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Chadar Trek

For some years, adventure seekers all around the world have been talking about Chadar Trek in the Zanskar Region. Until this year, hundreds of people have experienced the thrill hidden and the mind blowing sights around Chadar frozen river. In fact, Chadar Trek is the most sought after and one of the breathtaking treks in the Himalayas. The winter trek is so special for those who are ready to have adventure at the maximum level. 

The river trek starts from Chilling where the river begins to freeze and mostly, travelers choose February as the best time to cross the frozen river as the ice sheets will be comparatively stable. The precarious snow-flakes would pose severe threats during the trek but in some other time, the challenges would be kind to the trekker. The surrounding of the river are completely vertical cliffs tall up to 600 meters. The Zanskar River is a tributary of the Indus and is 5 meters long. 

A trekker would have to cover 16 kms per day to complete the Chadar Trek. Usually, people opt for 10-15 days of trek depending on the climatic conditions persisting here. The temperature at Chadar will come to the lowest at -35 degree Celsius during winter and thus Chadar Trek becomes more intimidating. Approximate trekking distance one would have to cover in total is 75 kms.

Maximum altitude: 11123 feet is the height at which Chadar Trek would lead you to.

Location: To take part in Chadar Trek, one should arrive in Leh and from Leh, the journey starts and goes to Chilling, the beginning of the Zanskar River in the frozen state. From Leh it would take about 65-70 kms to reach Tilad via Chilling, the base camp of the trek.

Best time to visit: January end to February is the best time suitable for trekking in the frozen river of Chadar. Quality and safe trekking gears and highly warm clothes are required.

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Hemkund and the Valley of Flowers Trek

Just as the name suggests, the place is heaven on earth. It may be difficult to believe, but the Valley of Flowers seems too surreal to believe. The Valley of Flowers is in full bloom in the months from June to October and appears as a carpet of myriad colours.

The Valley of Flowers is the second core zone of the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve and has been now declared as a World Heritage Site. The entire landscape springs into full bloom right after the monsoon rains. The Valley of Flowers attracts a number of tourists, botanists, florists and trekkers all throughout the year.

The Valley of Flowers is open to the public only during the summers. It is an excellent place for trekking and can be reached on foot by trekking 17 km from the nearest town of Joshimath in Garhwal. You will have to trek about 14 km from Govindghat, which is situated near Rishikesh, to reach Ghangaria. Ghangaria is the last settlement on your way to the Valley of Flowers. You reach the gorge over the River Pushpavati where the valley starts. There are fixed timings for entry into the valley and camping is prohibited there. You will have to return to Ghangaria the same day.


The beautiful valley is situated at an elevation of 3650 m and is delightful to look at. The best time to visit the Valley of Flowers is mid-July to mid-August. The trek to the Valley of Flowers is very easy and can be undertaken by people who have limited or no experience of trekking.

The Valley of Flowers has a very pleasant climate during the day time with the temperatures hovering between 15 to 20 degrees. However, it gets pretty cold during the night time and you may want to dress in layers to protect yourself from the cold. The treks are always led by professional guide trekkers who have completed the basic and advance mountaineering course and are certified in first-aid.

Best Season: May - October
Difficulty Level: Medium
Max. Elevation: 4329 m
More Details: Guide to Valley of Flowers Trek
Discounted Offers on Tour to Valley of Flowers

Missing

Zanskar valley

The Zanskar Valley is the place to witness enchanting visuals of snow capped peaks and alpine lakes. Located in the Ladakh district, there are numerous places to see here. Visit the Zongkhul Monastery by undertaking the exciting Padum-Kishtwar trekking route.

Visit Zangla, which is an ancient castle that also houses a chapel and also feel amazed at the captivating beauty that you see from the Penzella Pass. Take a village tour through a human settlement in this divine land at Karsha. Get more breathtaking views from Panikhar and also visit the Panikhar Fort.

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What You Should Know More About Kargil

  • Travel Advice

    • It is true that Jammu and Kashmir tourism assures adequate safety measures and drills for the tourists but the truth is that the arrangement for rescue operation for a skier is only limited. It is thus suggested that you must ski around the earmarked area only.

    • In case of any injury or danger, ask for help.

    • When traveling in winters, know that the snow can be very thick. It is thus advisable to carry boots with you. In case you do not have boots, you can rent the rubber boots at any shop along the mountain slope at a price as meagre as INR 20.

    • You know that the situation in Kashmir is volatile because of the on going disputes between India and Pakistan so it is rather wise to avoid traveling during times of civil unrest.

