If you love trekking in India then there is one trek that every trek lover would like to experience in their lifetime and that is Chadar Trek.
But for Good or for Bad Reasons this Chadar Trek will be closing soon. But will that solve the problem?
Let’s find out.
For most of us, we know chadar trek as an adventurous 140km trek on a frozen river But this frozen river is way more than just a trek. Let me take you back in time.
What is Chadar Trek History?
What we know as a trek is actually a very local affair. This frozen river is like a highway for the local people of Zanskar valley from ages. In winters when the temperature goes below -10 C and the local people of Zanskar valley get cut off from the rest of the world because of heavy snowfall on Pensi La pass.
So the only way for the local people in Zanskar valley is to use this frozen river as a walking road to reach Leh and earn some livelihood. People even use this to send their kids to school hostels in Leh.
More about the history of chadar trek.
So, Why they will close Chadar Trek?
Now everything was going fine, until from the last few years. This frozen highway which was used just by locals has now become a hot spot for trekking lovers in India.
This trek is only available in winters because during that time Zanskar river is frozen to make a walkable path. Now from the last few years, this trek is like a hot spot for all trekking lovers in India or abroad. On any give trekking day, there are around 300-400 trekkers on this frozen river at different locations.
Shocking but its true.
Now because of this heavy human intervention, the ice or the frozen river is melting very fast. At some places, it’s not even getting time to freeze, because every day in winter so many people are walking on it.
It might sound like an adventure for most of us to walk on freezing ice river and at some parts getting into 2 feet deep bone-chilling water. But this is a lifeline for some people who are struggling for daliy food.
If we treat that so badly just for our adventure then some day or the other government will close it for outside visitors. Not just that,
Are they Officially closing Chadar Trek?
There is no official announcement or final deadline yet but if this is the way we continue it will surely get close in a year or two max. We have seen that for Kheerganga trek and some other treks in Uttrakhand. If we blindly exploit the nature then how can we or our coming generations enjoy it?
There is no direct notice that Chadar Trek will be closed because of this over tourism, But there is something else which will surely lead to close this trek and i.e. Zanskar Highway.
Yes, this part is confirmed and will surely effect Chadar Trek. But this effect will be both Good and Bad. Here is why.
The Indian government is constructing a new highway to connect Zanskar valley to Leh, which will an all-weather road. Now it will take time to complete the project but it will help the people more than 140000 people living in the Zanskar valley.
How this is a positive step?
Well, this will be a great help for the people of Zanskar. Now they can easily stay connected to the rest of the world even in harsh winter. Now they don’t need to use the Chadar / frozen Zanskar river to walk on it and reach Leh.
People of Zanskar can now use this new highway to go to Leh town and do their jobs and business easily. Small from hostels do not need to risk their lives to cross the frozen Zanskar river to reach home in Zanskar or school in Leh.
This will be life-changing for the people of Zanskar. But, There here is the opposite side to this.
How this will close the Chadar Trek?
Once this highway will be ready to use this will make easy access to anyone to step on the chadar and do a small day hike and get a small experience of walking on the frozen river, which will actually end the actual chadar trek which is 6-7 days long.
But this can lead to another problem. Everyone will now have easy access to the chadar so there will be more exploitation, There will be a great chance of the highway will get commercialized which will make it worse.
I think the government needs to put some strict laws before making the highway available for public use so that we won’t kill the beauty of the Zanskar river and the valley. I hope this new change brings a lot of changes and for better but it’s we who need to act wisely and think twice about our actions so that we can make a better tomorrow.
Let us know what you think about these recent changes in Chadar Trek.