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Chadar Trek in India

This beautiful trek, known as Chadar, is one of the wildest and most dangerous in India along the frozen river and waterfalls

Best time: January–February

Chadar Trek
Chadar Trek

While in summer the region of Ladakh is hospitable, green and lush, in winter it is almost totally cut off from the rest of the world. The mountain passes are usually closed by the snow and one of a few walkable ways to Zanskar Valley is the frozen river Zanskar that is often called 'Chadar' which means 'blanket'.

Locals wanting to get from Leh to Zanskar in winter have to walk on the river. This fast and powerful river that is confined in a steep canyon under a sheet of ice. It is also known as Chadar trek among trekkers from all over the world. It is one of the most challenging treks with a full length of around 100 kilometres.

There's a chance that the trek will loose its ambience because of the road that is being built between Leh and Zanskar so if you're keen to complete this challenge you should hurry up. And don't forget that a qualified guide is a must on Chadar since the trek is extreme and can be dangerous.

Practical info

When would be the most appropriate time to experience the Chadar trek?

The best window to embark on the Chadar trek would be during January and February. These months offer the most spectacular views of the frozen river, with temperatures falling to an average of -20 degrees Celsius. Proper gear is crucial to withstand the harsh weather conditions. It's necessary to plan the adventure well, considering essential factors such as preparation for emergencies. Show more

What is the location of the Chadar Trek?

The coveted Chadar Trek is conducted in Northern India's Ladakh region, along the steep Zanskar river. The frozen river path typically spans 100 kilometres, showcasing breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, frozen waterfalls, blue sky, and wildlife such as snow leopards, ibex, foxes, and golden eagles. Show more

What is the total distance of the Chadar Trek?

The distance covered by trekkers taking on the Chadar Trek averages around 100 kilometres. The snow-covered path is challenging and requires five to nine days to cover, depending on the itinerary. The journey takes travelers from Chilling to Naerak and back, camping on rocky ground and braving the harsh terrain. Show more

What is the meaning and significance of 'Chadar'?

In the local language, 'Chadar' translates to 'blanket.' The term represents the thick sheet of ice formed over the river in winters when temperatures drop below zero degrees Celsius. The sturdy layer of ice is strong enough to allow locals to walk across the frozen river, making it an essential part of their daily life. Observing the locals' lives while traversing the Chadar Trek presents an excellent opportunity for trekkers to connect with the community. Show more

Why is it essential to have a qualified guide while partaking in the Chadar Trek?

It is imperative to engage the services of a local guide while embarking on the Chadar Trek. The journey is arduous, with unpredictable weather conditions and challenging terrain. The remote location also makes emergency situations challenging to tackle. An experienced guide has the requisite knowledge of the route, terrain, and culture and is equipped to manage crises effectively. Trekkers who trust their guide and follow their instructions would ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Show more

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Last updated:
Authors: Olha Savych