    • You may see soldiers all around in Kargil so whenever you have a feeling that something is not right, reach out to them.

    • Monkeys are common on the streets of Kargil however they are not really friendly here. So, do not feed them or disturb them as they can get really aggressive.

    • Roads may be blocked during winters due to snow. It is thus recommended to travel via train or air.

    • Gather as much information as possible before visiting any new place.

    • Whenever you make a visit to any unfamiliar territory or a territory with potential danger, don’t do it alone. It is best to take help from established companies that have an authentic record.

    • Book your trip only with a professional and a competent organization and you can expect to be safe in 99% of potential risk situations.

  • Drinking Law

    Alcohol may not be freely available in Kargil but can be found in the hotel bars. The legal age for alcohol consumption is 21 years.


  • Our Recommendations: What you can’t afford to miss?

    Suru Valley

    Suru Valley is a beautiful low land lying at an elevation of 3000 meters in the foot hills of the majestic Himalayas. This valley envelope the catchment basin of the River Suru that comes off the Panzella glacier. Going further from the Kargil to the Panzella glacier, this valley is exceptionally fertile and is cultivated way more than any other region of Ladakh. The rough terrains of this canyon are depleted by multiple brooks that are basically descending from the Himalayan mountains. Lofty crusts of Nun and Kun mountains top the majestic landscape of this scenic region. During the spring season, the valley gets carpeted with the greenery and freshness of the apricot, mulberry and apple trees. Majority of the residents of this sprawling region are of the Tibeti Darad origin who basically underwent a conversion in 16th century from Buddhism to Islam. The quaint villages here comprise of the old houses that are encompassed by the green agricultural tracts. This definitely is the most beautiful sightseeing attraction of Kargil.   

    Sani Monastery

    Situated west of the Padum is the Sani Monastery. It lies on the road that leads you to Kargil region of Jammu and Kashmir. The Sani Monastery is a significant shrine of the Tibetan Buddhist’s Drukpa Kagyupa School and is an important place to see in Kargil. One significant feature of the Sani Monastery is that it has been constructed in distinct parts over the course of several centuries. The chorten inside the monastery was built in the 2nd century however the assembly hall was built in the early 17th century. Here, the architecture of the monastery represents a huge castle. There is also a 2nd century Kanika Stupa as well as a prayer hall lying within the premises. In the central hall of the monastery there are several statues of the revered Lamas and other Buddhist deities.

    Karste Valley

    Karste Valley is an indispensable part of the bowl-shaped Sankoo Valley. This sprawling mountains are traversed by the river Karste that originates from the Rangdum Pass glaciers and finally joins the Suru River. Encompassed with the lofty mountains that are embellished with the colorful flowers, this dale is a veiled paradise of the nature. Sprawling towards the eastern mountain mass, the valley is dotted with several secluded hamlets. Trekking is an interesting adventure activity here.

    Karste River

    Karste River is a mountain that flows down the undulating terrains of the Kargil region. This tributary of the River Kargil finally merges with the water course coming from the east. The river originates from the Rangdum Pass and forms the beautiful Karste Valley. It is the best tourist attraction in Kargil.   

    Lamayuru Monastery

    Also known as the Yuru Gompa, the Lamayuru Monastery is one of the oldest and the biggest shrines in Ladakh. Situated in the Kargil region on the National Highway that leads you to Leh, the Lamayuru Monastery is nestled on the top of a huge rock and assures a scenic view of the River Indus that gushes down to the valley. Established in the period spanning from 10th and 11th century, this shrine is located at the spot where there once existed a lake. It is an architectural marvel, the architecture of which is pretty similar to the other Tibetan Buddhism shrines.   

    Drass War Memorial

    Drass War Memorial commemorates the historic success of the Operation Vijay during the course of the Indo-Pak war of 1999. It is a small monument that is dedicated to all the martyrs who lost their lives while protecting the country against trespassers. The war memorial lies in the Drass village of Kargil district and was built after the Indian Army won over the Pakistani troops and gained the requisite control of the region. The victory over the region was announced on 26th July 1999 that is celebrated every year as the Vijay Diwas. The names of the officers and the soldiers who sacrificed their lives here is imprinted on the walls of this memorial. Visiting this memorial ground is an important thing to do here.

    Mulbekh Monastery

    Mulbekh Monastery is a cherished shrine that comprises of two ancient monasteries -  Gelugpa and Drukpa. Nestled in the Zanskar region, this gompa lies at a 200 meter high hillock which assures a scenic view of the surrounding region.

