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Packages » Ladakh Packages » Package L018

THE FROZEN ZANSKAR RIVER TREK

Package Code: l018

Duration: 17 DAYS / 16 NIGHTS (APPROXIMATELY 10 DAYS OF TREKKING)

BEST TIME: JANUARY AND FEBRUARY

ACCOMMODATION: 02 NIGHTS AT HOTEL, 14 NIGHTS IN TENTS / village house
Minimum People Required: TWO
Level of Endurance: STRENUOUS moderate



INTRODUCTION

A Nomadier’s ultimate craving. Trekking on a frozen river with temperatures plummeting to -30° C to reach a lost kingdom accessible for just a few weeks every year! And no, this is not a movie. This is for real. Walking on the frozen Zanskar River, a trek traditionally called “Chadar Trek", is an experience, we promise, that will change your perspective on life.

 

The word "Chadar" means "white sheet or blanket" and is drawn from the appearance of the frozen Zanskar. Daily trekking over 14 - 15 days, with 3850 mts. / 12,628 ft. being the highest altitude reached, can be unforgettable with clear blue skies contrasting the white river. Your bodies may shudder when the temperature reaches its coldest but spellbound by the beauty of nature all around, you’ll forget the discomforts of cold and instead just immerse yourself in the aura. This route which is part of the Indus watershed has been used for centuries by the people of Zanskar, to go back and forth to the outside world when the high passes are locked into severe winter silence. Many parts of this region cannot be accessed during the summer months as one has to first pass through spectacular deep canyons and gorges, something made possible only when the river freezes.

 

On an average, you would trek between 5-7 hours everyday at an easy pace but a reasonable degree of physical fitness is necessary as you need to sustain this schedule and overcome the cold. The trek commences from the village of Chilling located not far from the confluence of the Indus River and the Zanskar River and soon follows the river gorge through a photographer’s paradise.


Itinerary:

Day 01: Arrival LehLeh
The flight to Leh, the capital city of Ladakh, takes you over the Greater Himalaya and makes an exciting landing at one of the highest airports in the world. One can hope to get excellent views of Stok Kangri as one flies-in and on a clear day the great peaks of the Karakoram are visible to the north. You would be met at the airport by a Nomadier representative and taken to your hotel. The remainder of the day is for you to rest. Leh is at an altitude of nearly 11,000 ft., and you can expect to feel the effects of the rarefied atmosphere. For the first few hours, you may experience a little breathlessness and perhaps a slight headache. These symptoms of altitude sickness are mild and usually disappear quite quickly; however, everyone is advised to take it easy for the first day at least. Press-ups and hill sprints are definitely taboo! Overnight stay at a hotel in Leh.

 

Day 02: Drive from Leh to Sumdah Do and trek to Chilling
To begin with, the road follows the Indus River for an hour to its confluence with the Zanskar River before reaching the village of Sumdah-Do. From here, you’ll trek for roughly an hour on and off the frozen river to the village of Chilling for an overnight stay in a camp.

 

Day 03: Chilling to Dakmar Bawo
Starting today, for 4 days you’ll trek up the frozen river while making overnight stays in camps made in caves or Bawo. Some of these caves are large enough to accommodate over 40 people and spending a night in them is an experience in itself. There are a number of choices for campsites and therefore the itinerary during this time can be as flexible as one likes or is capable of sustaining. The first leg will take you from Chilling to Dakmar Bawo for an overnight stay in a camp.

 

Day 04: Dakmar Bawo to Tib Bawo

 

Day 05: Tib Bawo to Nayrekste Bawo

 

Day 06: Nayrekste Bawo to Wamay Bawo

 

Day 07: Wamay Bawo to the village of Zangla
At Zangla, you are well and truly in the lost Kingdom of Zanskar. It is also possible that in the previous evening, you find accommodation in one of the other village close to the river like the villages of Hanamur and Pidmu. Overnight stay in a village house.

 

Day 08: Zangla to Tongdey

Shortly after leaving Zangla, you’ll see the largest of the strange bridges made from interwoven twigs that are a common sight in Zanskar. The gorge is now left behind and you’ll enter a large plain leading to Padum. There is also a large and active monastery above Tongdey, which you’ll be visiting. Overnight stay in a village house.

 

Day 09: Tongdey to Padum
Though there is a tourist bungalow complex at Padum, it is likely to be shut down in the winters in which case you’ll have an overnight stay in a village house in Padum.

 

Day 10: Rest Day in Padum
Today is a day of rest for you to recuperate from the strains of the previous nine days. This rest will also allow you a whole day to absorb the surrounding aura of mystic and consolidate your memory of an unbelievable journey so far.

 

Day 11-16: Return Trek
Starting today, you make the return trek back to Chilling and then move back to Leh for an overnight stay in a hotel. The return trek is quicker and easier to make although one does feel a sense of disappointment in leaving the lost kingdom behind.

 

Day 17: Departure to Airport
Nomadier provides assistance in your transfer to the Airport and wishes you goodbye.