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After doing over 30 treks by now, if there is one trek that stood out from all, that was CHADAR TREK. Putting it simply, I have never experienced anything like it before. An entire river painted with a white sheet of gold for as far as you can see. It is the most overwhelming experience one can have, mesmerizing on every turn, cold but warm for the eyes. That one week of my life was extraordinary. I knew then that I am witnessing a once in a lifetime experience. This exciting adventure is amplified by the breathtaking landscapes that altogether make for one of the most unforgettable treks.
Well, Zanskar is the first major tributary of the Indus river and flows through Ladakh. In Summers, it is a major attraction for people who are into river rafting. The white-water river offers one of the most adventurous river rafting experience enhanced by its mind-blowing landscape.Now during the winters, the entire tributary starts to freeze and becomes the only mode of transportation to the far wide villages. The Frozen water forms a Chadar (blanket) over the river and thus the name. With time, it became a major attraction for adventure seekers and tourists alike.
Who can attempt the Chadar Trek?
Anyone with a fair level of fitness can attempt this trek. Since you’ll be trekking over a river, it's not tiring at all. The only difficult moments are those patches in between where the Chadar is broken. In most such patches, the guides make an alternative route around it. But even if you’ll be trekking over a flat surface, one has to be very well acclimatized to the high altitude of the valley.
All you need to know before going for the Chadar Trek
Region: Union territory of Ladakh.
Duration: 7 to 11 Days
Max Altitude: 11,100 Ft.
Distance covered: 60 Km approx.
Best Season: January - February
General Itinerary :
(Note: the itinerary may vary from the one provided by your trek operator, this is a general itinerary for the trek)
The ratio of guide per person. Remember, porters are not your guides, they’ll just run ahead with the stuff instead of sticking around with you. There should be at least one guide per 7 people or lesser.
Do your fees include all the permits (wildlife permits, etc.) They are an additional expense over your cost.
Points to abide by:
Don’t dirty the area and use as many bio-degradable items as you can.
Avoid cotton. It absorbs more moisture and therefore is troublesome to carry.
Carry multiple socks. You’ll have to rotate them every day since they’ll get wet because of the sweating inside the gumboots.
Don’t be afraid to fall. Fall or slide but don’t do anything near the river.
Learn about frostbites and hypothermia and how to react if such a situation occurs.
Everybody's ability to perceive cold is different. Know your body and prepare accordingly.
DO NOT USE CRAMPONS. You will spoil the Chadar for every group that follows.
Word of advice: Temperature in the Zanskar valley is extremely low. Never compromise on your clothing.
This entire trail is blessed with beauty but cursed with a lack of sunlight. The temperatures go as low as (–)30 at certain points which makes camping difficult. Here’s what I used: