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Chadar Diaries V

April 17, 2014

Guest post : Originally written in gujarati by Jay, translated by me..
Photographs : By Nigam and Jay.

So far in this sereis :
Chadar Diaries – I
Chadar Diaries – II
Chadar Diaries – III
Chadar Diaries – IV

Part V :

We spent one full day resting in Lingshed after so many days of trekking. The place as you all saw in the last post was a treat to stay in. Absolutely pristine white snow, blue skies, red cheeked ladakhi local boys who kept smiling and staring unending, warm room to sleep in and hot food to eat! We also visited the famous Lingshed Monastery in the noon and participated in the prayers for a while and then took photographs and also had their famous salt tea! If ever in life I do get an opportunity again I would really like to come back and stay in this place one more time! Lets hope my wish does come true.. Inshallah! or should I say Julley! :P

The temperature in the night at Lingshed went to -20degree celcius!!!! :D It was so cold that water would freeze and yes… even if you pee’d it would freeze in a matter of seconds :P :mrgreen:

Anyways, the cold apart, next day our homestay host family and all waved us a warm goodbye and we set back to Nerak Pullu and began our reverse journey to Leh! The target was to reach Leh by 1st without any interruptions!

Near Nerak Pulla is a place on the river that is called Vama where the ice chadar does not always form properly, if this chadar would not be formed properly, since the water is so deep here you would have to trek almost 1.5 days to cross this patch, however, as luck had it for us the Chadar was intact at both times for us and we crossed it in 15 mins! Now that is what I think might have inspired that saying that truth is stranger than fiction!!! Nature and its vagaries! :) But I guess nature was kind to us and we crossed this patch uneventfully!

We reached Nerak Pullu and spent a night there and the next day we had a long trek planned so we started early. Throughout the journey we understood what our Guide Taashi had told us, never to ask anyone about the chadar nor tell anyone anything about the chadar. Nature changes the course of the Chadar by the minute and hence it is pertinent that everyone stays alert and makes careful observations and takes enough precautions and does not take his safety granted at any moment.

This trip in many ways taught us a lot of new things about nature that I never thought I could know. The fascinating part is nature actually has more surprises and I am sure there are still plenty more in store in future.

On our way back we were a lot more relaxed though and hence we looked around a lot more then whilst we were going, we even tried our hands at pulling the sleigh of our porters and getting an experience of how they dealt with it and I must tell you that is a tough tough job! We spend one night in a cave on our way back and that in itself was a unique experience. Sleeping about next to a fire in completely natural surroundings was a once in a life time experience that we will never forget in life!

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Cheers to life! :D :D :D

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Thats the place where we spent our night!

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Sleeping next to the fire bole to next to the fire! Samjhe!

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Enjoying the warmth!

On the last day we also passed the cave where Kushok Bakula Rimpo used to meditate for almost 15-30 days! Whilst we were having our last lunch on the Chadar there was a peculiar feeling inside me, the feeling of wanting to get into a warm room and a warm bath at the same time the feeling whether I will ever get such an experience again. We ate to our heart and mind’s content on this last occasion. We also encouraged our guide to sing this song :

Please excuse the quality of the video but I couldn’t help but get dancing in between… but the way the song echoed in the valley will always reverberate in my ears!!!! Memories of a lifetime seriously! Also what I will not forget is how Nigam does garba on this Ladakhi tune!!! :D

The trip to Chadar was an extreme and humbling experience both at the same time. But as they say,

“Woh Jawani Jawani Nahi,
Jiski Koi Kahani na ho!”

Hopefully my Jawani, Kahani and Shwash(breath) will all end together!

Jai Hind! :)

Chadar Diaries – IV

March 25, 2014

Guest post : Originally written in gujarati by Jay, translated by me..
Photographs : By Nigam and Jay.

