Places Covered: Leh – Shey Monastery – Chilling – Sumdo – Markhala – Tip Yokma – Nirik Pullo – Pidmo – Zangla – Stongde – Karsha – Tsarak Do - Tilit Sumdo – Chilling
Duration: 19 Nights 20 Days
Best Season: Mid Jan to End Feb
Grade: Moderate to tough
Altitude: 3850 mts/12628 ft.
This trail of frozen river trek has been used by the people from Zanskar since centuries to go out of the region when passes are closed by the snow, The main reason are to trade with the outside world, taking their children to school at Leh and to visit the sacred places in part of Ladakh during the winter.
Sense of humor, mental flexibility and well preparation is required to join this expedition. Trail goes along the frozen and semi frozen river surface, At the time up and down over the ice and rock, Follow the porters while walking who are doing impossible work carrying all the gears, Exploring this remote part of the world during winter is life time memory.
Day 01: Arrive Delhi
Transfer to nearby hotel for few hours
Day 02: Flight Delhi – Leh (3500 m)
Early morning transfer to domestic airport to Board flight for Leh which is an hour flight. From Leh airport, transfer to hotel. Day free at Leh. There are plenty of things to be seen in and out of Leh town but we do not recommend any major exercise immediately. Allow the time for acclimatization. However a walk around the old town and perhaps up to the old palace would not be out of the question.
Day 03: In Leh
Today you can go around Leh for sightseeing. Evening we take you a local family house to show you the Ladakhi tradition and culture. Overnight at the hotel.
Leh : The largest town in Ladakh is Leh. Dominated by the now ruined Leh Palace, former mansion of the royal family of Ladakh, built in the same style and about the same time as the Potala Palace. Leh is at an altitude of 3524 metres (11,562 ft).
Day 04: In Leh
Sightseeing around Leh. Visiting Shey & Thiksey Monastries & in evening visit Shanti Stupa.
Shey Monastery : It is located in Shey on hillock 15 kms away from Leh in south. A 7.5 meter high copper statue of Buddha, plated with gold and the largest of its kind is installed here.
Thiksey Monastery: Spectacularly sighted, Thiksey is one of the largest and architecturally most impressive gompa. There are several temples in this gompa, containing images stupas and wall painting of Buddhas which are exquisite. In evening visit Shanti Stupa in Leh. Overnight at hotel in Leh.
Day 05: Drive Leh – Sumdha (Chilling – 3180mtrs) – Trek Tilit Sumdo (3750 mtrs.) (3hrs)
Get set and go, to start the most exciting trip on the Zanskar River. We Drive from Leh to Chilling to begin with. The road follows the Indus River for an hour to the confluence of Indus and Zanskar River, then fallow The Zanskar River till Sumdha-Do. We then trek for an hour on and off the frozen river to the village of Chilling. We camp near the village or stay in a family house.
Day 06: Trek Tilit Sumdo (3750 mtrs.) – Markhala (6 hrs)
For the next five days we trek up on the frozen river through gorges and deep valleys. There are number of choices for camping, and there for we can make our itinerary during this time as flexible as we like. There are also many caves (locals call it Bawo) which can be used for the night Shelter. The names of the stopping places are listed below. Tonight we camp at Markhala.
Day 07: Trek Markhala to Tip Yokma (6 hours walk)
Today we start our trek from Markhala & will be walking on ice. During the trek at times we need to give up walking on chadar depending on the condition of chadar and start walking on rock. Dinner and overnight stay in cave / camp.
Zanskari People depend entirely on perpetual snows in the mountains as a water source for their farm fields.
Day 08: Trek Tip Yokma to Nirik Pullo (6 – 7 hours walk).
In morning we start our trek from Tip Yokma. We can view of canyons while passing through frozen icefalls. We’ll find human traces after Nirik Pullo. Dinner and overnight stay in camp.
There are more than ten caves on the bank of the Frozen Zanskar River. Travellers prepare their tea and meals on open fies and sleeps in the cave and so cave is covered with black soot inside.
Day 09: Trek Nirik Pullo to Lingshed (3700mtrs) (5-6 hours walk).
In morning we start our trek from Nirik Pullo. We steep walk till Lingshed village and leave behind chadar. Visit Lingshed village & villagers hospitality. Dinner and overnight stay in camp.
Lingshed : It is 4000mtrs above sea level and can only be reached by trek. It is one of the most remote parts of Ladakh. It can be accessed only by Chadar Trek in winter for 2 months. During summer it can be accessed by 4 days trek whether from Lamayuru or Padum.For around 6 months this village remains completely isolated.
Day 10: Trek Lingshed to Tsarak Do (7 hours walk).
Visiting the Lingshed monastery in the morning & exploring around. Then start our trek from Tsarak Do. Today it will be a long trek walking for around 7 hours.
Lingshed Monastery : Lingshed Monastery or Lingshed Gompa is a Gelugpa Buddhist monastery in the Zanskar region in the state of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir in northern India. The monastery in Lingshed is an important spiritual centre of Tibetan Buddhism.The Jangchub Tensung Dorje Center was founded in Lingshed by Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche. The monastery houses about 60 monks and is on the route between Zanskar and Lamayuru. It serves the surrounding villages including the one with the same name.
Day 11: Trek from Tsarak Do to Pidmo (5 hours).
We continue on the ice and start our trail from Tsarak Do and walk for about 5 hrs till we reach Pidmo. The gorge ends at Hanamur and the view opens at Pidmo. THe village of Zangla and the old King’s Palace can be seen on the opposite bank. During the trek we’ll come across Hanumil Village. Overnight in Camp.
Wearing rubber boots is the best for ‘Chadar Trek’ because at times we have to walk on ice with water overflowing.
Day 12: Trek from Pidmo to Zangla (3370mtrs.) (5 hours walk).
Today a short walk on the road from Pidmo to the village of Zangla. We cross the Chadar by bridge to reach Zangla, where the erstwhile king of Zanskar resides. We will visit the fort and go around the large village. Overnight in Zangla village.
Day 13: Drive Zangla (3370mtrs.) to Stongde (3450mtrs.) and then Karsha (3800mtrs.)
Today we’ll have full day culture tour. Morning after breakfast, drive to Stongde village. Visit beautiful picturesque monastery built on hill top by Lama Marpa 950 years ago. Approximately 60 monks are residing in this monastery. After the visit, continue drive to Karsha (Pair of White i.e., Outer white and Inner white). Visit Karsha monastery. This monastery is the largest of all the monastery in Zanskar and this monastery (Gonpa) was first founded by Great Lama Phagspa Shesrap (the translator of Zanskar). From the monastery, you have amazing and spectacular view of mountains.
Day 14: Drive Karsha (3800mtrs.) to Tsarak Do
Drive to Karsha from Tsarak Do.
After running throught the Himalayan mountains, the Doda river from the north and the Tsarap River from the south meet near Karsha to become one river, which is called the Zanskar River. It flows into the Indus River at Nyemo.
Day 15 to 18: Trek back from Tsarak Do to Tilit Sumdo – Chilling
Trek back from Zangla till Chilling on same route. The return trek is apparently quicker and easier. On the 19th day evening we will pick you up from Sumdhado and drive back to Leh. Overnight at Hotel in Leh.
Day 19: In Leh Day free at Leh.
One can go for shopping at Leh handicrafts center and in Choglamsar Tibetan handicrafts etc. Overnight at hotel in Leh.
Day 20: Leh – Delhi Fly to Delhi in the morning.