Chadar trek

Chadar Trek

Indus and Zanskar confluence.
Length Approx. 65 miles (105 km) One way
Location Ladakh
Designation Chadar Trek
Trailheads Chilling
Use Hiking
Hiking details
Trail difficulty Extreme
Season January to February
Sights Zanskar
Hazards Severe cold

Coordinates: 33°46′19″N 76°50′43″E / 33.7719174°N 76.8453493°E / 33.7719174; 76.8453493

Zanskar is tributary to Indus river

The Chadar Trek or the Zanskar Gorge is a winter-trail in Zanskar region of Ladakh, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Its walls are near vertical cliffs up to 600 m high and the Zanskar River (a tributary of the Indus) is only 5 m wide in places. The Chadar Trek is the frozen Zanskar River which provides an access route to the Zanskar Valley and is used as a trail by locals and tourists during the winters.[1][2] It takes place on the trade route that has been used by the indigenous people for centuries[3] and is a fairly well established trek.

About the trek: Chadar trek a thrilling and adventurous trek in India. In the local language “chadar” means layer- indicating the layer of ice that covers the river . The chadar trek is basically performed on a frozen river called the “Zanskar River”,[3] during the summer this river doesn’t disappoint its enthusiastic tourist as it becomes a perfect location for river rafting expedition and during the winters it transforms into an ice sheet where the famous Chadar trek is performed.[4][5]

The frozen Zanskar river served and still serves as the traditional and only way of connect between Leh and Zanskar for the locals in the harsh winter months of Ladakh. Its being used by the locals for centuries. The documentary of National Geographic Channel first brought this journey of the locals to the outside world and since then Chadar - The Frozen River Trek has hit the popularity burst. Its rated as one of the best treks existing in the planet by many.[6]

For many years Chadar trek has attracted tourist from all over the world, it is one of the most exciting and challenging treks which covers the distance of approximately 105 km on foot, an average trekker completes a distance of 15–17 km each day.

The best time to do the Chadar trek is January to February,[3] when the temperature during the winters drops sometimes to -30 to -35 degrees which makes the Zanskar Lake look like a mesmerizing crystal lake.[4][5]

Chadar Road Under Construction: Presently, a road is under construction to maintain year round connectivity between Leh and Zanskar and is expected to complete in couple of years. The locals have been demanding this road for a long time and will make their life a lot easier, specially to answer medical emergencies during winter. The road construction has disturbed the local wildlife, primarily the elusive snow leopards. It used to be its prime territory for the snow leopards in the winter, but now they dwell up higher in the valley. Once the road starts functioning, it will bring a traditional culture to an end.[6][7]


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