The Chadar Trek is undoubtedly one of the most popular Himalayan hikes. All of this may be found in one 75-kilometre walk, with towering mountains providing cliffs to obstruct the dreary paths, a blanket of snow pleasantly restraining a wild river underneath, and bone-chilling cold in the area surrounding. Imagine trekking for about 8 hours a day on a frozen river at the height of nearly 11,000 feet. Didn't we mention the weather? It is always below zero, with temperatures ranging from -5 to -35 degrees. In this article, our experts will provide you with all the details of Chadar Trek - Chadar trek package, Chadar trek cost, Chadar trek duration, Chadar trek km, Chadar trek height, Chadar trek season, Chadar trek route, and much more. So, keep scrolling along with us to know more about this awesome adventure.
The Chadar Trek, also known as Zanskar Gorge or The Frozen River, is, without a doubt, the most exciting walk in the Himalayas. The name Chadar comes from the Arabic word chadar, which means "white sheet."
The Chadar Trek is a one-of-a-kind and difficult trek in India. Depending on the weather, the multi-day Chadar trek across the ice Zanskar River in Ladakh takes place from late January to late February or perhaps in March. It's a once-in-a-lifetime sensation to walk on the thick glass of an icy river with enormous mountains on each side.
With an elevation of 11,150 feet, the Chadar trek seems like a trip to the North Pole. Temperatures plummet to 30 degrees at night, all food and water must be brought in on sledges, and caves must be sought for shelter. Many people's bucket lists include completing The Chadar Trek, especially thrill-seekers who prefer hard climbs. Locals in the area are known as Zanskaris, and their major occupations are cattle-raising and farming.
- Duration: Typically 9 Days and 8 Nights (but it can vary)
- Cost: 8000-10000 INR
- Start and end-point of the trek: Guest House in Leh
- Height: 11,123 feet
- Distance: 75 km
- Level of difficulty: Very Difficult
- Temperature: 5 to 15 degrees (daytime) and minus 15-25 degrees (overnight)
- Last ATM: Leh Market and Airport
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Reasons To Go On The Chadar Trek
The Chadar Trek is one of the world's most remarkable treks. You're walking along the ice river's edge. Hikes across hills and mountains pass via passes, and caverns, historic forts, and valleys are available in India. This one winds its way down the Zanskar path, where the ice is thick enough to walk on.
Visiting the Chadar trek opens up a whole new world to you
You will be pushed out of your comfort zone on the Chadar Trek. You'll be freezing most of the time if you're far from civilization. For a few days, try butter tea (which not everyone enjoys) and be at the mercy of nature. You will gain a new perspective on life outside of cities and become one with nature. You'll learn a lot about the Ladakhen people and their problems. It's a humbling experience that will make you appreciate the conveniences and benefits you have in your daily life even more.
During the Chadar Trek, you'll see places you've never seen before
The scenery of Ladakh changes dramatically in the winter. The Zanskar River provides the most stunning vistas in this high-altitude desert, especially along the river valley. Experiment with frozen waterfalls that build icicle walls that soar above your head. You'll notice air bubbles frozen behind the ice from the river. On parts of the trail, you'll be hiking on a thick coating of ice behind which the river flows. The Chadar shifts around them regularly. The ice melts, breaks, then freezes when the temperature rises a few degrees. Mountain goats can be seen crossing the steep hills if you're lucky. The surrounding trees are leafless, and their limbs, which the weather has blackened, stand out against the white terrain.
The Chadar Trek is unlike any other trek in India
The Chadar Trek is unique in that it takes place on a frozen river's surface. Other Indian hikes take you over hills and mountains, passes and caverns, historic forts, and valleys. This trail follows the Zanskar River. You will walk on the ice where it is thick enough. You will trek on the frozen riverbanks where the guides believe the ice is too thin. You'll set up the tent and relax while taking in the tranquillity of the river and the starry sky overhead. Other hiking parties' bonfires may be seen downstream. Enjoy singing lessons and warming food to help you get through the frigid night.
Permits And Rules for the Chadar Trek
The Leh Government established laws and permits to guarantee that trekkers are safe and obey the rules. These must be followed and obtained upon arrival in Leh.
All hikers are required to:
- After arriving in Leh, we acclimatised for two days before starting the journey.
- Pass a medical exam and obtain a medical certificate from a local medical board in Leh stating that you have adjusted to the altitude and are physically capable of completing the journey.
- For the trek, you must have trek and personal accident insurance.
- After submitting your NOC and medical certificate to ALTOA, you will be granted permission.
How To Reach To Chadar Trek
Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport (IXL) in Leh is the closest airport to Chadar Trek. This airport has connections to India's major international airports, including Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai.
Take the New Delhi Jammu Tawi Rajdhani Express from Delhi to Jammu, departing at 8:40 p.m. and arriving at 5:45 a.m. You may take a bus from Jammu to Srinagar, and there are frequent buses from Srinagar to Leh. After acclimatisation, fly from Delhi to Leh and book a cab to Chilling the next day.
The NH1 connects Delhi and Leh and is 1,266 kilometres long. The distance between Leh and Chilling is 64 kilometres. To reach the Chadar Trek, one must first go to Leh. The trek starts in Leh and proceeds to the frigid Zanskar River. The hike base camp is around 65 to 70 kilometres from Leh through Tiled.
Chadar Trek Package Details
Day 1 – Arrival At Leh
Go to the specified accommodation as soon as you arrive in Leh. The first day is to be spent in the hotel, allowing the body to adjust to the high altitude. This is essential in the days ahead. Stay the night in a hotel.