So far in this sereis :
Chadar Diaries – I
Chadar Diaries – II
Chadar Diaries – III

Part 4 :

The moment Nigam’s pants and socks were wet, I could see the expressions of tension on his face, however, the local staff and Tashi both asked us to relax and not worry, they advised Nigam to not stop but keep walking as that would keep him warm. We all then decided to leave the Chadar and climb a few rocks on a side and walk over them for a while till we find more firmer Chadar. Whilst trying to climb up to the rocks even I slipped and water entered my gum boots as well. Until now it was Nigam who had experienced it, now I got first hand experience of the freeze! My left feet went absolutely numb. Again the instruction was to keep walking without stopping, walk we did till we reached our lunch stop. At times I could not feel my legs and fingers, but we kept walking. At our lunch stop we finally stopped in a sunny spot and took out our shoes and socks and emptied the water out of the gum boots and dried them in the sun. Amazingly the water in the pants had turned into icicles and we could just dust them off like we would dust off pants in a desert!!! Lesson learnt was not to ever panic or rush up things in times of stress for it could prove fatal!

After black tea and pulao for lunch we started our second leg of the trek for the day when we came across a crowded stream of water, crowded coz it was a hot water spring! Amazing nature, in this cold, barren, freezing place a hot water spring!!! This hot water spring is named ‘Rama Sadsa.’ No one missed out on indulging in this pleasure that nature yielded for us! :D

Moving ahead after the hot water spring the gorge got quite narrow and was surrounded by really high mountains on both sides. We saw a few more frozen waterfalls, amongst them one was so huge that we looked like flies in front of it! Eventually as we reached Nerak Pullu we were relieved to know that our man had managed to find one room for us and that news itself was enough to warm our frozen hearts! After reaching the room, immediately we lighted up the bukhari in the room and sat around it for a while warming ourselves up. The feeling of being able to spend a night now inside a warm room was really growing up on us. After sipping our black tea, Glenn asked if he could go up the hill and see the village ‘Nerak’ and the warm bukhari ensured we were enthusiastic enough to join him. Whilst leaving in our chit chat we forgot to wear our hand gloves after walking a bit suddenly it felt as if my fingers were numb and the wind was so so chilly it felt like it was chopping off our fingers. After walking for a while I and Nigam asked Glenn and Tashi to go ahead and see the village, we stopped climbing and decided to take photos around and retreat to our warm Bukhari!

The next day we had to reach the village Lingshed which is located admist the hills.IMG_5482 After walking an hour on the Chadar we had to climb a hilly terrain for almost 3 hours, after three days for the first time we left the Chadar and the feeling of walking on firmer terrain on soft powder like snow and not the Chadar was welcome. This was my first experience of trekking in Ladakhi hills. The dry mountains of Ladakh have a narrow trail and apart from it being adventurous you had to be cautious because of the snow. On the way we took breaks, huffing and puffing, eating Bharuchi Sing’s Chikki (peanut chikki) and energy bars from New Zealand. As we started climbing higher the valley started to appear more open and the views became even more grander! If that was possible that is! :)

As we finally reached Lingshed, we realised what a wonderful view it was, white carpet and blue skies! We kept mentioning heaven way too many times! As Tashi got busy talking to one house owner we realised that this was the place where we were going to stay and it looked like we were in for a room with a wonderful view. As we climbed up to our room on the first floor we were amazed to see that instead of walls on two sides there were only glass walls! The room looked like this :

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The feeling of waking up in the morning in this room with sunlight all over us was unbelievably warm. The view in the morning from our windows was like this, click the image to view a larger size :

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WELL…. SIGH…..

and well here are a few more pics of around Lingshed and Lingshed Monastery which is quite famous!

We did manage to spot this bird and once we reached home and googled we came to know it was an Alpine Chough! :D :D

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This was a fairy land and the blue skies and white snow with rocky structures was a feast for photography!

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Finally we actually managed to get a phone and Nigam immediately got calling wifey and wishing her Happy Anniversary!

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Lunch about to be served at Lingshed Monastery!

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and I guess divine blessings have already reached this fellow! I guess this is as close to God as you can get! Lingshed is at 12500 ft!

