Early transfer to the airport for the flight to Leh (11,500′). Leh is the capital of Ladakh and was once a stop on the Asian “Silk Route.” (If the weather is clear, there should be magnificent views of the Himalaya and Karakoram.) Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel. The remainder of the day is free to rest and acclimatize. You may want to walk around Leh and explore the town on your own.
DAY 2: Shey
In the morning, we’ll visit the monasteries of Shey and Thiksey. Shey, the former palace of Upper Ladakh, is situated at the top of a hill and commands a breathtaking view of the Indus River. The palace contains a massive statue of the Shakyamuni Buddha—the biggest of its kind in Ladakh. We’ll also visit famous Thiksey monastery, said to be a blessed site and the most well known “Gelugpa,” or yellow sect, gompa of all. The oldest portion of the building is reputed to date back to the 11th century, and a breathtaking view from the top enables us to see the palaces and monasteries of Leh. In the afternoon, we’ll visit the Hemis Monastery, one of the largest and wealthiest monasteries in Ladakh, whose ancient relics date back to the 17th century.
THE CHADAR TREK DAY 3: Chilling, Trek to Tilat Sumdo
We’ll begin the day with a drive to Chilling (one-and-a-half to two hours), where we’ll start our three-hour trek to Tilat Sumdo (10,170′). This is our first day practicing the “Ladakhi shuffle,” a skating walk over the frozen Zanskar that will take an hour or so to adjust to. Boots with sticky soles and poles will come in handy for this simple walk. A somewhat challenging climb of a frozen stream brings us to camp on a sandy plateau at Tilat Sumdo.
DAY 4: Trek to Tipkyeak Bawo
Leaving camp by 8:30 a.m., we’ll continue along the Zanskar to a cave at Bakula Bawo. It is said that the first Bakula Rinpoche of Ladakh spent a week meditating in this cave, and the juniper tree above the cave is considered holy by the locals who traverse this gorge. (The Rimpoche was born into a royal family of Ladakh, India and later recognized by the 13th Dalai Lama as a reincarnation of Bakula Arhat—one of the sixteen Arhats—direct disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha.) After a lunch stop at Tsemodo, we continue to camp at Tipkyeak Bawo. The water in this section tends to melt more easily, and depending on conditions, we may need to traverse steep rocks above the melting ice. If we don’t find a proper campsite, we’ll continue to Gyalpo for camp (10,400′).
DAY 5: Trek to Nyerak
Today’s trek can be difficult if the Zanksar is not firm, but our reward is stunning scenery, as we pass incredible frozen waterfalls that make the cliffs look like the ice walls of a fortress in some kind of arctic kingdom. We’ll stop for lunch at Yokmado, near several caves used by the Zanskaris at night. Nyerak is the first Zanskari village we encounter, and we overnight here. Note: If the Zanskar is in good condition, this walk typically takes six hours; if not, it could take up to eight hours.
DAY 6: Trek to Lingshed
The first stretch of our journey today is an hour-and-a-half walk on the Zanskar to Lingshed Sumdo, the confluence of the Lingshed Tokpo and Zanskar rivers. We continue through this tremendous canyon to Tipu, a gorge where we will stop for lunch. From there, we trek to Lingshed, a fairly large village with an interesting monastery. Lingshed is also home to a solar school and hostel built by an Austrian who still sends teachers here and looks after the school. Total walking today is approximately five hours. We stay overnight in local houses.
DAY 7: Tsarak Do
After visiting the Lingshed monastery in the morning, we make a two-hour journey through the valley to reach the frozen Chadar. From there we begin a five- to six-hour walk on the frozen river to Tsarak Do (11,155′). Tsarak Do (literally translated to crack junction) is the coldest campsite along this trail, and temperatures at this time can go down to minus 35°C. This is the point where a stream from a side valley meets the Zanskar River and due to the extreme cold at this place the frozen Zanskar (Chadar) forms icicles and cracks. (If ice conditions mean longer travel, we’ll stop in Tib Gongma, before Tsarak Do.) There is a parachute tea house here where an enterprising local zanskari sells tea and biscuits as well as some rum to those treading on the Chadar.
DAY 8: Pidmo
Beginning on ice, we follow a trail alongside the frozen river, carefully negotiating tricky sections. We stop for lunch at the village of Hanumil, before continuing three more hours to the village of Pidmo where we’ll stay overnight in local homes. DAY 9: Zangla
Today we take a break from the Chadar to make a short, three-hour road walk to the large village of Zangla, the home of Zanskar’s erstwhile king. Here, we’ll visit the fort and see local children who pass the time happily skiing and sledding. Overnight in local homes DAY 10: Stongde
Today we’ll visit a local nunnery to see the morning prayer ceremony and get a glimpse of the lives of the nuns in this remote part of the world. We then follow a jeep road, which serves as the main trekking route to Stongde. This village, located at 11,319 feet, is fairly large and has an interesting monastery, which we’ll visit after our four- or five-hour hike. Overnight in local homes.
DAY 11: Karsha
Leaving the track to Padum, we take the lower trekking route for a four-hour hike to Karsha, another large village with one of the biggest monasteries in the region. It covers an entire hillside, offering fantastic views from the rooftop. Overnight in local homes.
