Chadar Trek that we all know as one of the most adventurous treks in India was never supposed to be a trekking or any adventurous hiking route.
Zanskar valley with a population of about 14000 people connects its administrative capital Padum to the mainland of Leh via Pensi La, about 250 km from Kargil.
Now, every winter when the temperature goes down to -10C to -15 C this Pensi La pass gets heavy snowfall making it completely inaccessible by the locals, making Zaskar completely cut off from the rest of the Jammu & Kashmir for the next 3-4 months.
Now, this is the time when Zanskar river freezes to create a highway of ice which we all know as chadar and local call it “Khado Sanglam” and let people walk on it.
Local people of Zanskar decided to use this not so easy 100km route to reach Chilling, from where they can take the all-weather road to Leh. Every year people wait for the winters so that when the river can freeze to make a walkable path of ice and they can reach back home.
Even schools kids who are studying in Leh use this frozen route to go back home during winter holidays.
Now all this looks like a very local affair until some adventure seeking travelers came to know about his route and they found that these massive mountains with a walk on a frozen river can be a great adventure and a profitable business.
And now we all know this as Chadar Trek.
There is no doubt that this so-called trek is the most adventurous trek in India and it’s giving a great earning opportunity for the local people especially in the time of winters when they used to almost lock themselves in their homes because they can’t do anything in that harsh winter season.
But things are changing, Every year thousands of adventure-seeking tourists from various parts of India and worldwide are coming to experience this Chadar Trek which is now causing a serious threat to nature especially the Zanskar river.