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This is how our room looked from outside!
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So until next episode Julley!

Chadar Diaries – III

March 5, 2014

Guest post : Originally written in gujarati by Jay, translated by me..
Photographs : By Nigam and Jay.

So far in this sereis :
Chadar Diaries – I
Chadar Diaries – II

Part 3 begins :

As we finished breakfast and set off again on the Chadar our support staff got busy winding up the camp. In no time they finished and over took us whilst we we walked soaking the surroundings around and clicking photographs. Our Guide didn’t think we would encounter any water today and so our gum boots were sent off with the support staff and as it had to happen, we encountered our first challenge with water. The chadar was broken and about 4-5 steps were to go through water and without gum boots that was a task. However, the benefits of being light came handy as Tashi lifted me and Nigam on his back and parked us on the other side. Then he tossed his gum boots to Glenn and we over came this hurdle rather easily.

Our destination today was Deep Yokgma, Yokgma in local language means lower and whilst we are on it let me also tell you Gongma means upper. On this second day we realised how blissful the sun is in this cold weather. Whilst we began walking towards Zanskar on the Chadar there is a stiff headwind that all trekkers face. Apart from the inners and sweaters and overcoats you also have to cover your ears, nose and face. The river freezes in this cold wind so you can well imagine what would happen to your ears & nose. Here is a sample pic of the snow that formed even on the eye lashes if you would move without goggles.

some icicles form on my eye lashes which nigam felt had to be photographed!

some icicles form on my eye lashes which Nigam felt had to be photographed!

Day 2 was actually the day where we walked a large part in the shade and our walk was bereft of sun. Whilst walking to our Lunch spot we for the first time on day two encountered a scene that will stay in etched in my memory for life. We came across one of the most amazing sights of a frozen water fall. It looked like some snow/ice sculptor had carved out his fantasy. Watching streams of water frozen in mid air was an unbelievable experience. Words fail me to describe how amazing and unbelievable it looked. Here are a couple of pictures :

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For a while that spectacular sight made us forget about the cold and filled our hearts with warm joy. After watching it enough and clicking it to hearts content we started walking again and in a little while we saw another sight that warmed our hearts on this extremely cold days. It was the sight of our support staff in a sunny spot with smoke rising from where they stood! :) :D :D In no time I had hot black tea in my hands :) and a lunch of hot macroni with Tuna flakes :D “Masha-Allah” we pronounced! :D :D :D

Continuing on after lunch walking on the Chadar at one point my friend Nigam’s foot fell in the water as the Chadar broke away and his socks got wet. Our guide advised Nigam to keep walking to keep the foot warm and that the sock would dry out eventually. However, Einstein at that moment decided to enter Nigam’s soul and so when Nigam after walking a lot had left us all behind thought that since I am carrying an extra pair, why not change it so he quickly dropped his bag off and set about changing his socks, in the process at some point he put his bare foot on the ice and it stuck!!NS7_3251 Yes, it stuck enough that he had to stand up and pull and whilst it did come off, he felt as if some skin came off his feet!!! Luckily for him, it was just a feeling and nothing like that happened. The feet were so numb he couldn’t even make out at that point. When we reached him our guide Tashi told him that he was lucky skin did not come off. In such a situation when the feet or skin gets stuck its wise to pour water on the area and then remove it or else it could prove fatal. A lesson was learnt that day!

Since it was terribly cold this day we walked less and were happy to spot of support staff had set up camp in a sunny area. We reached there and started soaking the sun when Nigam decided to dry out his wet socks in the sun on a rock. After a while when we actually lifted those socks they looked like they had consumed Viagra! :P :P Here is how they became stiff, the water in the socks had frozen! :P

After our customary black tea we spent time chit chatting with our support staff and interacting with them around the kitchen stove. NS7_3297Talking to these people is always such a humbling experience for me, when I hear of the life these people live and the hardships they face and how yet after all that their spirits are so cheerful and they approach life with such gusto. The little things that irritate us city blokes in so many ordinary situations makes me feel so ordinary in comparison. The dinner had a little surprise apart from the normal, I got my favourite papad alongside the soup and it made my day! :) I thanked my lucky stars, what else but some wonderful luck to find myself in this pristine, little explored India on the bed of a frozen river with my childhood buddy under a sky that had so so so many stars we couldn’t believe if the sky was real!!!

