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Chadar lake – The frozen river

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If you believe that no level of experience can satisfy your love for nature and earth, I can prove you wrong. Towering snow-covered peaks with steeps, a wild river flowing underneath the perfect sheet of ice, nerve freezing temperature throughout the day and night and all of this are just the beginning. Imagining them trailing along with you for 75kms, I would say words don’t exist to describe that. Let’s explore why the chadar trek challenges us and make us believe that the chadar lake trek is the toughest winter trek in India.

I am definitely breaking it to you in the very beginning about why chadar lake trek is a dream and tops the once-in-a-lifetime experiences’ list. ‘Chadar’ means Ice. Imagine walking on a thick sheet of ice and a tranquil yet torrent stream flowing beneath you? To be very clear, you wouldn’t be this closest to walking on a glacier. We will think twice to walk on ice carrying a huge backpack. Ask the locals, it’s like every other day! 

Where is the Chadar lake?

Chadar lake trek is nestled in Leh, Ladakh among other beautiful snow-capped mountains, glacial lakes, and portraits from the edges of high elevations. Chadar bridges the villages in the Zanskar valley which are deep in the mountains with Chilling along the Zanskar River. Though classified as difficult, the Chadar lake trek is one of the extremely thrilling and popular treks in India. The temperature ranges between sub-zero during the day and drops as low as -25 degrees Celsius as sunsets. Reminding you about your priority on your ‘to-take’ list: A feather jacket! It is absolutely a unique trek since you would not find a similar trek that involves walking on a frozen river at an altitude of 13,000 ft for days.

 Trek itinerary

Day 1 & 2: Leh and Leh

Leh is at an altitude of 3,500m above sea level which is a born paradise. In the air, while reaching the highest airport in the world, you would have a bird’s eye view of the city and a glimpse of snow-white mountains. Enjoy the stay and get ready for the adventure! Ensure a perfect start of the trek: a blissful sunrise and the richness of the beautiful city, Leh from Shanthi Stupa. 

Day3: Ensuring fitness level

The trekkers must obtain medical certification to undertake the Chadar Lake trek. Mind you, the trek would test your lung power! 

Day4: drive to Shingra Koma and trek to Somo Paldar campsite

The drive to Shingra Koma is quite bumpy due to uneven roads and several hairpin bends. But worth it because you get a window tour of the mountains. Another half of the day, you trek to the campsite and officially start the exciting Chadar Lake trek.

Day5: Dib Cave

At an altitude between 10,550 ft to 10,760 ft, you would witness the beauty of the entire place along ravines and gorges. Sunshine is rare but the overnight stay near the cave with hot tea would do magic for the night!

Day6 & 7: Nerak and back to Dib

12.5 km to Nerak is also the best part because you get to see the largest frozen waterfall. Mingle with the locals and make friends. For once feel something different entirely off the city night! The return trail is not easy though. The river would have taken a different form. The Chadar Trek just got interesting!

Day8: Tibb Cave\Dib to Shingra Koma. Drive back to Leh

This 8.5km stretch is a collection of rugged mountains and snow. If lucky you could even spot traces of ibex and foxes. Who knows, there could be a snow leopard following your trial prints! Return to Leh with a contented heart!


You get to mix with the locals in two different villages on two different days along the Chadar Lake trail. Nerak has one of the thriving sunsets. The village is the major base camp of this entire trek. The trail requires you to scale a steep mountain to reach Nerak and the experience is worth sweat-breaking. Lingshed has its own pack of awesomeness. The Lingshed Monastery, the oldest one in Ladakh, and Gyalpo, an enchanting campsite in a meadow are eye-catchers. Dibyokma, another stop point is the most peaceful point of the trek.

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