    Shargole Monastery

    Shargole Monastery is a small gompa that lies near the Kargil. Perched in the centre of the granite cliff, this monastery follows the lineage of the Gelug which is Tibetan Buddhism’s Yellow Hat sect.


  • What you will like there?

    Shopping

    Shopping in Kargil region is just as exciting and thrilling as visiting the ancient Gompas as well as the spinning of the prayer wheels to get some good luck. In the marketplaces here, you’ll find the shops that very well narrate the stories of archaic glory. You can see the vendors here selling tobacco pouches, brass kettles, traveling hukkas, amongst the other things. So, what more can you shop here? You can get an array of locally made handicrafts and carpets that are meant for daily use. Pashmina shawls and the semi precious gem stones are another must have item when in Kargil region of Kashmir. Other things that have become synonymous to the Kargil region include the apricot jam and dried apricots which please the tourists with its fascinating taste. Besides all this, you can also find cloth printed with religious themes here. They are sold at every second shop here. So, whenever you are in the Kargil region, go ahead and shop for the alluring souvenirs, just as much as you like

    Adventure Activities

    Kargil is centrally located. Its location allows the tourists to undertake several one day excursion trips to the nearby regions. Several treks originate both in and around this region. Some of the treks that you can undertake include the Lamayuru Leh trek, NunKun trek trail, Padum Lamayuru trail, Sankaru Dras trail. Given the weather conditions here, trekking can be a challenging experience. The best trek routes include the mountain lakes as well as the areas of Zanskar and Ladhak. Another water sport that you can enjoy in Kargil is rafting. The common rafting routes here include the Zanskar and river Indus. Other multi polar tributaries also assure a good rafting experience. It is labeled as the most adventurous and thrilling activity here.

    Locals

    The locals here are very warm and friendly. They’ll greet you with respect and help you in any manner possible. You must try and be as friendly with the locals as possible

    Climate

    If you wish to beat the heat of the lower plains, you must plan a visit to Kargil region right away. However, since the weather is chilly you must carry significant amount of woolen clothes here. Don’t forget rugged boots to travel with ease.


  • Recommended reads for destination (govt. websites, travel forum articles)?

Traveller Tales from Kargil

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Dinakar Malik

16 November 2017

Our Chadar Trek adventure was one of the best and most memorable treks for all of us. I along with my friend went for this incredible trekking adventure in January 2017. Very well arrangements have been made for us by the team. I have heard about the beauty of trekking in Zanskar River but when I was actually there it was a lot more amazing. You will fall in love with the views and the whole surroundings. We took our flight from Delhi to Leh from where our tour would start, we were joined by another group of trekkers at Leh. I love to keep a track of each day in my diary and today I will share this with you as well. Day 1: We reach Leh on our first day, such a beautiful place, the airport was very well maintained and that too high up in the mountains. It was a very pleasant day and the cool mountain air was keeping us more active. We visited the markets and the nearby places on our first day and also bought few items for the trek and some energy bars too. Day 2: On our second day, we started with a thrilling ride to Tilad Do via Chilling. Passing through the steep hairpins was a bit scary but we had a wonderful driver Gorakh with us. The day was a bit colder and we started climbing to Shanti Stupa, the sunrise was just breathtaking. It was our first-day trekking in the Zanskar. At first, I was scared a bit to walk on the ice but as we continued I was able to walk properly. We reached our campsite by late evening and the sleeping bags were quite a saviour through the night. Day 3: On our third day, we trekked from Tilad Do to Shingra Koma. After a short brief about the whole trek and how to walk on the ice by our trek leader, we started our trek. We had to cover around 10 km today. Be careful while you walk on the ice as it can be very slippery at times, I faced this problem while walking and had to take small steps when I walk. When we reached halfway our cook cum porter prepared some maggi and soupy noodles for our lunch. I just loved to have something warm at the top of the mountain. We passed Shingra koma, and reached our campsite at Gyalpo. The campsite was very beautiful and we could see the mountains on all sides. After our dinner, we enjoyed a sound sleep. Day 4: On our fourth day, we started our morning with a warm cup of tea and delicious breakfast and then went for a quick march. Today was a big day for us as we had to cover around 15 km, we started trekking through the deep ravines of Zanskar, and the day was a bit colder as there was no sunlight at all. We passed through many caves and saw few frozen waterfalls. We reached Tibb cave where we will be camping for the night. We had a wonderful dinner with some roti and a sabji. Day 5: We started our day with a morning breakfast and some tea. Today we had to trek from Tibb cave to Naerak camp. As we started trekking we came across many Junipers and prayer flags tied on a twig. It was such a beautiful sight. We also came across a huge waterfall on our way to the camp. We had to walk slow as few of the paths were bit slippery. We could also see the Narek village and the distance light flickering in the small huts. We set up our tents near the river, it was biting cold and so we made a small bonfire. Our trek leader Mohan was really helpful enough and he told us about the place and our next route. Day 6: Today our trek was from Naerak to Tibb Cave which was basically our return journey. I would advise you to wear thermals to keep off the biting cold, the day was very cold when we started. We saw the local people wearing their traditional woollen Gonchas and few monks taking making their way to the Lingshed Monastery to Leh. It was such a wonderful view to see people how these people have adjusted to the biting cold here. We reached Tibb cave by late evening and then set up our camps for the night. Day 7: Today our trek was from Tibb Cave to Shingra Koma. We came across many pug marks of a fox. We reached our campsite and there we were cooked a delicious warm dinner by our cook. He made us rice, sabji and dal. Day 8: We were almost coming to an end of our trek. Today we had to trek from Shingra Koma to Tilad Do and drive to Leh. We reached Tilad Do, from where we had to bid farewell to our team. Thanks to Mohan ji and Gorakh for making our trek such an awesome one. We checked into our guesthouse Dorje Guest House for the night and spend the night there. Day 9: Today was our last day at Leh, we enjoyed a delicious morning breakfast and was ready for our return journey. We took our flight back home. We had the best time doing this incredible trek, a must do trek for all the adventure seekers, you will just love everything about this trek. Just remember to wear thermals and wear gumboots during the trek. You can buy them at Leh on your first day itself. And click a lot of pictures to cherish these memories. Huge thanks to team Thrillophilia. Keep rocking guys.

