The Frozen River Trek
Walking on the frozen river of Zanskar is an ultimate experience for adventure lovers. Thetraditional name of the trek is “Chadar trek” the frozen sheet, which was the only way inand out for the people of Zanskar in winter when all other ways are closed due to heavy snow fall athigh passes. Therefore, it had been a trade route for centuries for Zanskari People. Nowthe route is also famous as a winter trekking route among adventure lovers. For the last severalyears, we have been organizing this winter trek in three different options with trainedlocalZanskari potters and our well-experienced guide and staff.Themost isolated and made inaccessible for nearly eight months a year due to heavysnowfall resulting in closure of all the access passes, Zanskar has the distinction ofbeing the least interfered withmicrocosms of Ladakh, andthus one of the last fewsurviving cultural satellites ofTibet. This geographicalisolation together with theesoteric nature of Buddhismpracticed here has enabled itssome ten thousandinhabitants to preserve andperpetuate their culturalidentity. This Chadartrekallows you to penetrate thisisolation and to examinesome of the villages along theZanskar River in the midst ofwinter and thus catch aglimpse of the lifecycle duringthis unique time of the year. A visit to the ancient monastic establishments of KarshaandZangla promises to heighten your insight into the mysteries of this Shangri-la, aland and culture frozen in time behind the ramparts of the Zanskarmountains. ChillingandLingshed are the only sizeable villages on this trek until Hanamur and PidmobeforePishu and Zangla in Zanskar, all the rest are names of places and caves along the route.
Although this intense trek does not include extreme changes in height (we walk on a river), the altitude is considerable (between 3700m and 4300m), and requires full dedication: the ice of the river can force us to use some difficult passages, where sometimes it will be necessary to use ropes.
This travel doesn’t require any special technical knowledge. However, it requires the traveler to completely let-go and have total confidence in our ability to deal with any situation. But after all, what do you expect? A once in a lifetime opportunity like this does not come easy.
|Title||The Frozen River Trek – Chadar Trek|
|Duration||22 Nights / 23 Days|
|Details||Delhi – Leh – Thiksey – Chemrey – Hemis – Chilling – Zaribago – Deepyokma – Nyerakpulu – Lingshed – Deep Kongma – Warsanglo – Pishu – Karsha – Zangla – Sarakdo – NyerakPulu – TsomoPaldar – Tilatdo – Chilling – Leh – Delhi|
Upon arrival you will be met by our representative and transferred to the hotel. In the afternoon, drive to visit Humayun’s Tomb built in the Indo Persian style and a predecessor to The Taj Mahal in Agra; India Gate – A War Memorial Arch. Also drive past the President’s House called Rashtrapati Bhavan,Parliament House, Government Secretariat buildings and Connaught Place – the heart of New Delhi and a busy shopping center. Overnight stay at your hotel.
After an early breakfast you are transferred to the domestic airport for your flight to Ladakh. This must be one of the most sensational flights in the world. On a clear day from one side of the aircraft can be seen in the distance the peaks of K2, Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum and on the other side of the aircraft, so close that you feel you could reach out and touch it, is the Nun Kun massif.From the other side of the aircraft you can see the high altitude lakes of Tso Moriri and Tso Kar.
Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel. You would take a little time to settle in and acclimatize since you have gone from a relatively low elevation in New Delhi to over 11,000 feet! During the afternoon, you can walk through the old town, beneath the Leh Palace, to allow you to get oriented to this fascinating city. Overnight in a hotel.
In the morning you will leave for the sightseeing of the East Indus Valley visiting the monastaries of Thiksey, Chemrey & Hemis. Everning drive back to Leh for dinner and overnight stay at the guest house.
THIKSEY MONASTERY:Thiksey Monastary, which is one of the most vibrant and active monasteries in the region. It dates back to the 16th century and is part of the Gelug-pa Sect. It is headed by successive reincarnations of the Khanpo Rimpoche. The monastery is 12 storied and painted in deep shades of red, ochre and white. It has evolved around a central courtyard with buildings surrounding it from three sides. At one extreme lies the main dukhang, which houses numerous racks containing religious texts. Behind the main alter lies a small chamber that contains images of revered deities.
CHEMREY GOMPA rises majestically on a hill to the right of the road with the residences of the lamas spilling along its contours. Though most of the books, including the Ladakh Chronicle, tell us that the great lama Stag-tsang-ras-pa, under the patronage of Sengge Namgyal, founded it, but Professor Luciano Petech has shown that it was actually founded after Sengge’s death as a funeral act of merit for him. The building was started in March 1644 A.D. and completed in 1645 / 1646 A.D.
