Chadar means layer- indicating the layer of ice that covers the river. During the winters the river transforms into an ice sheet where the famous Chadar trek is performed.
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Challenging
Group Size Large Group
A trail on the frozen river (Chadar Trek)
Ever thought of taking a morning-walk on a frozen river? We have the perfect one for you! Chadar Trek also known as the Zanskar river trek is a winter trail in the Zanskar region of Ladakh, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Chadar trek is aptly named so because the Frozen Zaskar River forms a blanket of snow floating amidst the backdrop of blues greens and browns. Sounds enchanting and thrilling at the same time, doesn’t it?
Chadar Trek is one of the challenging treks in the Ladakh region. The strenuous mountain trail on the ice-clogged river under the blue winter sky passes through valleys, mountain caves and frozen waterfalls. Yes,you heard it right! The biggest attraction of this trek is the frozen water fall which is breath-taking and captivating all at the same time. The frozen Zanskar River is still serving as the traditional and only way of connecting between Leh and Zanskar for the locals in the harsh winter months of Ladakh.
This frozen river trek will challenge your senses as you struggle to survive in the dropped temperatures ranging between -30 to 35 degrees while your mind absorbs the beauty of this place. The best time to see the Zaskar River transform itself to a beautiful envelope of snow is during the month of January and February. During the months of winter, the Zanskar River looks like a blanket of crystal under the mirage of blue skies. It is during this period that the gushing sounds of the river flow stand still and you can take a walk on the frozen layers of ice. The trail is long and the temperatures are in minus.
Chadar trek is one of the many thrilling treks of Ladakh. This frozen river trek will challenge your senses as you struggle to survive in the dropped temperatures while the enchanting surroundings capture your mind. For those looking for some adrenaline-rush this Winter trekking in Ladakh is just perfect.This winter trekking in Ladakh is an ideal one for all those nomad bag-packers, photographers and nature lovers.
Come fall in love with the pristine hues of white blues and browns and explore with us Chadar trek 2019.
Grade – Challenging
Duration – 9 days
Max. Altitude –
Total trekking –
Region – Ladakh
- Accommodation during trek on triple/quad (Homestay/Camping)
- Camping tents, sleeping bags, sleeping mattress and toilet tent
- All veg meals while on trek
- Transport from Leh to Tilad do and back
- First aid medical kit
- Qualified and experienced Trek Guide and support staff
- All taxes
- Any meals during transit
- Personal expenses
- ALTOA, LAHDC fees
- Airport transfers
- Cost Escalation due to unforeseen reason
- Mules or porter to carry personal luggage
- Anything not specifically mentioned under the head
Delhi to Leh
Flying over miles and miles of heavily snowed mountains will tell you just why it is impossible to reach Ladakh by road in the winters.The moment you land at the Leh airport, one of the highest airports in the world, you will feel the fresh and crisp air, and a drastic drop in the temperature.Taking a stroll through the Leh market, you will find that very few shops and eateries in the town are open for business; The chill in the air will serve only as a preview of the temperatures during this winter trek. The night is spent in a cozy guest house.
Acclimatization in Leh and Medical check up
Enjoy the cultural and natural beauty of Leh. This can be considered as a day to get familiar with the town and also acclimatize to the weather.As per the new law by Leh trekking union it is mandatory for participants to acquire medical certification and to spend two days in Leh before moving for Chadar trek. A clearance certificate upon a medical check-up will be issued by the Sonam Narbu Hospital.One may spend this day by visiting few places in Leh town itself. It is very important to get used to the cold temperature. Overnight stay in Guest house.
Leh to Shingra Koma via Chilling
Further, the roller-coaster ride takes you along the Indus to the village of Nimu, where the Zanskar converges into Indus. To reach the camp-site, you have to cross the frozen Zanskar and this is when you take your first steps on the Chadar.
After passing Shingra Koma, you reach the camp-site for the day at Gyalpo, where the tents have already been pitched by the porters. The Gyalpo campsite is at a bend in the river, surrounded by high peaks and walls of rock-faces which almost look man-made. All that is left to do is to soak in the views, have an early dinner and call it a day.
