In your childhood, remember the times when your parents had to hold on to you whenever you took a sudden decision to enter the unknown? Whether it be an ice cream van or occasionally going to the cricket ground. Didn't you put up all that nonsense to go to your aunt's or grandparents' house, who lived hundreds of miles away, so that you could discover a new place to play? Do you think we've all lost our zest for life in the mad rush of urbanity?
There is a primitive tendency in humans to explore the unknown. Staying stationary is simply not part of our nature. Our hearts beat faster when we see pictures of a beautiful site or when we see that a friend has shared a post about his trip to Ladakh, even if we choose to settle down, earn income, and save rather than travel.
Ritish Talwar has the same story; however, once he found his inner call to scale the unscaled, there was no turning back for him. He states, "I enjoy traveling and exploring new places. It is my preference to visit offbeat, less commercialized locations. I aim to travel every other month to explore new destinations."
Chadar It Is!
Ritish decided to tackle his long-held dream of walking the majestic Chadar trek at the start of New Year 2018. "I have always wanted to experience a trek like Chadar to test my limits. I knew that one day I would be doing the Chadar trek as soon as I saw a picture of the Nerak Waterfalls. Finally, I made the trek this year. The natural grandeur of Chadar truly impressed me."
Challenging Solo Journey
A few of his friends were also interested in the trip, but destiny had other plans for him. A group trek turned into a solo challenge at the last minute when all his friends canceled the excursion. Since it was the first time I had traveled independently, the choice to go solo was a bit challenging, but in the end, it was probably the most rewarding experience of my life.
In case you are unaware, as you should be, Chadar is one of the most arduous treks in India's Himalayan region, in which you walk on the freezing river in sub-zero temperatures. You can readily encounter stories about the Chadar trek on social media, including those from National Geographic and Discovery. A nine-day tour through the Zanskar region will allow you to become immersed in the soulful peace of the area while also testing your mental and physical strength. For a trek of this magnitude, one must be in good shape and highly motivated in order to achieve the euphoria that awaits upon completion.
In total preparation and with the determination to succeed in the trek, Ritish boarded a flight from Delhi to Leh, where he began his nine-day itinerary of the Chadar trek in the Himalayas.
Below are excerpts from Ritish's own account of his trip, which he was eager to share.
Air Terminal in Delhi
“As the journey began from the Delhi airport, I met a fellow tripmate who was traveling from Bangalore. This fellow was to be my tent mate for the entire trek.”
“When I got out of the plane at the Leh airport, the cold was bone-chilling. Man, it was frigid! This was my first visit to Leh, so I am in awe of the majestic Himalayas, the airport, and the surrounding landscapes!”
“We met our fellow travelers at the guest house, where we rested for the day.”
The Base Camp
“We started our epic journey to the base camp the following day. One of the trip's highlights was seeing the confluence of the Zanskar and Indus rivers.”
Getting Scared Excited
“The group was all excited about taking their first steps on the Chadar when they reached base camp. What a wonderful experience it was. We encountered many travelers returning at the base camp, citing inclement Chadar conditions, which worried us a little bit.”
“We got a glimpse of what would happen during the trek during our first night in the tent at the base camp. The ice-covered our caps, eyelids, and so forth. Despite the cold, it was absolutely breathtaking!”
It's Trek Time!
“The next day, as if learning to walk, we fell, slipped, and slid our way to the beginning of our trek. With the help of our amazing guides, we identified the right Chadar for walking and avoided bad patches. We arrived at our first camp.”
“During the following two days, we traveled from sled to sled, following the sun in the bitter cold and following our cooks for dinner and lunch.
As it should be, the guides, the porters, and the cooks of the Chadar trek are the real heroes. They work selflessly to ensure that we enjoy a safe and memorable trek.”
“Our last stop was The Frozen Nerak Waterfalls, and I must say that just the sight of it was absolutely breathtaking. An experience I shall never forget. What we all felt was reflected in the joy on our faces. Just like children, everyone was taking pictures, intent on capturing the sheer magnificence of the Nerak Waterfalls.”
“On the following day, we returned to base camp. We arrived at the base camp within 2-3 days, sliding, playing, and collecting memories for a lifetime. Our trek was uneventful, and we all returned safely.”
“While on the trek, I had the thought in my mind to take the holy dip in the Zanskar because, according to the locals, your trek is not complete if you do not dip your feet in the icy cold Zanskar waters.
With all the guts I could muster, I plunged into the icy waters of Zanskar. The dip was one of my best experiences, though I had a minor blackout.”
He was sort of reliving those moments while recounting the trip, which became a part of him forever. Those who undertake the Chadar trek are said to return with an out-of-this-world experience, a feeling of positivity.
In addition to Ritish's ideas, Thrillophilia also had a few of its own to work on to make the experience more thrilling, and we've already started on them.
Don't hesitate to take that trip on your bucket list - now is the time to let go of chores, restrictions, and inhibitions. You'll be glad you did.