Trekking & Skidding Infinite Times: Here’s How You Do It Like Anirban On The Chadar!
There are only a few who dare to do the heroic and live to test their mettle. The Chadar Trek is one such trek that’s a pure challenge to a person’s body and mind. There are treks which push you to your extreme limits, and this is one of them. It exposes you to extreme Arctic weather which is unique and beautiful in its own kind.
Meet Anirban Mahajan who chose the arduous and thrilling trek of Chadar, only to train his mind and body for other mountain treks, may we add the epic Everest Base Camp Trek, which is on his bucket list. Where travelers chose the Chadar Trek to experience the unreal, Anirban took it to only gain the acclimatization experience and gear himself up for future treks.
He took the Chadar Trek with a group of 9 unique people and each one he believes cannot be described simply! He has chosen to caption-ize his crazy fellow trekkers in a beautiful and loving way, which is a reminder indeed of the lovely memories he made with them on the frozen Zanskar!
Anshul Saxena is the Guy Ahead Of Gang – the Margdharshak, Devanshi Saxena the Protective sister – She-Hulk, Abhinay Gupta the Mafia Master Mind and Indiver Rathore the Wall of the Gang.
It doesn’t end here; Prashant Maurice is the Kung Fu Panda with the Wings, Debayan The Silent Buddy with the Hidden Mind, Sunil Kumar The Entertainer and Paromita Raha The Killer With The Innocent Look.
Anirban chooses to call himself The Medic!
Welcome to the travelogue of Anirban Mahajan, who is fondly reminiscing the serenity and the challenges of the Chadar already.
An Independent Traveler
“I am no bird and no net ensnares me. I am a free human being with an independent will.” Charlotte Brontë
The quotation speaks for the man himself; Anirban loves to travel and makes his travel plans at a lightning speed. He shares “I make my plan one or two days before, sometimes in a half day, just before the trek. I am crazy to go anywhere and everywhere. I make friends on the way and never think of future to come. I just gooooo…..
Once I just packed my bags in the morning and left for the trek by afternoon!”
We meant it when we said, lightning speed.
The Heavenly Journey Begins
The journey began with a flight from Delhi to the city of Leh on January 26, 2018. In the best of his spirits to take on the exciting trip, Anirban excitedly shares-
“Within no time I was flying over the Himalayan Ranges and the moment was above the heaven in my life. Yes…! It is said Hell and Heaven exist in this world, so I can say I have seen Heaven!”
Leh welcomed the group with a freezing temperature of 1-2°C and the drastic climate change was enough to give them all the required kick for their journey ahead. Acclimatization soon took over and for our traveler Anirban, “the dream was realized with movie scenes running back in his mind!”
He with his group of travelers’ braved landslides, traversed valleys with spectacular panoramic views, got lulled by the gushing waters of a flowing river and felt the mountains speak. Adding to the sheer amazement, people were taking dips in the water! How do you define adventure and serenity at their best?
Sterling Nights & Unique Experiences
Anirban recalls the sterling starry nights on the Chadar Trek and the delicious food served in the remote regions, truly a blessing. Sleeping in the tents under a blanket of stars and being kissed by cold chilly winds, frozen surroundings and the abundance of Mother Nature, the vibe of Chadar was taking over, was taking over!
Under the clear skies, it was not only trekking and nature that Anirban enjoyed but quite some delicious meals too. From Kellogg’s to eggs to momos, pasta, and bread, the Chadar sumptuously satiated our traveler’s hunger pangs as well.
The D Day: Chadar! CONQUERED!
Good Things Don’t Come Easy
And with that, came the news of the Chadar being broken ahead. Little did we move further, we reached the foothills of a mountain and saw the broken Chadar. Our group was left with the only option to climb and cross 100ft. high hill to reach the Frozen Water Falls, the Nerak Falls!
And we’ll let Anirban do the talking to describe the indescribable beauty of the Chadar-
“Once we reached the highest point, we had seen the untouched, serene, mesmerised view of true Ladakh!