Take a look and see for yourself!
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On the second night as well we also learnt what a marvel the human body is, plus the fact that the sleeping bags were so superbly warm, both me and Nigam refused hot water bags while sleeping. Acclimatization had actually happened :) :)

Next day our destination was Nerak Pullu, Pullu in Ladakhi means hut. Our guide sent one member of our support staff early in the morning to reach Nerak and book a hut for us for the night. Apparently these days so many people come to Chadar that all the huts get booked and hence you have to reach there early or spend the night in tents. Whilst walking on the Chadar we met a few groups and some of them had actually sent their man a day earlier to book the huts. :| Walking on the Chadar today also told us a lot of people had already walked as the Chadar was disturbed and broken at many places due to traffic of humans. Luckily our guide made sure we wore gum boots from the morning this day. We crossed water at quite a few places at one point we reached a point where our guide’s feet went in so deep that water entered his gum boots and he stopped us all immediately and tried to find a way poking his stick about. We tried to offer our suggestions and help as much as we could, however, admist all this somehow fear and panic set in. Trying to climb a rock off the Chadar Nigam’s leg slipped and he fell in the water and not just his gum boots but his pants upto the thigh got wet!!!!

How we combatted this situation and how Nigam felt…. in the next episode! :D

Chadar Diaries – II

February 24, 2014

Guest post : Originally written in gujarati by Jay, translated by me..
Photographs : By Nigam and Jay.

Let me start part two with this photo we took on our trek, I would request all fellow promoters to share this planet as a worthy partner and not as a propreitor. Remember always to not litter when you are travelling and explore responsibly. IMG-20140219-WA0008

After that piece of information let us get back to our story. The Chadar diaries – I can be accessed here.

After a satisfying lunch we began our journey with gentle steps on the Chadar. Our experienced guide Mr Tashi suggested that we will have to change our location for the first night halt as we started our trek from Tilad Sumdo instead of Chilling. Hence we had to walk a little further and camp at a new place and not at Zaribao (bao in Ladakhi means ‘cave’) that was earlier decided.

The Team ready with luggage on the sleighs, they would start up ahead and find a location where they would make lunch and have it ready by the time we reach them. :) These small luxuries kept our spirits high! :mrgreen:

The Team ready with luggage on the sleighs, they would start up ahead and find a location where they would make lunch and have it ready by the time we reach them. :) These small luxuries kept our spirits high! :mrgreen:


No matter what I write about and describe about my experience on Chadar, let me tell you that in all likelihood every person will perhaps have a completely different experience. The uniqueness of the trek is that the weather decides what sort of experience you have on the Chadar. Infact our guide told us this one saying about the Chadar, ” Chadar ke baare mein no kuch kaho aur na kisise kuch pucho” meaning do not tell anyone anything about the Chadar nor ask anyone anything about the Chadar. When we pursued him further he explained that the Chadar keeps changing by the minute. Wind, Sun, pressure anything could change the structure of the Chadar. So never give your experience of the Chadar or ask anyone and rely on it rather keep your eyes on the Chadar and walk carefully. He told us another very important thing to keep in mind,


“Nazar hati…
Durghatna Ghati!”

Meaning, the moment you take your eyes off, disaster strikes!

