Muntasir Mamun

Activist

Chadar – Frozen River

There are few if any adventure treks on our planet to match the Chadar winter expedition for sheer, awe inspiring beauty and none to match it in terms of day to day challenge and excitement. Zanskar and Ladakh in the winter is challenge enough as the frost smoke wreathes the Indus. The Chadar a ‘veil’ for the snow that covers the river in winter, is one of the great adventures of the world. To penetrate the Zanskar gorges in winter is a serious undertaking and Zanskaris you meet en route inevitably look at you Greet with Juley and askance, and reply ‘Chadar?’

Chadar River. Chobi © Muntasir Mamun Imran/Kewkradong.com . 2011

Chadar River. Chobi © Muntasir Mamun Imran/Kewkradong.com . 2011

With an unbelieving nod of the head; and then salute you as they go, Zanskari fashion. The frozen Zanskar river, part of the Indus watershed, has been used by the people of Zanskar, Tibetans who settled in the Zanskar valley over 1000 years ago to go back and forth to the outside world when the passes are locked into frozen winter silence, for centuries and still going on. Originally this route was used to carried/trading butter, salt and other many commodities these villagers traded with the outside world. It had to be traded in winter, as it was the only time it could travel from the cool summer cellars of their houses to Leh without spoiling. Today, they go back and forth still trading, but also taking children to school or making visits to the sacred (monasteries) sites around Leh. Meeting the Zanskaris as they travel this ancient route is just one of many high points for those who join this adventure.

Chadar River. Chobi © Muntasir Mamun Imran/Kewkradong.com

The abundant wildlife, and incredible scenery are more highlights – as you look up from the bottom of the Zanskar gorge and realize, yes, that is the frozen river beneath. Fish scatter from your shadow under the ice, and snow leopard tracks pattern the snow.This is not just a full scale winter expedition, but a trek into the past, where we enjoy in our high-tech winter gears, will trek side by side with locals wearing woolen Gonchas and sounding the ice with their stout poplar staffs to drive away the demons that lurk there.

For More Photos @ Flickr


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