I conquered everything in life. I screamed at the maximum volume I could.
Then we finally reached the frozen waterfall after crossing the hill. It was heaven on the earth where I could see a village secluded from this unfair world. The waterfall frozen into ice was a surprise for me in my life. I couldn’t believe how beautifully flowing water can freeze into such a solid, strong piece of nature.”
Little Things That Bring Smiles. And, Tears Sometimes!
From playing Dumb Charades under the moonlit sky to playing football with pieces of ice, singing local Pahadi songs to skidding innumerable times on the frozen Chadar, Life was here, it truly was in the Chadar regions!
Not to forget the unending anticipations for seeing the Full Moon on a Full Moon Day, January 31, 2018, but all in vain.
As the trek was nearing its end, only gloominess took over, undoubtedly. Anirban’s trek guide gave a special speech as he likes to put it, which only brought tears in the eyes of the bunch of travelers.
The Holy-Cow’ld Dip In The Zanskar River!
Only in his own words, Anirban Mahajan for you-
“Coming to do the Chadar Trek and not taking a dip in Zanskar? Not fair!
The trek is incomplete if you don’t take a dip in the freezing flowing water of the Zanskar. At first, I was not sure to take the dip because it might hit you with hypothermia. But, my teammates started taking dip one by one. By the time I got the courage to take the dip, almost everyone in my group had taken the dip.
Finally, I was ready to take the dip, standing on the edge of the frozen ice. One, two and three, and there I was in the bone-chilling water. Within 2 seconds my body temperature had gone down and my body parts had become numb.
With a lot of struggle and courage, I managed to come to the banks due to the high flow of water. It was a very courageous decision to jump in the main river in that temperature. I couldn’t forget those 2 seconds in my life. I, finally, jumped out of the water and started doing push-ups to regain the heat in my body.”
Quite literally, push-ups on the frozen Zanskar!
Back To Square One
The return journey was a beautiful mix of sightseeing in the city for Sanchi Stupa, Leh Palace and streets. The Magnetic Hill, the Hall of Fame and the Thikse Monastery were a couple of places where Anirban went with the fellow travelers.
They all were soaking in the warm sunrays and lazing around. Photo sessions were not forgotten and they indulged in clicking pictures for a lifetime together.
Hall of Fame & A Flood Of Emotions
Visiting the Hall of Fame was quite an experience for Anirban and he shares on a rather emotional note-
“This is the place where we understand the sacrifices done by our country men, our brothers, our friends. The place was a museum for our countrymen martyred while saving our motherland. We can never understand the sacrifices done by them. We need not to salute them by compulsion, but we salute them with respect from our inner heart!”
Souvenirs & Last Conversations: Time Ticked Too Quickly!
We had only shopped for souvenirs for our loved ones back home and were chatting the night away, and little did we know, it was time to bid goodbye! To the wonderful fellow travelers and to the paradisiacal lands of Leh, Ladakh, and Zanskar!
The end had come to say goodbye to the beautiful place and amazing people of Ladakh.
Security Check Done. Boarding Done.
Hello Urban Life!
We know you’re lured to skid on the Zanskar! Remember these-
Thrillophilia provides you the information, says Anirban. Be prepared and you won’t need anything extra. My recommendations for enthusiastic travelers-
- Temperature to -30° C. Knowing the harsh temperature and experiencing it is a different thing altogether.
- Network: Pre-paid mobile numbers don’t work in Leh and Ladakh.
- People: People over there are utmost humble and welcoming.
- Find your locations by striking conversations with locals and by trusting people because your network won’t work to get Google Maps.
- Walking gears: To walk on the ice we need special boots (Gum Boots). I wasn’t aware of the fact and went with trekking boots. But Leh market sells every necessary thing.
Well, Anirban is off to strike things off his bucket-list, para jumping, scuba diving, mountaineering to Stok Kangri and the Everest Base Camp, he only asked us to tell you,
You’ll skid and fall on the frozen Zanskar. Laugh and get back on your feet! That’s the beauty of it.