The initial walk on the Chadar was a humbling experience in many ways. I don’t think I have ever walked this carefully, perhaps when I was learning to walk as a kid would have been the only instance. I have trekked in Himachal and Uttranchal on mountains and in snow, however, this was a completely unique experience and all that past experience was of no use here. AT places the Chadar would be hard as concrete, at places it would be sticky and wet and so slippery that you would actually have to take baby steps. This style of walking is very similar to Penguin walk. If you have ever seen penguin’s walk in polar regions you now know exactly why they do that! :D

This video will perhaps explain to you the slippery part :

We perhaps had walked for an hour on the Chadar when we came to an area where it seemed that the Chadar was weak(not formed properly) meaning the ice would break if we walked on it and you really do not want to fall in the water in this weather, take that from me! :P So we left the Chadar and climbed the rocky slpes to walk to an area where we could see a more firmer Chadar after about 15 minutes or so and we descended safely onto the Chadar.

That gives you an idea of how thick the chadar is at some places...

That gives you an idea of how thick the chadar is at some places…

Many of us perhaps have even forgotten how to walk carefully and Chadar is perhaps the best place to come and revise that. Man you had to watch your steps at time or what!

Our friend Glenn from New Zealand though had missed that experience of walking carefully as he had brought crampons to walk on the ice & hence he just had to walk instead of being as careful as us. If you want to keep looking at the scenery whilst walking crampons would be a must have in your things to carry to Chadar. The drawback of the crampons is that whenever the Chadar is weak you have to climb the cliff’s and for that you need to remove the Crampons and walk in shoes and when you descend on the Chadar again you have to put on your crampons again! :P

Imagine a river flowing... and imagine yourself on a boat on it... thats what you feel walking on a river! Also can you see the slight raised part of ice... that is what the pressure of the water that flows underneath does. Several layers of ice form quite fast and it raises the level.

Imagine a river flowing… and imagine yourself on a boat on it… thats what you feel walking on a river! Also can you see the slight raised part of ice… that is what the pressure of the water that flows underneath does. Several layers of ice form quite fast and it raises the level.

We walked for about 3.5 hours on the first day and the whole experience was about gushing all the while how beautiful the surroundings were, how pristine they seemed thanks to all fresh snow and very few little human presence.

The chadar has ice cubes almost formed at some places like this!

The chadar has ice cubes almost formed at some places like this!

We reached one sandy beach type of spot that our guide told us was called Singra and we set up 2 tents for us and one kitchen cum dining tent.
Thats me with our guide Mr Tashi the chadar was quite under developed at this place

Thats me with our guide Mr Tashi the chadar was quite under developed at this place


Apparently quite a few people these days come to Chadar, infact so many that if you want to camp at a secluded spot you have to reach it early enough. Normally we used to walk from 8.30 to 4 pm and camped, so if you did not start early and take your spot, either you would have to walk further till you find solitude or else make do by living in some naturally formed cave. All Zanskari people travel to Leh to drop their kids and they use these caves for shelter from the wind and also to cook and spend the night and move on further on the next day.

Amazingly around 4 the direct sun goes away since we are in the pit of the gorge & whist its pretty bright the temperature all of a sudden dips. We stopped at 4pm and it started becoming darker around 6pm and darkness brought more cold and stiffer wind. We had black tea at 4.30 with biscuits and spent time chit chatting in hi-fi english with Glenn which amused us more than him I am sure! :D :mrgreen: I felt we were being a Virender Sehwag and poor Glenn was reduced to a medium pacer fending off our slurry of boundaries! :P

At 6.30 soup and popcorn were served and we wasted no time in allowing it to cool down and polished it off and were actually done with dinner by 7.30pm! Normally I would not even think about dinner at this time back home and here I was having finished dinner at 7.30.

One more important piece of advise to all Chadar enthusiasts from me is please try to keep a gap of one hour between the time you sleep and dinner. The reason behind this is nothing else but the fact that before going to sleep you can piss off whatever liquid you have in the body, for if you happen to have to get up in the middle of the night and go out of the tent and brave the unbelievable chilly strong winds boy you will have a job at hands! :mrgreen:

Thankfully our sleeping bags were quite adequate & warm and the first night on Chadar was comfortably spent. We slept at 8.30am and woke up at 7.30 am with black tea served the moment I sat up! Some five star service I say!!! :D :D

The first day was sans any accidents or any large discomfort and this spurred us and filled us with super high spirits for the next day…

I will stop this chapter here today and will continue further in my next post. Next episode… how we crossed water for the first time! :D :D

Hang on…

The Chadar Diaries – I

February 19, 2014

Guest post : Originally written in gujarati by Jay, translated by me.. 
Photographs : By Nigam and Jay.

