Chadar trek is most thrilling and is like no other hike in the Himalayas. Walking on thick glass like a frozen river with great mountains on either side is a once in a lifetime experience. At just 11,150 feet, the Chadar Trek almost feels like an expedition to the North Pole, where temperatures drop to 30 degrees at night, rations are transported on sleds and you can find refuge in caves, whatever it is to an eminent 'do it before you die'. Indulge in the Zankari culture through the locals up close and to experience their hospitality. One of the highlights of the Zanskar river hike is the greatest waterfall that is completely frozen over from top to bottom, the Nerak waterfall. When it comes to trekking in India, Chadar is the most glamorous and difficult trek as well. As of 2019, the local administration requires all Chadar Trek participants to undergo a medical examination at the SNM Hospital, Leh post, which would receive a certificate of fitness.
How to reach:
To get to the Chadar Trek one has to go to Leh and from Leh the journey begins and leads to freezing, the beginning of the Zanskar River in the frozen state. From Leh it would take about 65 to 70 km to reach the base camp of the trek via Tilad.
Things to carry for Chardar 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
- Waterproof windcheater
Best time to do Chardar Trek
The Zanskar River freezes over completely at the beginning of January and then remains frozen for a good two months. The best time to do Chadar Trek is from mid-January to early February.
Level of difficulty:
The altitude of Chadar is 11,123ft. The Chadar trek is difficult. However Great physical body can do this activity and lots of precaution to be taken.
Places to visit during Chardar Trek
Tilat Sumdo: It is a campsite for Chadar trek where you can get the view of Himalaya.
Shinra Koma: It is 10 kms away from Tilat sumdo which has scenic beauty and spellbounds tourists.
Tibb: Tibb offers a beautiful waterfall and cave.
Nerak: Nerak is the base camp for the trek and is a spot for sunset which is amazing.
Gyalpo: Gyalpo is a campsite located at a bend in the Zanskar River and is imposed by peaks and walls of rock faces that look man-made.
Dibyokma: Dibyokma is again a campsite which offers breathtaking views of the Himalayas.
Lingshed: It is one of the oldest villages in Ladakh and boasts awe-inspiring exquisiteness of nature. This region is also famous for the Lingshed Monastery which is one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh.
Reasons to do Chardar Trek
The Chadar Trek is so unique in that it takes place on the surface of a frozen river. Other hikes in India are through hills and mountains, through passes and caves, through ancient forts and through valleys, but this one meanders along the Zanskar route where the ice is thick enough you will walk on it.