CHADAR A frozen river trek
‘Chadar Trek’ is one of the wildest and famous trek in the world and a superb test of your mental strength. Chadar means the blanket/layer of ice formed on a river during winters and this frozen sheet/river is the only roadway for the Zanskaris living in padum or lingshed to go to Leh or from Leh as other passes are closed during the winters due to heavy snowfall. I have heard that this trek will be shut in 2020 as there is road being constructed to those villages.
This trip happened to me very unexpectedly. I was never part of this trek. I was in Delhi and my friends on their way to the trek stopped in Delhi for a night. I thought I will meet them in the night and wish them good luck. I met them and just before saying bye one of my friend said, “Why don’t you join??” I am like “WHAT!!, I don’t have winter wear, I don’t have anything for the trek”. He said, ” So what this is Delhi and you get everything in Sarojini Market.” I am quite tempted and bought everything from Sarojini :D. I was initially wondering how good this trek is gonna be, but it was nevertheless awesome. Chadar Trek is a magical journey which takes us into nature and its purest forms. I felt like I am walking inside a fairytale. Sometimes I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Rohit Khattar was our guide. As soon as we reached Leh we stayed there overnight for acclimatizing. We met Rohit and this guy had so much of positive energy. I still remember the words he told me before leaving to the trek. He said, ” You are the youngest one in the group, no matter what don’t stop keep moving and always cover your head.” With so much of motivation and positive energy, I started the trek. As he said though I faced many difficulties and cried a couple of times I never stopped and completed the trek with that smile on my face. Walking on a frozen river which has dangerous melting and throughout water flow underneath. Sometimes we had to climb the nearby rocks to move forward when we don’t find any frozen path on the river. We crawled, we walked slowly fearing the ice to break, we slid, we climbed the rocks, we fell for like zillion times :P. But we never stopped moving. With the temperatures dropping to -30 degrees and we used to wake up with a thin layer of ice on our sleeping bags. Whenever we removed our gloves to eat our heads turned blue.
After camping for 4 nights we reached a village called Lingshed. A village without electricity, without signals and without a road. Can you believe it? The villagers can reach the other place in 2 days but we take 4 days to go somewhere. It has a mesmerizing Buddhist Monastery and I dreamt of going there and staying at least for 3 months. They have a school for their kids. Those people are just awesome. I love Buddhism and the people who follow it. Those innocent smiling people totally made me fall in love with the culture and people. We were among the early and lucky people to complete that trek in 2015 as the trek got canceled for a long time due to a landslide.
As I said trekking in the Himalayas would cost you very less compared to any other fancy vacation. This trek has cost me INR 40,000 including flights, stay and food for 11 days. If you take a train it costs you around INR 30,000 only.
(Includes the Linghsed village)
(Day-01) – Fly from Delhi to Leh (3500 m). Local sightseeing in Leh. Stay in hotel.
(Day-02) – Extra hours for Acclimatisation, Local sightseeing in leh or we start the trek depending upon how the team has acclimatised
(Day-03) – Leh – Chilling – Tilath sumdo (By Road)–Shingrak. Night Stay in Camp near cave.
(Day-04) – Shingrak – Muska La – Choumo Cave (By Trek) Night Stay in Cave / Camp.
(Day-05) – Choumo Cave – Tipouma – Dib Cave – Nyrakpula Village (By Trek). Night Stay in Camp / Home stays in Village.
(Day-06) – Nyrakpula Village – Lingshed Village. Night Stay in Camp / Home stays in Village.
(Day-07) – Spend an entire day resting in Lingshed, one of the most remote villages in Ladakh. Visit monastery, school for monks and explore the village. Night Stay in Camp / Home stays in Village.
(Day-08) – Lingshed Village – Nyrakpula Village – Dib Cave. Night Stay in Camp/Cave.
(Day-09) – Dib Cave – Choumo cave/Muska La. Night Stay in Camp / cave.
(Day-10) – Choumo Cave/muska La – Shingrak – Tilath Sumdo (Road head). from Tilath Sumdo shifted to leh by Car.