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Gopaal Asan

16 November 2017

Being fromSouth India, I always had the desire to explore the mountains and I did few treks like Valley of Flowers and Stok Kangri. This time one of my friends asked me for Chadar trek. I was hesitant at first but he forced that we should do this time. The package was really great and the price was very decent including the number of days. We did this trek on February this year and it was the best adventure we had so far. We had a very great organizer and they have done quite good arrangements for us. We both went and bought Gumboots and some thermals for the trek from the local markets here. We started our trek on our second day and took a drive from Tilad Do via Chilling. We had some great view during our drive. Trekking was through remote villages, valleys, snow-covered fields, large white meadows and frozen rivers were just awesome. From Tilad we continued our trek to Shingra Koma, on our third day, our trek leader Subham was very brief about our day and also told was to keep ourselves warm as the temperature seems to drop. It was a beautiful day; today we were able to walk properly on the ice. Our fourth and fifth day was the best. We could see frozen waterfalls, hot springs, large rock faces which was just fantastic. Camping on the Tibb cave was totally a different experience for all of us. It was a wonderful trekking experience for me. During this trek there are few things I would like to mentions. Few do’s and don’ts that we all need to remember. Do’s While you are heading out for your Chadar trek always make sure that you take warm clothes with you and wear thermals inside your woollen wear, the night can be very cold. Always wear Gumboots and waterproof shoes. These boots will help you to have a firm grip on the snow and walk without much difficulty. Although you will have medical emergencies it is advisable to carry your own medical kit and medicines. There will be very less drinking water during your trek so carry water bottles with you and also fill your bottles where ever there is a stop. Also, carry energy bars with you. Trekking in the thin sheet of ice may be difficult so always listen to your trek leaders and follow the guidelines. Don’ts: Always be careful that you don’t pollute the place by littering. This trek is known as the most beautiful trek and so it is advisable that you keep the grounds clean. Do not use shampoos or soaps and contaminate the waterfalls. The local tribe use this water for drinking. Do not point any fingers at the monasteries or the local people, they might find that offensive. Also, don’t click pictures of the monks.

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Satish Achari

16 February 2014

Frozen River Chadar Trek was good. I was initially wondering how good this trek is gonna be, but it was nevertheless nice. It’s not every other day we happen to witness the beauty of the nature to its fullest form. Chadar Trek is one such trek where we get to see the beauty and magic of the nature to its fullest. This is a frozen ice trek within India. India is truly incredible. Whoever says that we have no winter should see this place. It’s gigantic and spellbinding beauty. I felt like I am walking inside a fairy tale. This place was that great. I totally loved it.