Day 2 – Acclimatisation Day
The next day, you may go touring and discover the local highlights of Leh on their own or simply rest at the hotel. Stay in a hotel for the night.
Day 3 – Medical Check-Up
For a health check-up, go to the local hospital in Leh. The government requires that you obtain a medical certificate before embarking on the Chadar trip. Furthermore, following the medical examination, one must obtain a clearance certificate from the hospital. This certificate will be granted only once the participant is deemed fit and acclimatised for the journey. Stay in a hotel for the night.
Day 4 – Leh – Shingrayokma – Tsomopaldar
After breakfast, drive through the lovely valleys and catch a sight of the Indus and Zanskar rivers as they meet at Nimoo's confluence. Begin your trek from Nimoo on the route leading to ShingraYokma. Deboard the boat at this point and begin the journey to TsomoPaldar campground. Stay in the tents for the night.
Day 5 – Tsomo Paldar – Dibb Cave
Begin your journey towards the Dibb cave. You can see steep cliffs on both sides and unspoiled snow as you go through the deep canyons of the Zanskar valley. By the end of the day, you'll have arrived in the cave, which is a popular local traversal area. Set up a camp here for spending the night.
Day 6 – Dibb Cave – Nyerak
After breakfast, pass the picturesque gorges and make your way to Nyerak settlement. The journey will take you past a big ice waterfall that serves as a rest station for rafting expeditions that take place between August and September. The tent for today will be put up in Nyerak village, and you may go tour the area in the evening. Set up a camp here for spending the night.
Day 7 – Nyerak – Hotang
Starting from Nyerak, continue on the same path to Hotang. Enjoy an overnight stay in the tents after the day.
Day 8 – Hotang – Shingra Yokma
After breakfast, you will depart for Shingra Yokma, the last destination of the hike. The walk will take 9 hours to complete due to the thick ice, including a brief stop. Drive back to Leh when the hike is over and spend the night in a hotel.
Day 9 – Departure From Leh
Return to the airport on the final day of your tour, and from there, begin your journey to your next location.
Major Things To Carry On Chadar Trek
- Woollen cap, socks, mittens & scarf
- Head torch
- Rain cover
- Warm clothes
- Toilet paper & wipes
- Walking stick
- Day pack (20-30l)
- Water bottle
- Extra pair of socks
- Backpack with waterproof linings
- Fleece jackets and thermals
- Led torch (with extra batteries)
- Lightweight quilt or blanket
- Mosquito & insect repellent
Major Attractions/Nearby Places
The following is a list of scenic wonders you must see when hiking. Make certain you go through these events.
- Tilat Sumdo is a Chadar trail campground with panoramic views of the Himalayas.
- Shinra Koma is 10 kilometres from Tilat Sumdo, a picturesque area with many visitors.
- Tibb has a lovely waterfall and cave.
- Nerak is the trek's base camp and a fantastic place to see the sunset.
- Gyalpo is a campground located in a bend in the Zanskar River, surrounded by peaks and artificial-looking rock faces.
- Diploma is yet another camping site with spectacular Himalayan views.
- Lingshed is one of Ladakh's oldest settlements, with awe-inspiring natural splendour. The Lingshed Monastery, one of Ladakh's oldest monasteries, is also located in this region.
Do’s And Dont’s On A Chadar Trek
- Keep that adrenaline high going for a long time. If something doesn't work out, don't give up.
- Like a shadow, follow the natives. They are the most knowledgeable about the journey. Make sure you're not doing something that the locals aren't.
- Accept that you will fall and fail. You will fall on the ice and have to get back up - this will be the case for the first few days.
- Carry enough food and drinkable water in case you run out of food.
- Always have a first-aid kit on hand. Cuts and bruises are a welcome sight here, so bring your medications.
- Do not dismiss weather forecasts. Maintain synchronisation with MET records.
- It's the last thing you want to do if you skip a meal. The trip is strenuous, and you'll need to be on your toes even when sleeping.
- The guide should not be overlooked. Follow him/her with zeal.
- Do not litter, and do not use soap in the waterfall for obvious reasons.
- Do not put too much pressure on yourself. When you believe it is necessary, take a break.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How is the weather in the Chadar trek?
During the day, the temperature in Leh ranges from -10 to 0 degrees Celsius, depending on the weather conditions. After dusk, the temperature plummets, eventually dropping to -25 degrees Celsius. A feather jacket, combined with thick gloves and a warm cap, is a must-have gear not just for the climb but also for walking about Leh. It is essential to remove your shoes and wear a thick pair of woollen socks when entering the monastery. For adverse weather conditions, adequate hiking equipment is required to guard against chilly winds and unexpected snowfall.
2. How difficult is the Chadar trek?
The Chadar trek route is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but the harsh climate and staggering elevation of 11,123 meters make it a challenging expedition. Physical fitness becomes crucial in such a setting. A physically fit individual may complete the journey; nevertheless, several precautions must be taken.
3. What is the best time to visit Chadar trek?
The Zanskar River entirely freezes over in early January and stays that way for two months. From mid-January to early February is the optimum time to go on Chadar Trek.
The Bottom Line
When most people think of ice river hiking, they don't think of India. The majority of people will think of Iceland, Patagonia, or possibly Antarctica. And, as beautiful and exclusive as these other destinations are, don't overlook India's tough and distinctive treks.
Are you ready for this exciting Chadar trek?
If you answered yes, go ahead and start planning your vacation and preparing your bags.