Shingra Koma to Tibb Cave
This day follows the same early morning routine: bed tea at 7, breakfast at 8, and quick-march at 8:30. Have a good breakfast, as today is the longest walk of the day almost 14 km. But that is nothing to worry about, all the walking keeps you incredibly warm. Today’s walk through the deep ravines of the Zanskar is stunning. The sublime walls of the mountains on either sides of the river keep the sunlight away from the Chadar for most part of the day. There are numerous caves in these mountains, big and small. Today is the day when you can see frozen waterfalls, some higher than the others. As the fable goes, centuries ago the local villagers faced a dearth of water and went to Tibet to plead for water. They were given a box which they were to open once they reached the village, and not any time sooner. But curiosity got the better out of them, and when they opened the box, two fishes jumped out of it, creating two huge waterfalls. One of those waterfalls, miraculously, is not iced-up even in such freezing cold. The rocks below this waterfall are covered with moss, and this is the only greenery you shall see on this trek. At Tibb, there is a big cave. This cave is the dwelling of all the porters, and they welcome you warm-heartedly in here. The highlight of the day is to share a cup of butter-tea with them!
Tibb Cave to Naerak
Today is the most spectacular of all days on this trek. Walking on the river you cross deep gorges and reach a point where Juniper trees are covered with prayer flags. The porters give you a twig of this tree tied with a piece of prayer flag as a badge of good-luck and good-health. A few steps away stands the mother-of-all frozen waterfalls a huge instance of suspended animation several feet tall and equally wide. You can see dozens of colors in this enormous ice structure as sunlight plays off its surface. Right next to the waterfall is a bridge across the river which is a part of the summer-time road from Zanskar to Leh.
The Naerak village lies several feet above the river, a vigorous hour-long trek can take you to the village if you want to see the life of a Zanskari. The camp is set up close to the river.
Naerak to Tibb
Today you start the return journey and go back to the Tibb cave. And if you thought that it was just a matter of retracing your steps back to Chilling, you can think again. The Zanskar River reacts to the slightest change of temperature, and constantly keeps repackaging itself. The Chadar would have assumed a completely new form, and will it will almost be impossible to say whether you have been here before.
On the way, you can meet a lot of locals wearing their traditional woolen Gonchas some of them monks who are hiking from the Lingshed Monastery to Leh, some of them young students accompanied by their parents returning to their schools in Leh after the winter vacation. Watching the locals negotiate the Chadar is a fascinating sight. They are suitably adept to the climate and seem very much at home in the sub-zero temperature and the biting cold winds. Nothing wipes the smiles off their faces and dampens the warmth of their spirit.
Tibb to Gyalpo
Starting from Tibb, go up to Gyalpo today. The high walls of mountains rising from the sides of the river almost look like castle walls. You can see several trails of pug-marks all along the trek footprints belonging to foxes, ibex or snow-leopards. You would be lucky to view a snow-leopard; but you can almost be sure that you are being watched by one all the time.
Gyalpo to Tilad Do, and drive back to Leh
This is the last day of treading on the Chadar the last chance to immerse in the pristine beauty of the frozen river. Once you reach Tilad Do, it is time to say good-bye to the Zanskar and the Zanskaries. Our team and our porters will take good care of you and make this trek one of the most memorable experiences of a lifetime. Tonight you get to sleep in a warm guest-house again at Leh.
Leh to Delhi
Today will be your last day in Leh! With a heavy heart we bid a goodbye. After breakfast we shall depart for an early morning flight to Delhi. Chadar trek ends here.
- Rucksack 55-65 lts/Day pack
- Waterproof, high ankle hiking boots and gumboots (Gumboots – Recommended buying in Leh itself)
- Trekking pole
- Seven pairs of thermal, thick wool and synthetic socks and seven pairs of liner socks
- Fleece pants/Inner thermals/Quick dry Towel/Waterproof outer pants
- Fleece jacket/Windproof jacket
- Thermal inners, both lower and upper
- Wool hat that covers the ears
- Long-sleeved thermal shirts/light fleece shirts for trekking
- Two pairs of fleece/woollen inner gloves
- Outer synthetic water-proof gloves
- Sunglasses with UV protection
- Lip protection + Moisturiser with high SPF
- Two water bottles, preferably with insulated cover
- Headlamp/flashlight with spare batteries – cold kills batteries
- Camera with spare batteries and memory cards – cold kills batteries
- Lightweight toiletries, including hand sanitizer
- Ear plugs
- Toilet paper
- Personal first aid kit, ID proof and 2 passport size photos