Chadar Trek- Offbeat Trekking Destination On The Frozen River

Want to know the best way to spend your winter vacations? Chadar Trek, one of the most amazing treks in Ladakh, might be your answer! Chadar trekking or ice trekking as it’s popularly known as, is among the most offbeat treks you can undertake in India. Here’s everything you need to know about this fabulous trek and what makes it so special.

Why Should You Visit Chadar Trek

Despite its severe cold and harsh terrain, Chadar trek is a stunning experience that you should not miss out on. It provides a spectacular trekking destination where you can walk over frozen rivers while admiring beautiful icy valleys and snow covered mountains surrounding you. The main highlight of Chadar trek is in seeing frozen waterfalls and experiencing ‘Ice Bridges’ – one of nature’s most unique creations. Get your camera ready to capture some breathtaking moments! Here are some tips for planning your visit to Chadar Trek: Let’s see what tips will help to plan your trip accordingly.

The Chadar

If you’re looking for an adventure, look no further than Chadar—or the floating stones—in Ladakh. The frozen Zanskar river provides an excellent natural surface for trekkers to traverse, and several villages along its banks act as launching points for multi-day treks that take adventurers over frozen water, snow and rock. From December through February (the winter season), these frozen rivers are completely covered in snow and ice from both sides. Conditions are harsh but manageable in winter: temperatures range from –30 degrees Celsius to –40 degrees Celsius; water is frozen solid; and there is barely any visibility with whiteouts making navigation impossible without a guide.

Chadar trek itinerary

The weeklong Chadar trek, originally called Nachauni dara, is also known as frozen river trek. It is one of three treks in Ladakh region. The trek starts from Lamayuru and ends at Diskit (Darcha in Hindi). Alongside the frozen Zanskar river through traditional Nubra valley up to Hemis monastery at height of 3900 meters above sea level; it’s just a short downhill walk of 20 minutes back to Diskit town.

What are the different activities you can do here?

Chadar trek is known for its thrilling adventure. There are different activities that one can do here apart from trekking such as ice swimming, ice skating and much more. Although Chadar Trek is lesser known in comparison to other treks of Ladakh like Zanskar, it offers some very exciting adventures. The frozen Zanskar river along with a different culture and scenery makes Chadar trek an experience to remember.

When to go and what is the best time of year?

The ideal time to visit Chadar is January and February. This time of year is not very cold, with temperatures ranging from -10 to -20 degrees Celsius, and so you are well prepared for if you decide to do a full moon Chadar trek which takes place in November. The route is open for about six months of the year when it becomes frozen solid enough for you to walk upon without sinking in deep snow.

How safe is Chadar trekking?

Chadar trek, in some cases referred to as, ‘The frozen river trek’ is usually arranged during December, January and February and is one of India’s best treks. Chadar Trek is indeed a dangerous trek because trekkers have to walk across a frozen Zanskar river. The path lies at a very high altitude (between 10000 ft – 15000 ft above sea level) where it snows throughout winter and temperatures go down to below zero degrees Celsius.

What kind of clothing should you wear while trekking in Ladakh?

One of my favorite trekking journeys in India is Chadar trek or Zanskar La trek. The reason for its popularity is that it is an offbeat and low cost alternative to many popular treks like Amarnath Yatra, Hemkund Sahib and much more. There are very few travel blogs which talk about Chadar Trek. This post talks about what kind of clothing you should wear while doing Chadar trek in Ladakh.

Permits required while visiting Ladakh

For people who are visiting Ladakh for leisure trips or for other purposes, a Protected Area Permit is not mandatory. But if you are planning to travel to Chadar then you need to secure a permit before trekking.

Getting there & Accommodation options

The trek begins from Sankri, a village located nearly 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Kaza. You can take a flight to Shimla and then take a taxi or shared vehicle to Sankri. Alternatively, you can travel by train till Kalka station and then take a cab to Sankri. Also, you can hire your own private vehicles for better comfort and convenience.

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