The Chadar trek is a walk on the frozen Zanskar River which lies deep in the formidable mountains of Ladakh, India. It is a trek of epic proportions taken under challenging weather conditions that see temperatures drop as low as -35C in the night.
Story behind the Chadar trek: In the months from November to February, the district of Zanskar in Ladakh is almost entirely cut off from the main city of Leh leaving its inhabitants stranded with no road connectivity. The residents of Zanskar learned to tide over this challenge by using the only other way to move in and out, i.e by walking on the the frozen Zanskar River. The Villagers learned to brave the sub-zero temperatures and challenging terrain to reach nearby Leh for their bare necessities, healthcare and other needs. This seasonal route, came to be known as the Chadar as the frozen zanskar river appers like a sheet (chadar) of ice.
When the adventure community discovered this traditional route they wanted to experience the same hardships and challenges which the locals braved and get to see some beautiful landscapes only possible to see in the extreme cold weather conditions. And thus the Chadar Trek was born. This trek is also popularly known as the Frozen River Trek. It is considered as one of the toughest treks in India.
Inspite of the hardships, the Chadar Trek is definitely one of the treks you must try. Pick up any travel magazine and you will be able to see countless pictures of trekkers walking on a frozen river, under harsh conditions. This seemingly improbable scenario is the essence of the chadar trek. The experience of walking on a frozen river is one of its kind. The trek is very picturesque and the frozen river provides an extremely serene and beautiful location with a peaceful atmosphere. The real magic exists below your feet and you are unlikely to have seen anything quite as remarkable as this frozen river stretching far away out of sight. Watching the spell-binding panorama as you walk will give you memories that you will cherish forever.
The highlight of the trek is a beautiful frozen waterfall that you will see on the 3rd Day of the trek near Nerak village. Hidden between two hillocks is this natural formation of a 50ft frozen waterfall masterpiece which can only be seen to be believed.
Success in this strenuous trek offers the trekkers a sense of satisfaction and exhilaration that can be compared to none. The trek has definitely become very famous now and is now in the bucket list of many travel and adventure enthusiasts. The fame associated with this trek can be gauged by the fact that films have been made on the Chadar Trek by the coveted National Geographic and Discovery Channels. People coming from the trek also have numerous stories to narrate of their incredible experiences.
The trek is certainly not easy, but if you are enthusiastic enough, then this a must-do once in a life-time experience.