DAY 12: Pidmo
Today we return to Pidmo, driving over the bridge and then walking to the village along the main trekking route (approximately three hours). Overnight in local homes.
DAY 13: Tsarak Do
Leaving Pidmo, we descend to the Chadar and begin our trek back toward Chilling, camping once again at Tsarak Do. (5 hours trekking.)
DAY 14: Nyerak
Again retracing our steps from the previous week, we walk to Nyerak. (7 hours trekking.)
DAY 15: Dambuchan
Leaving Nyerak, trek five hours to a lunch stop at Tipkyeak Bawo. We then have another two hours of walking to a lovely juniper-filled camp at Dambuchan.
DAY 16: Tilat Sumdo
Spend the morning on four-hour trek to Shingra Yokma, where we stop for lunch, and then continue to Tilat Sumdo to overnight. As before if the Zanskar conditions are unsafe, we may need to cross some cliffs.
DAY 17: Trek to Chilling, Drive to Leh
Trek three hours to Chilling, where vehicles are waiting to drive us to Leh (about one-and-a-half hours).
DAY 18: Departure Leh
Departure transfer to the airport for your onward flight to Delhi
Brilliant blue skies radiate above the steep gorge of the Zanskar and the river, known as the “Chadar” (or veil), lies dormant covered with a downy white blanket of ice and snow. This is the traditional winter route used by the Zanskari people and children attending school in Leh. Along this 55-mile journey, we will visit their villages and stay in local homes to see how these hardy people thrive in such hostile winter conditions. We’ll see ancient Buddhist monasteries built into cliff walls and visit the village home of the erstwhile Zanskar king, where local children, who rarely see Westerners, pass the time skiing and sledding in a fairytale land of snow and ice, sharp cliffs and stark skies.
Traveling this route involves learning the “Ladakhi shuffle,” a slippery skate-walk on the frozen river that will take some getting used to. Soon, lost in the meditation of the shuffle and the beauty of the gorge, you’ll fall under the spell of the Zanskar’s icy veil.
Duration 18 days
Best Time Mid Jan – Feb End
Highest Point Lingshed (3800 m)
Highlight Trek along the traditional Zanskari winter route Visit remote villages, stay in traditional village homes and interact and experience the village life Witness—and experience!—life in this frozen (-35°C /-31°F), harsh winter climate A rare glimpse into the beauty of the Chadar’s icy veil—a photographer’s dream!
Physical Challenge Moderate to Challenging
suitable for most hill walkers and generally involving shorter days at moderate altitude, on good paths and tracks. However, a reasonable level of fitness is required as these treks can involve considerable amounts of ascent and descent and the occasional difficult day.
Physically very challenging, but suitable for people with a high level of fitness and previous trekking experience. These treks involve many long days, often in isolated areas and at extreme altitudes. These treks can also involve difficult and sometimes glaciated terrain, as well as lengthy periods at high altitude. Some treks will require basic mountaineering skills and equipment.
Assistance on arrival and departure
Transport in Non Ac car
A Class Hotel accommodation on twin sharing basis in Leh
Tented accommodation during treks on twin sharing basis
All meals beginning with lunch on first day till breakfast on last day
Professional and experienced trekking guide
Cook, porters & other service staff
Trekking fees / Monastery entrance fees
Camping equipment provided on the trek
2 Men Expedition Tents
Basic Medical kit
COST DOES NOT INCLUDE
Any meals/services not mentioned above
Any charges for video cameras, still cameras, etc.
Liquor, soft drinks, beverages, etc.
Personal expenses like tips, telephone calls, laundry, etc.
Expenses arising from unexpected fuel hikes, and any costs arising out of unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, landslides, road conditions and any other circumstances beyond our control.
Medical or Travel Insurance
Costs towards evacuation of customers for medical or any other reason
Ladakh Safari reserves the right to change, alter or cancel a trip due to any reason which might not be in the best interest of your safety, like dangerous water levels, landslides and extreme weather conditions etc.
Our trip leaders have a vast experience of trekking & camping in the Himalayas. They are fluent in English language and are always forthcoming with interesting lore and information on local history, culture and practices. All our trip leaders have knowledge of First-Aid.
We believe that camping is an art – all about providing a safe and comfortable stay. We maintain very high standards of camping and with constant innovations try to hone our skills. We lay a lot of emphasis on site selection with camping sites on most of the treks being pre-decided and used previously by our team.
MEALS ON OUR TREKS
On all our treks we provide food that’s tasty, hygienic and nutritious. Our chefs are experts at keeping the team’s batteries charged with mouth-watering watering multi-cuisine meals, at times under difficult conditions. Cuisine is decided keeping in mind the profile of the group. Also on most of our treks our clients get the option of trying out the local dishes.
The following list only mentions the essential elements. You have to prepare a list of clothes and small personal articles you will need during the trek:
|Waterproof jacket and trousers (should be really sturdy, wind and waterproof)Down or top quality down jacket with integral hoodFleece JacketWalking boots (sturdy & well worn in, waterproof, large enough to wear multiple pairs of socks underneath)
Trekking / Fleece Pants
Thermal top & bottoms (for cold days and nights)
|Warm T-shirts / SweatshirtsWaterproof PantsGloves (thermal lined) & mountaineering mittensThermal fleece balaclava / Woolly hat (you will need to cover your head)
Socks – both hiking and warm