Julley is a Ladakhi word which is as versatile a word as cheers in British English — in fact, even more so, because it means 'thank you', 'goodbye', 'hello', and just about any other positive vibe emotion you can come up with. I guess nothing better than this to start this narrative. :)

Julley is a Ladakhi word which is as versatile a word as cheers in British English — in fact, even more so, because it means ‘thank you’, ‘goodbye’, ‘hello’, and just about any other positive vibe emotion you can come up with. I guess nothing better than this to start this narrative. :)


In India’s northern most part in the Ladakh region in the Zanskar Valley flows the river Zanskar. In winter this river thanks to the extreme cold winds becomes frozen. This post is about our extreme and unbelievably satisfying experience of “The Frozen River Trek” or “Chadar Trek” as it is popularly known.

Described by man as India’s most extreme/adventurous/glamorous trek, it had captured my imagination since the last 4-5 years. However, due to no one ever getting ready to accompany me this trek remained only a distant desire. Last year though I decided that even if no one gets ready, I will accompany myself but any how get this trek checked out of my list. Its kinda amazing that once you make up your mind how things start falling into place. My childhood buddy Nigam got ready to accompany me for this trek and my happiness doubled! :) :)

“Chadar Trek” as it is popularly known is actually an ancient route that has been used traditionally by the people of Zanskar region to reach Leh. In the extremely cold winters where most roads are cut off by snow this frozen river actually becomes the easiest way to commute from Leh to Zanskar and vice versa. When I say easiest, I only mean to use it relatively! :P The river gets frozen and a layer of ice forms on it. Whilst you walk on the ice blanket you can at many times see and at most times feel that water is flowing below you. This feeling of walking on a Chadar(blanket) of ice is where this trek derives its name from.

 

After having gathered information over the years during summer trips to Leh and the internet, we had decided that we would do a Chadar walk from Leh to Lingsed. We gathered as much info as we could and barged into Decathlon Ahmedabad for a loot! We got almost all the necessary gear that we needed from here. We wanted to be well prepared and equip ourselves adequately so that we would give ourselves the best chances of survival and have a wonderful experience.

 

Finally on 20th January we left Bharuch and on 22nd Morning boarded a flight from Delhi which was Leh bound. We reached Leh’s Kushok Bakula Rimpochhe Airport at 9.15 am. The moment we hit out of the plane a dry, bone chilling breeze greeted us and welcomed us to icy yet dry and extremely cold Leh. I have been to Leh quite  a few times in summers, Nigam has been here twice too, but this was our first experience of coming to Leh in January in the peak of winter!

 

We were based at Si-ala Guest House  where we met our guide Mr Tashi Namgyal. Tashi was a warm and experienced guide and asked us to move about the town of Leh a bit, relax and rest and take it easy for a couple of days to allow our bodies to acclimatise with the surroundings. He asked us to be careful and keep taking enough liquid, since it was too cold the feeling of thirst does not come about as naturally and yet you need fluids in the body to keep you feeling better in this cold & dry region. Let me just say that we did take his advise well ;)

 

We realised how important his advise was just the same evening, a group of enthusiasts from Mumbai had come with us in the same flight were busy playing cricket in the noon, thinking that would warm up their bodies. However, almost all of them complained of a headache by night. What people at times do not understand or appreciate is the fact that at this high altitude the air is thin and oxygen is less and hence our body takes a little time to acclimatise as it is not used to such an environment. Once you allow your body to acclimatise things become much much easier and you can enjoy to the fullest.

