Tag Archives: Chadar trek

By

Inspiro India Official

Blog | Travel

27 November 2017

Traveller of the Week: Neer Patra

Neer Patra has always been on a travelling spree, right from his school days in Varanasi to his graduation from Allahabad and then pursuing an MBA from IBS Hyderabad.

Originally from Odisha, Neer is an Investment Banker living in Delhi for the past 6 years. He has always wanted to visit as many places as possible in his lifetime which also happens to be his goal for now.

 

Neer Patra

 

Neer also wants other people to travel and explore our beautiful city, a reason why he started sharing images from his travels on social media. He also admits not everyone can visit every place, so he makes it a point to showcase them through photography. He doesn’t mention or portray himself to be a traveller or a photographer. He hardly takes his camera out when visiting a town and steers away from mentioning anything in his social media bio.

 

‘I think leaving for one place and then reaching another, where everything, people, culture, food everything is different from your last visited place and that’s motivation enough for anyone to go to new places and explore more’, says the explorer.

 

The cycle continues, it is deep-rooted in him since childhood which is why he can never stop exploring new places in the world. A thought vested in him during the times he’d visit his hometown twice a year whilst his father was posted in Varanasi, the entire 24-hour train journey passed through 3 different states. A long 6-7 hour road journey by bus crossed multiple villages. The constant travels to his hometown and his very first trip as a student to Chittaranjan, a small city in Bihar is where his love for travel was born! ‘If you talk about my very first trek or encounter with mountains, it was my schools days of grade 9 when I was NCC cadet and went to Dhanlauti in Uttarakhand for 11 days of trekking and camping’, he says.

 

Though not a full-time traveller, Patra loves his job and makes it a point to travel twice a month. Not so fond of travelling in big groups, hiring a travelling or trekking agency for his expeditions is a strict no-no. He loves travelling solo or with 1-2 people only if need be which is a personal choice as well.

He does admit travelling with a group to be good fun,  as one meets like-minded people which also helps in minimizing travelling expenses. ‘But I feel like going solo gives me a lot of confidence and helps me to believe in my own ability to make decisions. It makes me feel more independent’, says Neer Patra.

 

‘I always believe a well-planned travel cannot go haywire especially when you keep going to mountains, you have to have A or B plan ready’, says Neer. It makes a person mentally and physically strong to take on the challenges to be faced in the mountains. Sometimes a spontaneous trip may end up in emptying one’s pockets, where a planned trip is more budget friendly.

 

The traveller shoots with a Nikon D810 with a wide angle lens of 14-24 mm. He also likes to use his 85 mm lens which makes a part of his must-haves for travelling. A medicine kit, headlamps, GPS, some dry fruits and vitamin bars are a few essentials to carry along!

 

Patra loves trying local delicacies, learning their language and the culture and story associated with the place.

He has travelled to more than 20 states of the country and wishes to explore the northeast region of India. He is travelling to Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh next month, ticking off two states from the northeast!

He also deems Kerala and the ‘Seven Sisters of India’ to be a must visit for all the travellers out there, not to forget, Norway and Greenland if you’re planning an international trip!

 

Taj Mahal, Agra

Varanasi

Zanskar River

Nubra Valley

Chadar Trek

Key Monastery, Spiti

Stok Kangri

Varanasi Assi Ghat

Chadar Trek

 

One of many interesting stories during his travel was during his recent expedition to ‘Stok Kangari’. Not sure if he’d be able to reach the top, he was told by many locals that he’d be the first one in this year to climb in the month of May. Where half of the climbers returned half way from the incredibly tough trek as said by the locals, he kept going only because he was travelling solo with a local guide and porter-cum-cook!

‘It wouldn’t have been possible if we had come here with a group because in the mountains, most of the time you end giving up only because the fellow trekker has given up’, said the local guide to Patra once they were on the top!

 

Last but not the least, ‘The world is beautiful and you cannot see everything in your one life’, is what Neer Patra has learnt from his years travelling around the country.

Words by Harpreet
Images by ©Neer Patra

 

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By

Inspiro India Official

Blog | Travel

17 June 2017

A trek to remember – Chadar Trek on the frozen river of Zanskar

Situated in spectacularly jagged, arid mountains of Ladakh is India’s coldest river Zanskar. And come the winters, this incredible body of water transforms itself into a carpet of thick ice, locally referred to as Chadar.

Over the years, this frozen wonder has been attracting countless adventure-seeking enthusiasts for what we now know as the Chadar Trek. Named in Lonely Planet’s list of the world’s top 10 treks, it is one of the most thrilling experiences in the Himalayas. To complete this trek means to be able to claim to have walked for over 150 kilometres in temperatures dipping 35 below 0.

The only way to reach here is by air, followed by a 4-hour journey from the city of Leh. Once you are at the starting point, a small village called Chilling, you are on your own to brave nature’s amazing and extreme form. Not for the faint-hearted, it is a full-scale winter expedition that will test you at all twists and turns and the occasional thin sheet of ice. Never having walked on ice before, the first couple of days will ensure you develop a strong resistance to falling with a loud thud. And when finally you get used to walking, you can start appreciating the impressive white landscape all around you. It is something you will have never seen before.

The full-scale trek is 15 days long and will make you stop at three villages over the entire journey. Each village is different from the other, and the warmth of the people is in stark contrast to the weather you will face every day. You will bunk at village guesthouses, at caves, tents where the luxury of a cave is not available and learn to admire the things often forgotten with the fast-paced metro life. Never will you get a chance to see so many stars amidst the sweet music of a flowing river and crackling bonfire.

The guide and the helpers are all excellent cooks, so be ready to enjoy a sumptuous hot meal every day. With their piping hot black tea to the sour and warm butter tea and the quintessential Maggi, you are always left asking for more. Those get even better at guesthouses, where you meet other trekkers and share stories of your life and times. The villages on the way are Nrerak, Lingshed and Padum. Each has its own monastery situated on the hills above. The Karsha monastery, a couple hours away from the village of Padum, which is the last stop of the trek before you start the journey back, is one of the biggest monasteries in the Zanskar valley.

 

 

 

Not only the monasteries, but the spectacles of huge frozen waterfalls greet you at every other turn. You can only look in amazement as to how something so utterly majestic is waiting to welcome you.

Along the way, you will encounter really thin sheets of ice, and that is where the experience of your guide will be a making or a breaking factor. There are certain parts where there is no ice at all, and you have to negotiate such a sector going around the mountains.

Be it the snow-clad hills on your way to Lingshed, or having warm lugdi (local alcohol) to keep you from freezing, every day has something new to offer and you are left wondering as to how this simple frozen carpet of ice finds something different every day to fascinate you.

You can call your loved ones from the village of Padum, but by the time you reach there, this surreal path has you enchanted enough that you forget about the world you left behind. And by the time you are back, having walked more than what you manage in a city in 6 months, you cannot help but have become so fond of the place that saying goodbye brings tears to your eyes.

For anyone who is trying to find something that will give them a sense of fulfilment, a huge adrenaline rush, and a chance to experience winter like you never have before, your search ends, and the Chadar Trek begins.

Words by Nisarg Malde

 

Photos by Bharat Baswani

 

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