On this day, you will embark on a long trek session of around 12km on the Zanskar River. The guide makes you acquainted with the walking technique on the frozen Zanskar River. The composition of the frozen river changes in direct proportion to the weather. It can either be slippery with hard and cold ice or peppered with snow. Thus making the walk relatively easier. It is best to follow the guide as the ice can be both thick and thin at some places and they know how to handle this.
During the course of the frozen river trek, you will also have to walk through ankle deep water or climb the cliffs standing by the side of the river. Start walking gradually, while skating or gliding on the Chadar on your own. Make a stop midway where the porters-cum-cooks serve tasty hot noodles for lunch. This has the advantage of fuelling the body’s solid as well as liquid intake. Walking past Shingra Koma brings you at the Gyalpo campsite where the potters will already have pitched the tents for you. The site, which is located by a bend in the river, is surrounded by rock walls and high peaks. After enjoying an early dinner, get inside a comfortable warm sleeping bag to retire for the day.
Overnight stay in camps.
Your day begins with a hot cup of tea in the morning and breakfast at 8 am. One of the best winter treks begins at 8.30 am. You should make sure that your breakfast is heavy as you will be required to walk a lot on this day (almost 14km). You will cross the deep ravines of the Zanskar Valley. For most of the day, this region receives no sunshine as the area is surrounded by mountains on both sides. A multitude of caves in the area raises the fun quotient. Your trekking expedition will also take you past frozen waterfalls. Also, on the way, you will also come across some greenery near a waterfall which never freezes. There is an interesting tale behind it is not being frozen. After you reach Tibb, you will come across an enormous cave, which will serve as your dwelling for the day. You will be treated to hot butter tea.
On this day, you will witness the incredible natural beauty of the region. Continue walking on the river and carefully negotiating through deep gorges. You will arrive at a place where prayer flags cover the Juniper trees. You can also choose to tie a prayer flag for good health and good luck. These flags will be carried by the porter assisting you. After a few steps ahead, you will come face to face with the biggest frozen waterfall of the region with a bridge next to it standing across the river. This bridge is used in the summer time to travel to Leh from Zanskar. This is the difficult part of the trek. After an hour, you come across the Naerak Village which stands several feet above the river. This is a local village inhabited by the residents of Zanskar. Set-up your camp in close proximity to the river. Rest and relax after arriving.
Overnight stay at the camp.
This is the beginning of the return journey. Start trekking back to the Tibb Cave. However, you should remember not to get careless by thinking that you are familiar with this trek, because you may come across several challenges. The need to be careful is all the more important because the river can change its form at any point of time. Meet locals on your way back. You will see them dressed in traditional woolen Gonchas. A few people may even be monks traveling to Leh from Lingshed Monastery. Arriva at Tibb.
Enjoy an overnight stay.
Start walking from Tibb and continue walking till you reach Gyalpo. The enormous mountain walls overlooking the river lend them a scenic appearance. You can even spot the pug marks of animals like ibex, foxes and snow leopards.
Overnight stay at Gyalpo.
This is the last day of the Chadar trek. Keep walking till you reach Tilad Do. You have reached the end of River Zanskar. This is the time to say goodbye to River Zanskar and the team. Upon arrival, complete the check-out formalities at the guest house/hotel.
Overnight stay at Leh.
After checkout, you will be transferred to the airport for your onward journey.