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The Chadar Trek is a phenomenal winter expedition. Period.
If Ladakh is a remote Himalayan region of Indian Himalaya, then Zanskar would be called he remote region of Ladakh! The region gets its name from the Zanskar river that cascades through the stunning Zanskar Gorge famously referred to as ‘The Grand Canyon of Asia’. Zanskar river is a tributary of Indus and is popular for whitewater rafting and kayaking in the Summers. In the winters, the temperature in this cold, arid desert plummets drastically falling as low as -30 degree celsius forcing the Zanskar to freeze on the surface. Thus the top layer forms a veil of ice referred to as ‘Chadar’ by locals. Since all the roads leading out of Zanskar are closed due to heavy snow on the high passes, walking on ice is the only way for Zanskaris to venture out or outsiders to venture in. The Zanskaris have been walking this road of ice in winters for generations to reach Leh.
In the past decade, the Chadar trek has gained popularity among ardent hikers who visit this region to walk on the frozen river and see for themselves this incredible marvel of nature. Extreme temperatures, stark landscape, magnificent gorge, frozen waterfalls, and a mirror-like road of ice. The Chadar will test you and fill you with wonder and awe. This is an experience incomparable. Something which has a short life because of a road being constructed connecting Zanskar and Leh.Personal equipment and sleeping bags
Airfares to and out of Leh
Any additional transport or activities apart from the trip itinerary
Expenses rising through unforeseen conditions like bad weather, natural calamities, flight cancellations, etc
Rescue and evacuation services
Expenses of any personal nature like phone calls, drinks, cigarettes, souvenirs, laundry, etc
Day 1 : Fly Delhi to Leh
Fly into one of the highest airports in the World situated at 3500m. You will be taken aback when the airhostess mentions the temperature outside, around -13℃ or downwards. It is an experience just getting out of the plane into the chill air of this cold desert. For people who have been to Ladakh in the Summers, they are in for a huge surprise.You will be bowled over by the starkness
and scenery of the place.
You are picked up from the airport by one of our
representatives and driven to our Hotel in Leh (20 mins). The rest of the day is spent without much activity and acclimatizing to the rarefied air. It is extremely important to not exert
yourself by physical activity during the first couple of days in Leh before the trek begins. A lot of water and rest is recommended.
Day 2 : Sightseeing and Acclimatization
We have half day sightseeing of Shey Palace and Thiksey Monastery. Shey used to be the erstwhile capital of Ladakh. Thiksey houses a huge statue of Maitreya Buddha and is built in the form of the Potala Palace in Tibet. We return for lunch
to the hotel. Some last minute shopping and market walks in the evening. Although most of the shops in the Leh market are closed , most of the local eateries and chai shops selling salt tea are open. There are many shops selling adventure gear too, for trekkers who flock Leh for the Chadar Trek.
Day 3 : Drive to Shingrak Yongma (3 Hrs). Trek to Shingrak Gongma
We have an early breakfast and drive for about 3 hours to reach Shingrak Yogma beyond Tilat Sumdo, where our trek begins. Every year the road extends a little bit decreasing the distance walked on the chadar. We meet our entire porter team here and spend some time distributing loads and setting them on the sledges. We then
descend to the ice and get our fist feel of the slippery mirror like surface and practice the penguin gait to walk on the ice. It takes some time to get used to this gait by when we have
already reached for first camp – Shingrak Gongma. This is the biggest camping site on the chadar and hosts many camping groups walking this path.
Day 4 : Trek to Dib Yongma(6 hrs)
The walk to Dib Yongma is long and time taken depends on ice conditions. Ahead of Shingrak we pass through another massive camping site called Tsomo beyond which lies the one waterfall which never freezes even in such severe temperature. The water from this falls comes out of a hole in the rock and looks like a nostril. The canyon walls increase in height and at many places the sun hardly reaches. Its a game
of shadows as we walk completely taken by the astounding scenery around. There are some places where the ice does not freeze well and we might have to walk over rocks or scramble our way through. At Dib Yongma, there are camping sites on both sides of the river.
Day 5 : Trek to Nyerak Pulu(6 hrs)
We hit the ice by 8.00am and make our way steadily to the next camp at Nyerak Pulu. Today is the day we get to see the famous frozen waterfall of Nyerak and the bridge that connects Nyerak to Lingshed. Nyerak village is the only and closest civilization that you can see while inside the Zanskar canyon on the chadar trek. This village is about an hour’s steep walk from the campsite. The locals from the village have built toilets and shelters with teashops at the campsite. Nyerak was well known for it’s camp keeper Meme Bulu who passed away in Feb,2015 at a ripe age of 80+ years. He was a favorite among the rafting parties that visited Nyerak in the summers and the porters and guides who saw him in the winters. Nyerak campsite is beautiful with huge mountains facing it and a wide view of the frozen Zanskar river.
Day 6 : Trek to Gref Camp Behind Tsarak Do(5 Hrs). Drive to Zangla(2 Hrs)
Today, we walk to the roadhead on the Zanskar side – Gref Camp before Tsarak Do. An hour’s walk from Nyerak, we reach the turning on the right which leads to Lingshed village. We skip that and continue straight ahead walking for another 4 hours to reach the the jeep track before Tsarak Do. Tsarak Do gets its name from the biting cold that characterizes this place and is believed to be the coldest camping site on the trek. Thankfully, we don’t camp here. The gorge in this section of the walk is breathtaking and we often stop to take a look around before walking ahead. We hop onto our waiting cars and drive to Zangla to a cozy homestay, our warm refuge for
Day 7 : Visit Padum and Karsha Monastery. Return to Zangla
A day to wake up leisurely to local brew of butter Tea from the homestay. After breakfast, we drive to Padum, the capital of Zanskar. Padum has a small market which becomes tiny in the winters. It is still a lot of fun to go around and checkout the various items on sale and the restaurants selling sweetmeats. From Padum, we head to Karsha village. The massive Karsha monastery is situated above a hill which towers over Karsha
and infact most of the surrounding Zanskar area. The view from the top of the monastery is absolutely stunning. You can easily spend about an hour here just looking at the vast expanse of Zanskar.
Day 8 : Drive to Gref Camp Beyond Tsarak Do(2 Hrs). Trek to Nyerak(5 Hrs)
We make an early start and drive to beyond Tsarak Do, to start our retreat march from Zanskar. We camp in Nyerak for the night.
Day 10 : Trek to Shingrak Yongma (6 Hrs). Drive to Leh(3 Hrs)
We walk back to the roadhead at Shingrak Yongma and hop onto our cars for the 3 hour drive to Leh. On the one hand, we will miss the chadar while on the other, we will be happy to
return to our hotels to snuggle into a cozy bed after all the adventure.
Day 11 : Buffer Day
A buffer day incase we face difficulties in navigating broken ice on the chadar. If everything goes as plan, we have a free day at
our disposal. Do a day trip to Pangong, spend time shopping, or just walk around Leh. We could go try out the new winter restaurant as well.
Day 12 : Depart
After an early breakfast, we drive to the airport for our onward
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Cancellation & Refund Policy :
* Upon cancellation, refund will be made after deducting the Retention Amount.
* Retention Amount varies as per the number of days left before your package start date.
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