Republic Day Celebrations at a Frozen Waterfall- Chadar trek
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”Saint Augustine
The above line surely sound clichéd to you.
Ever wondered why?
We’ll tell you why. We have, all our lives, just been thinking of that dream vacation, yep, the same one about which we say “One day, boss, one day”. We keep pushing that one day to some other time, and some more; and most of just fall blindly into the monotonous trap of life, to never see that one day, unfortunately!
Welcome to Treena’s Travelogue. And yes, she does not believe in the concept of one day.
The One who Forayed into the Chadar – Treena Topdar
There are yes-people, no-people and later-people. Meet Treena, who follows her heart when it comes to setting feet on the road to a destination, known or unknown. Treena, an artiste from Ahmedabad, is passionate about dancing, travelling and the mountains!
Well, having completed Chandrakhani Pass Trek, she knew Chadar had to be the next one. This was definitely not an easy decision, but a decision worth it. Well, we are not surprised that this woman is already planning The Everest Base Camp Trek, sometime next year. Clearly, the mountains have her soul.
Carefully Planning Chadar
The Familia she made during her solo venture into the Chadar Trek!
Despite being a yes-woman, Treena believes in spending time in carefully planning a trip which involves challenges that a normal human body might not be prepared for the great Chadar Trek is no child’s play – and is much more of a mental challenge rather than a physical one, we have come to known basis our experience and robust feedback Thrillophilia has in place.
For Treena, Chadar has been on mind since the time she knew the essence of Himalayan Trekking. She undertook a lot of research, and read quite a bit on the internet about executing a successful and stress-free Chadar Trek and Please click here for a complete guide to The Chadar Trek
After due preparation of her body and mind, she chose to book the Chadar Trek with Thrillophilia. After all, she states, “It was a dream for me to see all the heavenly beauty of Himalayas at Chadar”.
The New-Found Familia at the Frozen River Trail
The Gang and their Dance Moves, after reaching one of the campsites
One of the most beautiful things about travelling solo is that you land up making new friends. No, this is not coming out of Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani, or Into the Wild, or any other travel movie that you’re possibly thinking of. Solo travel souls tell us this, all the time. In this case, Treena is the one, who tells us about her new-found family on the frozen sheets of Chadar, thousands of miles away from her hometown.
She says, “They were very friendly. We were family since day 1. On the last day of the trek, we were really emotional about leaving Leh and going back to our residential cities.”
The Chilling Winds of Chadar – The Final Itinerary
The different shades of Chadar
It all began on the morning of 20th January, 2018 when Treena took that flight that she had been longing for since months; or perhaps years, subconsciously. The flight to Ladakh – the hidden gem India has possessed since ages countless, and shall continue to do so. An important aspect of one entering Ladakh is to acclimatize for a day at Leh, right after they have landed. Entering a region with low temperatures and low level of oxygen make it important for a foreign body to rest, so as to get used to the sudden change in altitude and temperature. Right after landing, Treena was escorted to her hotel room which really thrilled her to the core!
The Chadar Trek’s itinerary forays from Chilling, and all the way through Tilad Do, Shingra Koma, Gyalpo, Tibb Caves until Nerak. Let’s read below about her unconventional walk through the thick sheets of ice, which of course kept changing its face every single day.
Chilling through Chilling
The first thought about Chadar starts with the idea of covering a 100 km trail through frozen river in a straight 6 days row, leading to an average of 15 km a trek each day, and not to forget about freezing temperatures in minus degrees, low oxygen levels, low pressure and worst – falling into the inhumanely cold river, under the cracked ice. Treena expresses, “the experience of doing it was something different which can’t be shared in these few lines and and photographs…you have to be out there to know what Chadar is all about.”
Treena doing the famous penguin walk on Chadar – the frozen river of Zanskar
The journey began at Tilad Do via the drive through Chilling, but the real thrill came when these happy feet took their first step on the frozen river of Zanskar. Who and how could one possibly walk on water, right? The last time we saw someone do that was Morgan Freeman and Jim Carrey in the Hollywood flick Bruce Almighty. But here was this familia doing the unthinkable – walking on a frozen river.
Treena describes in excitement, “The first view of Chadar will leave you spellbound, even photographs will not be able to justify its beauty.” We are not surprised after seeing her joy on Chadar. The group went on to camp at Tilad Do, for the first night; and the second night at Gyalpo, followed by nights at Tibb, Nerak and in the reversal order back to Leh! The camping nights were a different experience, altogether, expresses Treena.
The familia eats together at one of the dining room tents
The Look at the Milky Way
“At night you can find a spectacular view of the Milky way. The sky remained full of stars, millions of stars. But then, in the mid way it actually tests your patience to its peak! Motivating yourself every morning to get up and do the same thing again and again, with all the challenges mentioned above was very depressing and the only thing you could see around yourself was the blue river, the white ice and the amber coloured mighty Himalayas…nothing else!!”
The Group warm themselves before calling it a night
The above words were expressed by Treena when we asked her about the time between them nestling in their warm double layered sleeping bags to the cruelly intriguing morning lights which would alarm them to start getting ready to move further toward Nerak Falls, the final stop for their Chadar itinerary before taking a U-turn into the sanity of civilization!
The Nights at Chadar were about resting your bones and muscles, and silently retreating toward the next morning – which brought about fresh hopes to cross the Valley of Blue River, white ice and amber skies!
Republic Day at Nerak Falls
On the 25th of January, 2018 is when the group reached its final destination, the Nerak Falls. The next morning marked the Republic Day celebrations at Nerak, when the group hoisted the National Flag at Nerak Falls. A feeling of joy, freedom, and warmth took over the group and what united them was patriotism.
Yes, the fears they had regarding crossing over the frozen river were dead. They had completed the Chadar trek!
The ecstatic bunch of trekkers hoist the Indian Flag on 26th January, 2018, at the Nerak Falls
How about celebrating the next Republic Day at Chadar?
Consider these pointers by Treena!
During our post-trek talks with Treena, we asked her about her most memorable moments from the trek. She mentioned about a particular cook who would happily ask them about their health, the food; and then would casually pass a comment about how the next day the Chadar would break, and there would be water up till shoulder levels! Of course, the cook had a few tricks apart from cooking, up his sleeve.
Treena was kind enough to pass on the following recommendations to anyone who’d be undertaking the Chadar Trek next year. Here they are!
- Know about the extreme temperatures and be mentally prepared, along with physically protecting yourself with multiple layered clothing.
- Take a medical certificate from a doctor before undergoing the Chadar Trek
- Network and data facilities at Jammu and Kashmir
- Sprain relief methods
- Battery storage in electronics like mobile and camera
- Availability of food of winters in Ladakh
- Fitness level and necessary exercises to prepare your body for Chadar Trek
- Lastly, a bit of the local Ladakhi language.