Planning to explore the adventurous and beautiful Chadar trek in Ladakh? Here is all you need to know before you pack your bags. From what to see to what not to do, here is your one stop guide to follow.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
One of the most stunning and exhilarating winter treks across the blue planet, the Chadar Trek is a thrilling expedition over the frozen Zanskar River. The trail provides an excellent opportunity to explore the ancient culture of Zanskar, which is a blend of Tibetan and Indian cultures. In addition to this, a trekker can also spot some exotic wildlife species such as blue sheep, snow leopard and ibex that can be found in the frozen surroundings. But before you start planning for the next winter, let’s have an in-depth exploration of the Chadar Trek and tips to carry out a successful expedition.
Chadar Trek: Few Forewords
During the winter season, the Zanskar River freezes and appears like a sheet (chadar) of ice. This trek is popularly known as the Frozen River Trek. It is considered one of the toughest treks in India.
During the trek, one has to cover approximately 105 kilometers on foot. The mercury count is -15 to -20 degrees in the daytime while it dips to -25 degrees during the night. Most of the trek has to be completed by walking. Moreover, the trekkers even have to hike over icy boulders during the journey. The excursion includes walking on the sheet of ice during the day and staying in the caves during night.
Why should you go on the Chadar Trek?
One of the most popular trekking destinations in India, the Chadar Trek is not merely an expedition. This trek is undoubtedly a way to rejuvenate oneself and get relief from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Success in this strenuous trek offers the trekkers a sense of satisfaction and exhilaration that can be compared to none. The adventure enthusiasts can tread through bone-chilling climate and spell-binding panorama.
Any trekker who is an ardent adventurer and ready to encounter the harshest conditions cannot afford to miss the Frozen River Trek. The high spirits that can be felt by traversing through the snowy boulders is beyond words. However, caution needs to be practiced before anyone can embark on this arduous trek, and a few pointers need to be kept in mind.
Difficulties that you may encounter
The major difficulty of the Chadar Trek is of getting accustomed to the harsh climate conditions at an altitude of around 13,000 feet above sea level. The long and strenuous journey can cause exhaustion in the trekkers and thus, there is a need of high endurance and expertise. Proper stamina and ability is something that is non-negotiable when embarking on the Chadar Trek.
Some important tips for the Chadar Trek
As the trek requires courage for facing the thrills, there are some certain do’s and don’ts that a trekker must consider. Below-mentioned are some of the do’s and don’ts of Chadar Trek:
What to do on the Chadar Trek
- Let a friend or family member know about your schedule. This way, someone can come for your help in case of any emergency.
- Keep warm clothes with you as the temperature can plunge extensively.
- There can be a scarcity of food and water during the trail. Thus you must keep sufficient edibles and water with you.
- Never forget to bring a first-aid kit and medicines as the trek is demanding and getting bruises and cuts is very common.
What not to do on the Chadar Trek
- Do not litter anywhere and spoil the radiance of the route. The trail holds a gripping panorama and it is the responsibility of every trekker to maintain it.
- Do not use soaps and shampoos in waterfalls as it contaminates them. Moreover, the local inhabitants use this water for drinking purpose; thus you should keep it clean.
- Respect the tranquility of the shrines that fall en route.
- Never disregard the tips and guidelines provided by the guide.
- Never skip a meal as there is a requirement of high energy.
- Do not overlook the weather report.
What are the major destinations covered in Chadar Trek?
The prominent regions that fall en route Chadar Trek are:
Tilat Sumdo – Tilat Sumdo acts as a campsite for Chadar Trek. ‘Sumdo’ literally means ‘the confluence’. There is a small stream meeting the Zanskar at this point. Tilat Sumdo offers splendid vistas of the Himalayan Range.
Shinra Koma – Positioned about 10 kilometers away from Tilat Sumdo, Shingra Koma is a scenic spot showcasing rustic beauty that simply spellbinds the travelers. Shingra Koma is a place with unsurpassed tranquility and a mesmerizing panorama.
Tibb – Tibb is a picturesque place offering a fascinating waterfall and cave. This Tibb cave is also used for overnight stay by the trekkers. The vistas of sun-kissed mountains from Tibb are an enchanting sight to witness
Nerak – Nerak serves as a base camp for the trek. The view of sunset from Nerak is so gripping that an avid adventurer cannot afford to miss it. This region is sheer bliss for a nature lover’s eyes.
Gyalpo – Gyalpo is an enchanting campsite positioned at a bend in the Zanskar River. This region is flanked by imposing peaks and walls of rock faces that look man-made. The tourists can soak themselves in the surreal natural beauty here.
Dibyokma – Dibyokma is a campsite that offers dream-like panoramas including breathtaking views of the Himalayas. The serene and intact environment of Dibyokma makes tourists fall in love with this place.
Lingshed – One of the oldest villages in Ladakh, Lingshed boasts awe-inspiring exquisiteness of nature. This region is prominently famous for the Lingshed Monastery, which is one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh as well.
What is the best time for Chadar Trek?
The winter months of January and February are the best for trekking on the Frozen Zanskar River. Typically, mid-January to end-February is when most groups carry out trekking in the Chadar Trek.
There ample reasons for a trekker to embark on this adventure. The trek is certainly all about savoring thrill in its rawest form, as long as caution is heeded.