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The Chadar trek simply is a thing in its own league. It won’t be an exaggeration to call it amongst the most unique and rewarding adventure activities to be done in India.
The frozen Zanskar river, dramatic bold mountains on either side, and ice all around you – the experience just doesn’t leave you, ever.
Chadar – a colloquial word which means a sheet or a blanket, is exactly the right name for this wondrous trek, for one is literally trekking on a sheet of ice for the whole sixty-plus kilometers of it. Sounds otherworldly, and otherworldly it is – a river which freezes and turns into a trekking spot: treacherous, tricky, somewhat troublesome, but always tons and tons of fun, and an experience one is unlikely to ever surpass in novelty.
Chadar trek is actually on the Zanskar River, which flows through the region of Leh Ladakh in the State of Jammu & Kashmir, a place whose beauty is a thing of legend anyway. This particular nook where the trek is located is even more pristine however, offering stupendously wide views unmatched in their ability to win your heart.
In the winter months of January-February is when the river completely freezes and becomes trekkable. As an added benefit, you are likely to come across some completely frozen waterfalls too, literally frozen mid way, top to bottom! Now if that doesn’t sneakily put a picture in your mind as to the beauty of this trek, what else will?
To be sure, it’s a trek which is categorized as relatively difficult: it requires a good 9-10 days to complete, covers a distance of some 62 kilometers, is located at a daunting altitude of 11,100 feet, and is wholly done on ice which can be dangerous at times. Thus it is advised to have a decent level of physical fitness and trekking experience before you head to the Zanskar river in the winter months of January and February to start this trek.
Nonetheless, or maybe because of the challenging nature of it, Chadar has become a favourite amongst adventure lovers all over India and the world. So to make sure that nothing holds you back, and to help you be ready for this remarkable trekking experience, here is a comprehensive guide on how to prepare for Chadar Trek.
Before you head for the Chadar trek
To sum up, get yourself fit, carry the essentials, keep yourself warm, support your fellow trekkers, and ALWAYS be aware of the ice conditions beneath your feet. With all this settled, you are sure to have yourself a memorable experience. Oh, and remember to click pictures!
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