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Dayaananda Achari

05 January 2015

Even today when I think about my journey to the completion of Chadar trek, I literally get goosebumps. Walking steadily over the frozen Zanskar River was the best ever I did do far. At times, had to climb the nearby rocks and find the way forward. The drops in the temperature were also the challenging part. But at the end, with the help of the experienced guides and trek leaders, I completed this Chadar River trek and got a million of super enthralling memories with me. Great experience of Ladakh Chadar trek!

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Balagopal Ahuja

18 August 2015

You just don't get such amazing treks everyday! Really man, the Chadar trek is the ultimate for a trekker. I and our entire groups was totally enthralled on the Chadar trekking experience. All the 9 days had something new for us. The walks on the snow blanket was no less than a dream come true. Honestly speaking, this Zanskar region is the paradise for the trekkers. Loved the trek; awesome experience of life.

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Jitender Sethi

17 October 2015

Chadar trek is one trek that I think all trekkers should embark on as the entire experience is simply breathtaking and equally beautiful. I successful completed this trek last year and I’m still not over the trek.

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Chandraketu Bandopadhyay

19 March 2014

I rarely write any review but my experience was so wonderful that I really want everyone to know that how beautiful was to trek on the frozen river. I literally wanted time to stop right there. Those beautiful mountains and white snow everywhere. Super chilling wind and that thrill, it can't be described in words. Juts go there and you will realize that your decision was absolutely correct. And a big thanks goes to Thrillophilia for making me the witness of that Magic by Nature.

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Balamani Iyengar

02 March 2015

It was all white, snow all around and we were walking on a Frozen River which is on its own an amazing experience. Different destinations one by one and each destination decorated with nature’s ornaments. The Karsh Monastery one of the oldest Monastery and we happened to reach there on the day of festival and was mesmerized by the colorful mask dance and other rituals. This trip is just like being in heaven. Thanks a lot Thrillophilia.

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Niranjan Pothuvaal

22 November 2017

ok, i was waiting to head back and write this review. being a solo female traveller and chadar being my first trek (Yes you heard it right! ) i believe this will be useful for a lot of folks out there: Before writing about my experience, let me give you a glimpse of preparation you MUST DO, so that your excitement of Chadar will not turn disappointment. Physical fitness is very important. even though it is not hiking and just walking, we had to walk atleast 6 hours a day, that too on ice which makes it even more challenging. should be prepared well in advance and make sure you start building your stamina. Being from down south, i was never I was never exposed to extreme cold. One need to be prepared to take up that climatic condition. Change in your environment actually hits your health.. your body should adapt to thin air.. so be prepared with right clothing..clothing should be in layers as nights can go upto -35.. it is Body and hand warmers, thermal inners, gum boots, fleece jacket,Insulating Gloves, rain poncho, sunglass, good pairs of socks and buff/woollen cap.so the whole point is the right clothing is extremely important. you can search for more essentials on internet which will be helpful..Personal medical kit is mandatory. Please carry Thermal water bottles,Dispirit,cotton buds, a crepe bandage, wet tissues, Volini spray and hand sanitiser which is a must. To get a good grip on Ice, it is good to carry a trekking pole.. please Carry energy bars and dry fruits even though you will get nice hot food.. to carry all this a nice backpack too :P Even though this is not summing the MUST DO’s of Chadar let me lapse into DONT'S ... i would like to give a shout out to the trek leader, Sumod here.. he took up the entire ownership and was responsible enough t ask all the fellow trekkers not to litter the pristine trail. If you want to Chadar even after few years down the line, please do not litter. do not even think of exposing your hands/legs to cold directly for a long period. I did and suffered.. Frostbite sucks! Do not get panic if you get breathing problems.. give time for your body to acclimatise.Do not worry as the operators from Thrillophilia took care of such emergency situations really well.. Be good to the guides, they do a fantastic job to make sure the journey is as smooth as possible. I do not wanna mention the instance happened in my trip which made me write this.. but yeah its good to be nice to those people. Now me being crazy about this frozen trek and booking through Thrillophilia was the only RIGHT step i took.. I was not prepared even though Tarun from Thrillophilia used to remind me on all the preparations i need to take being a solo traveller.. I was casual about lot of things.. but trust me when I experienced Chadar N i understood how good is to get guidance from experts and its good for us to follow them.. If someone ask me how hard is chadar, its difficult to answer.. but to me the RIGHT THINGS to make Chadar experience good is the right preparations, right operator and a right platform.. Thanks to all..

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