Best For: Solo Travelers, Couples, Group of Friends & Families
Best Season: June to September
Leh, which lies at an altitude of more than 3500 metres above sea level, is the second largest district in the country. In winters, as most passes leading to Leh are closed, you will be flown to the Leh airport which has the distinction of being the highest airport in the world.
As soon you land at the airport, you will be greeted by dry and cold air, but what will take all your attention is the lofty, snow-capped mountains all around; a sight that will remain with you forever. After completing the arrival formalities and picking up your bags from the baggage counter, take a taxi and proceed towards the pre-arranged hotel. Enjoy an overnight stay in the hotel.
Get up early in the morning and begin the process of acclimatization at high altitude. Proceed to walk towards Shanti Stupa, a sacred Buddhist stupa, from where you will get an opportunity to witness a beautiful view of the sunrise and a panoramic sight of the town of Leh. Stay hydrated as you spend your first day of the trek in Leh.
Due to the challenging nature of this particular trek, government has made it mandatory for participants to acquire medical certification before they undertake Chadar trek. A clearance certificate upon a medical check-up will be issued by the Sonam Narbu Hospital. One will get a certificate only when adequately fit and acclimatized for the trek.
Enjoy tea and breakfast in the morning and start your journey by driving to Shingra Koma. This ride is not for the faint-hearted as bumpy roads and hairpin bends are quite common on this route. The sight of the surrounding high mountains will give you a sense of awe. After a point, you will have to deboard from the vehicle and trek towards Somo Paldar campsite. Your Chadar trek expedition starts here.
Today, you will set out to trek to Dib Cave/Tibb. During the day, you will behold the breathtaking beauty of the region including ravines and gorges. You might not see sunshine properly as the steep cliffs in this area obstruct them. Once you reach Dib, you will see a large cave. This is the place where you will halt for the night and rest. Butter tea would be offered and we recommend you to try it. Enjoy overnight stay at the campsite.
Today, you will trek the most scenic part of the region and get a chance to witness the largest frozen waterfall and prayer flags. The bridge built next to the site of the waterfall is used in summers to reach Zanskar from Leh. Thereafter, you can proceed towards the village of Naerak to mingle with the locals and understand their way of living. Stay overnight at the village camp comfortably.
From Naerak things get little tougher as it not only involve hike on snow and ice, but also some steep climbing. After two hours of level hike, we arrive at river confluence. From here we leave the Zanskar River and follow the tributary towards the Lingshed village. Trail is quite narrow here so you need to be carefull.
On arriving at Lingshed, we visit local village monastery, administered by the Gelug sect of Himalayan Buddhism. Lingshed monastery houses idols of Mahakala and Lord Buddha. Monastery also has six other temples and monks’ apartments.
This day, the return phase of this Snow Trek to Lingshed Village begins. It will be a long day as you will not be spending a night in Naerak Pullu, but walk past it on the way to Tibb. This gives you yet another chance to take photos of that massive frozen waterfall, you saw earlier. Stop here for a while, and try different poses in front of it. On reaching Tibb, get some much-needed rest inside the cave.
On this particular day, start your return trip and proceed towards Tibb. The return trail would not be easy and the river quickly reacts to any change in the temperature. By now the frozen river might have taken an entirely new form. On the way back, admire the beauty of the region, click pictures and meet locals, who can be seen wearing traditional woolen Gonchas (robes). Upon Dib Cave, relax and stay overnight at the campsite.
In the morning, get ready to leave Tibb and proceed towards Shingra Koma, crossing Gyalpo. The trail today will give you a chance to witness high mountains and pugmarks of wild animals like snow leopards, ibex and foxes. If lucky, you just might spot a leopard; even if you do not, then at least be sure, you would be watched by them. In the evening, drive back to Leh and stay overnight at the hotel.
Today, the mesmeric journey to one of the finest scenic destinations of India will ultimately come to an end. The entire experience, we are sure, would give you an unmatchable feeling of achievement and satisfaction. In the morning, check-out from the guesthouse and depart from the Leh airport.
Starts at INR 24,500 Per Person
Flights to Leh are available for booking all year round, even in winters. The Leh Airport is a military airport and security checks are a little more stringent than usual. Please carry a printout of your e-ticket before entering, failing which you might be denied entry. From the airport, you can easily get taxis that will take you to your hotel/resort.
From Jammu and Kashmir or from Manali, if you’re planning to approach Leh in a bus, get ready for an adventurous bumpy ride. It’s got what it takes to become the ride of a lifetime and will take at least 4 days (starting at New Delhi).
Pathankot and Chandigarh are the closest railway stations to Leh, still a three-day bus ride away. This is one route that most travellers to Leh avoid.
For adventure lovers around the world, hitting the road to Leh is a dream they look forward to living at all times. They may pick up a motorbike, a jeep, an SUV or try to tackle this journey on a bicycle, but driving to Leh is certainly an adventure. You can either take the (lower) road from Jammu and Kashmir or the (higher) road from Rohtang La via Keylong and Sarchu.