The region that I am going to talk about and is known to the globe as Zanskar is located towards the south-east of Leh and is enclosed by the Himalayan, Zanskar ranges and mountains that border Zanskar and Kashmir valley. A brief proem as to how this trek became a reality- chadar trek rested in my radar range since last year but calculating the expenses and days off required, it always got postponed. But as my luck turned out, with a plentiful of time on my part to spare and good fortune mingling with venturesome mood, I decided to take up Chadar frozen river trek.
It was a seven day trek in inhospitable conditions. A winter trek over a frozen river in Ladakh! But if the cold and the harshness of the terrain is neglected, Chadar is not a difficult trek otherwise. It is an almost even walk with a few ups and downs and one is rarely breathless.
Zanskar trek felt like stepping into arctic conditions. My tenacity got tested by day 2 itself. It was damn cold. At that tricky time my multi-layers of clothing really helped me a lot. it was something that I just cannot describe in words. All my team members- not a crowded one- were having a good time though, including me. Crawling, scrambling, skating on ice- was a regular part of our fun routine. Yummy foods and hot drinks plus gossips heating up till late nights are some of the memorable experiences.
The whole trip was an exhilarating experience. Zanskar is one place in the world where inspite of so many hardships prevailing, people out there are truly happy. â€˜â€ Tarlok â€- this is the term that local zanskaris use for the periodic process of old ice going down and flipping and new ice forming on top. Once this happens, the Chadar formed is the strongest and this watch for me was the most beautiful and magical experience. And of course the frozen waterfalls proved to be an add on to the chilling view around.
In Zanskar Chadar arctic conditions, sunlight is very much valued. And this something I have never bothered about during my stay on the plains. The glowing camp fire and the moonlit milky white surroundings of stars, clouds, river and ice- every bit of it imposed a heavenly beauty and freedom. Nowhere was there anything like boredom.
I was glad that I underwent this trek for I was rewarded with an experience that can never be forgotten. For me it turned out to be much more than a trek. I still cannot get it out of my mind though I have many other things to work upon. Each bit of every other moment on Chadar was an experience to relish, to be proud of and to revel in the fabulous miracle that is life.
I still feel the chill through my nerves when I think about the icy trek and probably would love to experience it all overagain.