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Winter treks in India: Chadar trek

A snow white “Chadar” (carpet), beautiful snow clad mountains, frozen waterfalls, trekking on this terrain in a group of fellow trekkers, a chance to know the locals – this all is what Chadar trek is all about. If you need to find heaven on Earth then head to the Chadar trek.

The trek that has become famous over past few years in all over the world is unique of its kind. This is the only trek in the world where you walk on the carpet of snow.

Let’s explore this trek in today’s blog:

What is Chadar trek:

The river Zanskar  flows in Leh and is a famous rafting spot in summer. The same river freezes in winter to form a ‘chadar‘ or blanket of snow, when the temperature in Leh drops to -35 degrees. The Chadar trek is a walk over this carpet of ice. The locals have been using this route for centuries for trade and transportation during the winters as it is the only way to reach the frozen Zanskar valley. In recent years, this route has gained popularity among adventure enthusiasts as one of the extreme treks in the world. The trek takes you through steep canyons as you get the see the vistas like you have never seen before.


How difficult is the Chadar trek?

The trek is a very difficult trek. You would face physical as well as mental challenges while doing this trek. The high altitude gives you breathlessness, dizziness and headaches. For this you need to reach Leh atleast a day or 2 days prior and get used to the temperature and low oxygen levels. The hike on the ice at low temperatures are difficult. You need to be in the best of your health and need to have a lot of stamina for walking. The weather can also play spoil sport as the weather might turn harsh at times this making it difficult to trek!


The Chadar Trek:

Chadar Trek starts at Chilling and is for around 5-6 days.

The route followed is as below:

Chilling–Tilat Do Camp–Shingra Koma–Tibb caves and then you need to traverse the way back again!


The first day of trekking is an experience in itself as you are just learning to walk on the snow and might fall or slip. But you learn to celebrate these small achievements. Sometimes roads are closed and you have to reroute your journey by climbing a cliff. A ninety degree climb on the cliff might scare the hell out of you, but the enchanting surroundings and the want to see more would keep you going!

The stay in the tent is yet another level of experience as you stay in extremely cold weather in the tent with cold breeze entering in your tent and you cuddling in a blanket. Sun seems the ultimate saviour and every beam of sunshine is a gift!


Enchanting surroundings:

The trek takes you through white snow, brown mountains and blue waters. You would feel like you must click photo at every avenue as you walk through the path. The ice structures formed and the frozen waterfalls are sights to behold. And if you are lucky enough you might also spot a polar bear!


Preparation for the trek:

  • Prepare really well for the trek. Build your stamina by doing practice treks and walking a few kms daily.
  • The trek gear and the dress must be proper to combat the cold.
  • The baggage that you carry must not be too heavy enough to cause hindrances in your trek.


Some rules to follow:

  • Do not litter. Keep the surroundings clean.
  • Follow your trek leader. Do not engage in heroics
  • Keep yourself hydrated. Drink water after every half an hour. This is extremely essential so that you don’t feel loss of energy in the trek.
  • You need permit to visit this area and hence keep the documents and the photocopies with you.

When to travel:

The Chadar usually gets formed from 1st Jan to the end of Feb. Hence that is the time when the Chadar trek can be undertaken.

You can book it with ‘Trek the Himalayas‘.


Chadar trek is a experience in itself.  Moreover we do not know that in the future because of the climatic changes if the Chadar of snow would even get formed. Hence pack your bags and witness the beauty of Chadar trek.



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