HEMIS GOMPA, crossing over the Indus River at the village of Karu. The most famous of Ladakh’s monasteries, Hemis or Changchub Samstanling (The love palace of the compassionate person), dates back to the 17th century and was built over a period of 40 years (1602 – 1642 A.D.). Today Hemis is well known for its festival or Hemis Tsechu commemorating the birthday of Guru Padmasambhava. In the year of the Monkey (every 12 years) a giant thangka depicting Guru Padmasambhava is unfurled from the terrace draping the five-storey facade. Delicately wrought in pearls and appliqué, it is one of the most famous art treasures of Ladakh. The central courtyard forms the focus for the masked dances held every year in summer. In the dukhang, remnants of the original 17th century murals can be seen. The gompa boasts of an excellent library, well preserved frescoes and murals, silver gilt chortens and a Kashmiri lacquered wooden throne.
Today after your breakfast you will drive to Chilling where you will meet out staff for the trek. You can visit the village which has the best artists for Ladakhi copperware. Dinner and overnight in a local house or at your camp.
In the morning after breakfast you commence your trek towards Zaribago. Spend and experience the night of endless silence of the mountain which is disrupted only by the crackles of freezing ice. Stay overnight at the camp.
In the morning continue trekking towards Deepyokma. This is a beautiful day when the river starts to curve and you can see the uphill slope of the ice as we ascend the river into Zanskar. We are now getting used to walking on the ice and the initial anxiety is past, but that doesn’t mean we will stop falling altogether. We pass incredible waterfalls on our left, normally frozen into aquamarine ice cliffs. Reach at the village and stay overnight at the camp.
In the morning commence your trek going deep into an incredible maze of impressive canyons passing through frozen icefalls and find traces of humanity next to Nyerak Pulu. One more spectacular day when it comes to seeing frozen waterfalls and narrow gorges. Crags seem to leap up from the frozen river surface, and ibex can usually be seen defying gravity far above. You will see Yellow Billed Choughs making a curious whistling sound as they fly in small groups half-way up the gorge. After lunch we pass the ‘incense tree’, so called because the locals use its branches to burn in their morning rituals, and the prayer flag draped tree marks the entrance to Zanskar Region. Stay overnight at the camp.
Morning start trekking towards the magnificent valley of Lingshed, stopping to visit the great monastery of the region. Enjoy the comfort and cozy atmosphere of a private at an inhabitant’s home.
Morning; start trek going down the Lingshed valley and get back to the soft and icy surface of the Zanskar River. Stay overnight at the camps.
Morning; start trekking towards Warsanglo and get back to the life of villages (Hanamur and Pidmo). Stay overnight at the camps.
Morning; start trekking on the firm grounds towards Pishu. Reach at Pishu and stay overnight at inhabitant’s home at this magnificent village.
Morning; start trekking in the large and flat valley going through the village of Rinam and reach to Padum plain and the beautiful site of Karsha. Stay overnight at inhabitant’s home in the village.
A well-deserved free day where you can relax and visit the most important monastery of Zanskar called ‘Karsha Gompa’. Stay overnight at the home of an inhabitant of the village.
Morning; start trekking towards Zangla visiting through Tongde village and its monastery. Later, visit the magnificent site of Zangla. Stay overnight at an inhabitant’s home.
Morning; start trekking back to the Zanskar gorges taking the same path. Stay overnight at the camps.
Morning; long day of trekking (but you will be used to be it by then) through gorges on the way to Nyrak Pulu towards Nyrak Pulu walking through the gorges. Stay overnight at the camps.
Morning; continue return to Ladakh and stay overnight at the camps at Tsomo Paldar.
Morning; the valley finally widens and the sun makes an appearance again. Start trekking towards Tilatdo. Reach at Tilatdo and spend our last night at the camps and with our staff.
Morning; start trekking back to Chiling. On arrival at Chiling; board the private vehicle which is already waiting for you and drive back to Leh. On arrival in Leh; stay overnight at the guest house.
The day serves as a buffer for any unexpected delay in the itinerary or as an opportunity to visit a few monasteries of the Indus valley. Stay overnight at the guest house.
Early morning; transfer to the airport to board a flight back to Delhi. On arrival in Delhi; transfer to the hotel located in the city center. Rest of the day is free to relax at the hotel. Stay overnight.
In time transfer to the International airport to board your flight back home/onward journey.
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