 

We had a heater in our room but we decided against using it as we wanted to get our bodies to get ready for the trek. We were to sleep in tents or caves on the trek for 9 days and we thought lets get started and used to it. Luckily inspite of such cold weather the pipelines in our hotel had not frozen and there was flowing tap water in the bathroom. After a good nights sleep we decided to skip our bath and thought we will take a quick bath on the day we leave for the trek.

 

On day two after breakfast we left for the army store to buy the most necessary gum boots which we did not carry as they would have occupied unnecessary space. The army store fellows welcomed us with piping hot tea. :) We moved about the town and also interacted with a few other trekkers who were seen around. It struck us then that Chadar was very very popular and lots and lots of people had actually come.

Nigam, with one foot in(on) the gutter that is frozen and one foot on the road!!!

Nigam, with one foot in(on) the gutter that is frozen and one foot on the road!!!

Whilst quite a few were very well prepared some it seemed had just come to Leh and hoped to plan and find a way around Chadar! We were worried that whilst its great to dare and come, it could be a rude awakening if the blokes were not well prepared as the weather conditions are extreme. During our lunch time discussion with one couple we were taken aback when one husband signalled us to not describe the cold nights that we anticipated during the trek. He later told us he had not told his wife how cold it can actually get coz he feared she might not have come. F.Y.I it can go as low as -35ºC in the nights in the Zanskar Valley. We felt it was unfair to not properly inform someone you brought here, for spending a night in a hotel room with -35ºC is one thing and quite another being in the open in a tent or a cave!

 

Anyways, on the morning of 24th after breakfast we left for Chilling Village (apt name for a village eh! :P ) from where we were to begin our trek. Here the third trekker was to join us. The third fellow was a 65 year young adventure and trekking enthusiast Glenn Morris from New Zealand. Our guide Tashi informed that we would not start our trek from Chilling and actually drove us a little further to Tilad Sumdo. The road beyond Tilad Sumdo was not accessible and this is where we alighted our Jeep(Qualis). The moment we alighted the vehicle extremely cold and gusty winds hit me on my face to make me aware of what was in store! We soon realised that standing in the sun and shade almost fell like a 5ºC difference!

 

We walked down a 65-70 degree slope and descended on the ‘Chadar’ Our team assembled here and placed the luggage on the sleighs. Our team consisted of the three of us, our guide Tashi, 9 porters, 1 cook and 1 helper. It was 15 of us who were to be together for the next 9 days. A sense of excitement was gripping me and whilst we were looking about and getting ready to walk, Tashi announced that lets begin the trek with a Lunch!!!! :D :D :mrgreen:  Black tea was to precede all meals, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. We had black tea and a piping hot soupy macroni to fill us up and prepare for our first walk on a river albeit frozen!! :D :D :D

 

As we took our first steps on the Chadar we remarked how lucky we were to make it thus far and that so many new experiences awaited us, looking ahead I could see snow white paths, golden glistening rocks and an amazingly beautiful blue sky!!!! This was perhaps another attempt at discovering a totally new myself! :) IMG_5644

 

To be contd part -II coming soon! In the meanwhile here are a few pics for you to devour! :D :mrgreen:

 

A few pictures taken from the plane before it descended at Leh :

An aerial view! Either its white or brown!

An aerial view! Either its white or brown!

They don't call it heaven just like that do they?! :P

They don’t call it heaven just like that do they?! :P

Adjectives are just not enough to describe!

Adjectives are just not enough to describe!

Some shots from around Leh :

A view from our guest house... All the trees had lost leaves..

A view from our guest house… All the trees had lost leaves..

A few locals playing ice hockey on a roadside in Leh

A few locals playing ice hockey on a roadside in Leh

The landscape in Leh is completely unique.

The landscape in Leh is completely unique.

And finally begins our journey :

On the way to Chilling village

On the way to Chilling village

The bridge on the river Zanskar near Tilad Sumo

The bridge on the river Zanskar near Tilad Sumo

The sangam behind us, you can see the more liquid Indus merging with the more icy Zanskar! That is us too in the foreground!

The sangam behind us, you can see the more liquid Indus merging with the more icy Zanskar! That is us too in the foreground!

