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Chadar Frozen River Trek: A Trek Filled With Wonders


Chadar Frozen River Trek is by far one of the most intriguing adventures in India. Who could have imagined that humans would evolve so much that someday we would literally walk on water? Well, at least on the frozen river while the water is still flowing beneath the frozen ice. Chadar Frozen River Trek is the gateway to an extreme and unconventional adventure in Ladakh.

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness the beautiful Zanskar Valley in such a unique way simply makes you feel extraordinary. Chadar Trek is truly a wonder of nature and for good reasons. Wondering what makes the Chadar trek so magical? Here’s what:

Ofcourse the frozen Zanskar river

Zanskar River is located in the Ladakh region, home to a vast array of natural wonders but one of the most magnificent beauties of Ladakh is the Zanskar River and it is most appealing when it is in its frozen form. The Chadar trek starts from Chilling to Shingra Koma. During the harsh winter months, the Chadar trek offers connectivity between the remote villages in the Zanskar Valley.

Although a fairly challenging trek, the beauty of the Zanskar Valley is breathtakingly beautiful and Chadar adds a lot of charm to it. Walking on the Zanskar River is truly a surreal experience.

frozen river trek

Nature stands still, frozen in time

It’s not just the thrill of walking on frozen water, the Chadar trek offers many other surprises. There are not one but many frozen waterfalls along the trek that will leave you awestruck by their beauty. Every now and then you will come across these frozen beauties, looming over you, as if standing still in time. You may even get a feeling of being in the Ice Age itself! Stumbling upon these wonders, you will feel as if you have journeyed into a different world altogether.

frozen waterfall

Peace in freezing cold

You can only imagine the magnitude of the cold that keeps everything still in time. The temperatures are remarkably extreme ranging from -10 in the daytime to -30 degrees at night. Nerak will be the coldest place where you will spend the night. You will quench for warmth, but any degree of warmth will not suffice. Try wearing layers, covering up, you will always be cold. Nights will be the worst. Despite all this, the mystical aura and the surreality of Chadar Trek will make up for all the cold your body bears.

Chadar Trek

Discovering the unseen

However cold it may be, the night sky in Chadar is breathtakingly beautiful. In the backdrop of the starlit night sky, the mountains seen from Chadar are stupendous. Nowhere on Earth will one find such a spectacle. While most of Ladakh is filled with barren lands, it is only in the Chadar trek, you will get to witness the authenticity, serenity of the arid mountains. Brown, barren mountains under the shining blue sky and its reflection on the thin ice of Chadar. You have discovered the unseen!

Chadar Frozen River Trek

Into the unknown

Mountains are unpredictable, we know that but what if the trek route itself disappears? How surprising is that? Right, sometimes the Chadar breaks and your only path to walk on the river vanishes. If this happens, you have to walk over the rocks and sometimes even cross the cold river. That is why we say nature is unpredictable. Even if Chadar does not break, the ice structures keep moving and the beauty of Chadar is that the trail of Chadar is never the same. While it’s inconvenient at times, it is what adds to the thrill. You are not only walking into the wild, but you are also walking into the unknown.

walking on frozen river

Into the uncomfortable

Walking on ice is no cakewalk and you cannot even stand straight if the ice is too slippery, even with gumboots on. It takes time and adaptation to master walking on ice and while it’s uncomfortable, it is one of the most rewarding experiences.

Everything freezes, your water, contact lenses, food, tents, socks become hard. The cold slows down your every movement. Sometimes when Chadar breaks, you will be asked to walk through the river, which is spine-chillingly cold!

Well, the Chadar Frozen River trek is not only walking into the unknown but also actually walking into the uncomfortable. But that is the whole point of going on an adventure like Chadar if it doesn’t test us, teaches us to fight our weaknesses, and to discover the comfort in the discomfort?

With the primal thrill of walking through the frozen river and sleeping in ice caves in extremely harsh weather conditions, you will get the experience of a lifetime.