Zangskar

Zanskar or Zahar (locally) or Zangskar is a subdistrict or tehsil of the Kargil district, which lies in the Indian union territory of Ladakh. The administrative centre is Padum. Zanskar, together with the neighbouring region of Ladakh, was briefly a part of the kingdom of Guge in Western Tibet.

Zanskar being half way through the pass, some 35 km, after Rangdum. It is spread over more than 5,000 Sq.Km. Zanskar remains cut off from the rest of the world for more than eight months a year due to blockade of the Penzi La. Besides there are no air service. Today Zanskar is one of the least interfered with microcosms of Ladakh and one of the last surviving cultural settlers of Tibet. Put simply, systems such as polyandry, which are more or less extinct in Leh town and in the more advanced villages of Leh district, still survive in some pockets of Zanskar. In 1999 around a quarter of Zanskar still practiced polyandry. By then several shops and spring up in Padum and you could actually by things with money.


The Chadar trek, which is an inaccessible journey done in winter in the Zanskar valley of Ladakh region is called in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The height of the walls of the steep cliffs of the Zanskar valley is found to be 600 meters and the Zanskar River (a tributary of the Indus River) is only 5 meters wide in some places. The Chadar Trek is the frozen Zanskar River, which provides routes for locals and tourists to use in the Zanskar Valley during winter.  This place has been used as a trade route by the locals for centuries  and is a fairly well established trek.

About Trek: Chadar Trek is an exciting and adventurous trek in India. In local language "chadar" means layer indicating "river of ice layer". The Chadar Trek is basically a demonstration on the frozen river called the "Zanskar River",  during the summer this river does not disappoint the enthusiastic tourist at that time it is an ideal place for river rafting expedition. It transforms into a snow sheet during the winter where the famous sheet trek is done.  In the harsh winter months of Ladakh, there is only one way for locals to come to the frozen Zanskar River as connecting Leh and Zanskar and still function traditionally. It has been used by the locals for centuries. The National Geographic Channel's documentary first finds the outside world aware of this journey by locals, and since then the sheet-frozen river journey has gained popularity. One of the best inaccessible journey existing in the planet by many people.

Chadar trek has been attracting tourists from all over the world for many years, it is one of the most exciting and challenging tracks, covering a distance of about 105 km on foot, completing an average of 15–17 km each day. The best time to visit the Chadar is January February,  when the temperature sometimes goes down to -30 to -35 degrees during the winter, causing the Zanskar River to look like a glass.

Under Chadar Road Construction: Currently, a road is under construction which is likely to be completed within a few years to maintain connectivity all year between Leh and Zanskar. Locals have been demanding this road for a long time which will make their lives a lot easier, especially during winter to get emergency medicine. Road construction has disturbed local wildlife, mainly the elusive snow leopard. This area used to be a staple for snow leopards in winter, but now they move up and down the valley. Once the road starts, a traditional culture will end.

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