At some places when the water is visible and the chadar has not formed you saw water with an unbelievable turquoise colour!

At some places when the water is visible and the chadar has not formed you saw water with an unbelievable turquoise colour!

Finally on the Chadar :

The Team ready with luggage on the sleighs

The Team ready with luggage on the sleighs

The macroni we ate and began our journey :) :P

The macroni we ate and began our journey :) :P

Coming soon….

February 15, 2014

A tale of two fellows I am seriously jealous of!!! A couple of my buddies just came back from the Chadar Walk(trek). So for the next few weeks this blog is being handed over to them. A few guest posts written in gujarati will be translated into english by me and will be shared here for encouraging more travel enthusiastic people and to inspire more folks to take up exploration trips like this. So if you are interested in knowing about the most exciting trek in India and read a first hand experience of two enthusiasts watch this space. Both the fellows are not professionals trekkers or mountaineers and are ordinary people who just braved the unbelievably difficult weather in Leh!!!

 

The Chadar Diaries will soon be here….! ;) Hold on to your breath…!!! :D :D :D :D :mrgreen:

 

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Dialing Burp’s! :P

January 29, 2014

There are many and I mean many advantages of living in a small town, everything is near and almost every where you have contacts add to that the fact that you feel you are someone important in the town! However, there are some perks that big cities offer and I at times wonder if my small town would also upgrade to some of these. We never get English movies here in theatre’s, we do get them but its always dubbed in Hindi.

One more thing that always amazes me in bigger towns is the dial a dinner or ordering dinner online options! I mean you come home tired, your wife had cooked khichdi or worse she wants you to take her out to dinner and you just have no energy left the big town wala’s have a saviour in Food Panda!!!! For a petu like me it sounds like a seriously appetizing thought to have some access to something as delicious as this!

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When you just don’t want to go out, don’t want to dress, don’t want to take on the traffic, just lie on the couch neither cook nor eat home made food you have your reply in Food Panda! You have all the top brands/restaurants in one fast and simple site. Food Panda sounds to me like a knight in shining armour for such a day. You can order your choicest pizza be it from Smoking joes or Pizza hut or that refreshing Sub or Punjabi or Italian, you name it and they have the cuisine! Most top brands are already associated with them and they are growing expanding and hopefully just hopefully they will soon be in my small town!

I cannot tell you how wonderful it would be to keep watching your favourite TV show and not bother about cooking and just use your Smart Phone really smartly and use the Food Panda app on it and have dinner served without breaking a sweat! Add to that they also have discounts and schemes like pizza pe pizza free! I mean wow… ‘Sone pe Suhaga’

You could also use it to surprise someone you know by sending a surprise pizza or that dark chocolate cake their way!!! :mrgreen: *you know* *rubshandsinglee* thats an Idea! :D

Sigh… But then well as all good things in life are not always available to you, I still await Food Panda to expand to Bharuch. They already are present in Vadodara and Surat, both 75 kms away on two sides of my city. Hopefully they will soon listen to me! :D

In the meanwhile if you have not heard of them, I say check out their site! No, no… you don’t have to thank me yet, just order a pizza for me once they open services in Bharuch! :D :P

Little Yellow Flower!

January 23, 2014

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Ah
says the
Little yellow flower
looking at the sky
yearning,
perhaps
floating in the wind

I love winter rains! :)

Puppywise!

January 22, 2014

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Dude! What is it? I can’t laze in the sun? Whats your problem really!? Sigh… :roll:

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Yawn!! Mom! Your gardener won’t let me sleep in the lawn. Whats his problem!?? I just pee-ed there, thats water to the grass!!! I swear I never pooped! :P

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Guess, I will wait here on the kitchen door till lunch is cooked! Sigh.. :mrgreen:

This is how they have lunch!

No talking while eating… these fella’s have their priorities right! :D

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After lunch! This is how we again snuggle in!

zzzzzzzzzzzzz! :D :D :D :D

Do they resemble the Re-cycle signal!?

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