If someone has to ask about my all time favorite place for trekking, it would always be Ladakh, without a doubt. Why? Because this is the only place that is the best combination of adventure and beauty anyone could ever witness.
So, I have heard a lot about the very famous Chadar trek and it was present in my bucket list for so long. Once I completed the trek, I realized why this place is a dream of all the avid trekkers out there.
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Well, I would be very honest that the trek is one of the most challenging treks in India that challenges your skills and fitness at every step.
However, the trek is usually done in 10 days but just in case you’re not sure if you would be able to handle such conditions for 10 long days, or maybe, either way, you have a shortage of time, the trek can be completed in mere 5 days. How? It’s all explained below. Have a look.
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Chadar Trek Itinerary
Day 1: Reach Leh
First of all, the only way to reach Leh during cold winter months is by flight. Once you reach there, get down and witness the heavenly beauty of the place and the mountain ranges covered with a white blanket of snow.
Make sure you have all your warm clothes, gloves, caps, and related stuff handy because the temperature at Leh is always in the negative.
Also, not every part of Leh is open during winters except for some shops to meet the needs of locals. Wait, the challenging part has just begun, the temperature there during the daytime remains around -10 degrees and drops to -16 degrees or more after the sun goes down.
Stay there overnight in your hotels. Make a habit of this chilly weather and hey, it’s just the beginning.
Day 2: Drive to Chilling
Ready for some adventure? Day 2 asks you to reach Chilling, the place from where you’ll be starting your walk on the frozen Zanskar River.
Also, the place is 64km far from Leh. Take the Leh Srinagar highway and drive through the amazing vistas of the Indus River and then some mind-blowing views of Zansar River till Nimu. From Nimu, you’ll take the road that goes up along the Zanskar. Now, you’ll witness the mesmerizing icy sheets of the frozen river. After half an hour, you’ll be there at Chilling.
Continue driving until you see the road ends. This is the point from where you’ll walk on the chadar.
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Start to walk with great care and make sure you walk on the fresh coating of snow. In other words, do the penguin walk that means take little step by not lifting the feet too high.
After about 1 hour of trekking, you’ll reach the Tilat Sumdo campsite. Those who don’t have their own tents can stay in the caves on the opposite side of Sumdo. All in all, this would be your very first experience of staying in the cold freezing temperature.
Day 3: From Tilat Sumdo to Shingra Koma
Wake up early in the morning, have a hot cup of tea and start the third day. After having your breakfast, you’ll set off on the chadar and remember that it will be the same routine till your trek ends.
Day 3 usually asks you to trek for around 10-12 km and the main goal is to reach Shingra but depending on your strength and fitness, you can do camping earlier as well, in case, you start feeling it’s becoming tough. If you make it to the Shingra, there’s nothing more exciting than this.
So, just enjoy the walk like you’re walking in a deep freezer and conquer this next adventurous day.
Day 4: From Shingra to Tibb
Here comes the day when you’ll be trekking from Shingra to Tibb and remember it is the long one. Experience the most wonderful and beautiful days of your trip.
Small waterfalls that are now turned into icefalls and prayer flags hovering on the trees are just a treat to your eyes. After long hours of walking, there’s always one thing that becomes more and more demanding: our bellies.
So, you can have your lunch at the place that is right mid-way and under an overhang of rocks. After you have your lunch, you’ll be passing through narrow gorges where you need to walk through by holding the hands of at least 4 people.
Since the narrow gorge barely receives any sunlight, thus the river here is non-existent and here you’ll see chadar from the end to end. Now, just 2 more hours of walking and you’ll reach your campsite area, Tibb.
Day 5: From Tibb to Nerak
Here comes the day when you’re going to see the breathtaking frozen waterfall. Also, yet another beautiful day that allows you to experience amazing valleys of chadar, and will take you through cliffs and gorges.
Continue trekking for 5 hours, have your lunch and after that, you’re going to witness the first view of Nerak. Capture the ethereal beauty of the Nerak waterfalls and continue walking along the Chadar for 20 minutes that will take you to the Nerak campsite.
In addition to this, Nerak is the coldest point of your journey where the temperature might drop down as low as -25 degrees or even low.
Return from Nerak
So, this is the end of your trip and the return path is not a difficult task, just the retrace of the route you took to reach Nerak.