The Unforgettable Frozen Zanskar River Trek

The colors of the Himalayas and its surrounding landscape turn into white due to fluffs of cotton snow over them. Trekking in India during winters, especially in the high peaks of Himalayas, is a totally different experience in itself. It is in this season that the snow covered Himalayas become a trekker’s heaven and a skier’s happening destination.

From the mighty Himalayas in the North to the K2 peak in the East, India has a number of high altitude regions to enjoy winter trekking. The hills of Uttrakhand are blessed with snow capped mountains, gushing rivers, dense forests and verdant valleys. It’s no wonder that they offer unlimited opportunities for sports adventure and has something for everyone else.

To fire the spirit of trekking in you and to turn your stay into a memorable experience in this paradise, Garhwal Himalayas with the co-operation of Indian Himalayas have designed a range of unique package tours. The following are some of the best winter trekking destinations in India where you can enjoy ice sports like skiing & snow trekking.

Chopta Chandrashila Trek

This is probably one of the most beautiful winter trekking routes in India that has forever pulled the attention of adventure enthusiasts around the word. Offering breathtaking and picturesque snow view of the mighty Himalayas, trekking on this route is a treat for both your eyes and soul. Trekking here will also give you the most amazing view of the Trishul, Nandadevi, Kedar Peak and Chaukhamba peak.

Dodital Trek

Situated at a height of 3307 meters above sea, the Dodital trek in Northern Uttarakashi is perfect for those who have moderate trekking skills. When you trek here you will pass through the thick forests of Oak, Fir, Rhododendron and Deodar. These make the surrounding landscape absolutely beautiful. Here you can also enjoy the beautiful sight of Garhwal Himalayas. The lake is full of fish and is known for some rare species like the Himalayan Golden Trout. The forest surrounding the lake is also full of wildlife. It provides an idyllic set up for rest and recreational activities like angling and bird-watching.

Dayara Bugyal Trek

Bugyal in the local language means “High Altitude Meadow”. Dayara Bugyal is one of the most beautiful places in Uttaranchal. Situated at an elevation ranging 10,000 – 12,000 ft, this vast meadow is second to none in natural beauty in Uttranchal. During winter, it provides excellent & one of the best ski slopes in India spreading over an area of 28 sq/km.

The road to Dayara Bugyal branches off near Bhatwari, a place on Uttarkashi Gangotri road, about 35 km from Uttarkashi. Vehicles can go up to the village of Barsu from where one has to trek a distance of about 9 km to reach Dayara. Another route is via village Raithal which is 10 km from Bhatwari. From here one has to trek about 7 km to Dayara Bugyal.

Frozen River Trek

Walking on the frozen river of Zanskar is an ultimate experience for adventure lovers. The traditional name of the trek is “Chadar trek” which means the frozen sheet. This roadway is the only passage route for the Zanskaris during the winter season as all other roadways are closed due to heavy snow fall at high passes.

Due to this, this route it had been trade route for centuries by Zanskari people. Now the route is also famous amongst winter trekkers and adventure lovers. For last several years, we have been organizing this winter trek in three different options with trained local Zanskari potters and our well-experienced guide and staff.

Zanskar has the distinction of being the least interfered with microcosms of Ladakh since it is the most isolated region during winters. This place is made inaccessible for nearly eight months a year due to heavy snowfall which results in closure of all the access passes. It is thus one of the last few surviving cultural satellites of Tibet. This geographical isolation together with the esoteric nature of Buddhism practiced here has enabled its some ten thousand inhabitants to preserve and perpetuate their cultural identity.

This Chadar trek allows you to penetrate this isolation and to examine some of the villages along the Zanskar River in the midst of winter. You can thus catch a glimpse of the region’s habitats during a unique time of the year. A visit to the ancient monastic establishments of Karsha and Zangla promises to heighten your insight into the mysteries of Shangri-la, which is a land of culture frozen in time behind the ramparts of the Zanskar Mountains. Chilling and Lingshed are the only sizeable villages on this trek up till Hanamur and Pidmo which lies before Pishu and Zangla in Zanskar. trekking in india

Snow Leopard Trek

The snow leopard, or ounce, is truly a predator of the heights. One can spot snow leopard from November to March at Hemis National Park. Hemis National Park is a high altitude protected area created in year 1981 in the eastern part of the cold desert of Ladakh. It came into being for the conservation and protection of its unique flora and fauna. It covers an area of 600 sq km in the Markha and Rumbak valleys.

The snow leopard is Ladakh’s most rare animal. Another one that is unique is the Kyang or the wild horse. While at lower altitudes the musk deer too is a rare sight, precious by virtue of its expensive musk. Visitors are likely to spot many marmots, mouse hares, stone martens, red foxes, wolves, ibex, Bharal and Shapu during the course of their journey. However, the habitat of the Nyan (big horned sheep), Chim (Tibetan antelope famed for its fleece or Shahtoosh), Goa (Tibetan gazelle), lynx, Pallas cat, Kyang (wild horse) and Brong dong (wild yak) are still outside the tourists’ visiting sphere.


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