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Transcript of Chadar Presentation
Only the best of our friends and fiercest of the enemies come and meet us.
Economy & National interest
- Preparation process began almost a year back
Spirit of Adventure........
- 2 photographers from Chennai with the spirit to explore one of the earths toughest terrains
- An old saying from one of the toughest terrains on earth : Ladakh
- Typically known as cold desert at very high altitude.
- Air tickets were booked almost 6 months back
In winter,Leh can be reached only by Air.
Most of the time flights are over booked
- Physical fitness is of extreme importance
Regular Jogging ,some 5-10km daily for two months
Long walking,over 10-20kms regularly
- The average altitude of this region is 9500 feet
- Barren and dry mountains during summer which gets covered with snow in the winter
- The summer is between July Aug and Sept.It is the best time to visit Leh as it experiences Summer and the weather is just right.
- This region experiences pleasant and extreme weather
with very little rain fall.
- Chaddar trek happens during the peak of winter when the temperature dips 20 degrees below freezing point of water.
- As an analogy to compare temperatures, similar to
Chennai has 3 climates hot, hotter and hottest, Leh has
3 climates cold, colder, coldest
- This is a strategically important post for the Indian Army
- The economy of this land is majorly driven by the Army and seasonal tourism
- All required clothing and foot wears and extreme cold protection gears were acquired well before travel
6 layer of clothing is needed.Apart,head protection,gloves,winter socks,sun glasses
- All clothing were well tried before for fitting and comfort level
- Foot wear has to be run in before the actual trek
- High altitude medicines to cope with thin high altitude sickness
- Cold freezing temperatures
- The climate further worsens with cold dry wind blowing.
- Only way to keep warm is to keep walking or doing physical exercise
- Walking on the ice is like walking on a glass floor spilled with oil. It worsens with water on ice.
- Locals do not prefer walking on spikes because it adds stress to the ankles
- Snowing can ruin the situation leading white out
- The team will consist of Guide, Porters and cook
- The photographers kit consisted of 4 cameras, 6 lens, 2 tripods and enough batteries to survive the cold temperature
- The camera cannot be used more than few minutes at a strech because of the cold weather and metal interface
- Few times the fingers almost froze to numbness
- Its advised that the person be in extreme good spiritual condition to do artistic photography in these kinds of extreme weather
- The only human instinct that works there naturally is the survival
Spirit of adventure
- The top part of the river is completely covered with ice on which we walk
- 20 cms of ice thinkness is the safest part to walk where the ice is like glass. White ice can be soft or cannot be judged
- The ice sheet is not contiguous. Its broken at places. Only an experienced ice trekker can judge the thickness of ice beneath water by probing. Walking over the Ice itself an experience,an Adventure
Ladakh & Tibet share their tradition
Tibetan Buddhism is followed
Architecture contains influences of Tibetan & Indian Style
- Some of the peaks reach 16000 ft and above.The famous Siachan Glacier is in this region.
- The Indus River is the life-line of Ladakh
Tell me, What Chadar Trek Mean??
- In the month of Jan-March, the River Zanskar,a tributary of Indus river freezes forming a sheet of ice on top of flowing water
The frozen Zanskar river, is used by the people of Zanskar to reach world outside by walking over ice
This route has been used for centuries for trade and transportation.
Now this route is also used by them to reach Leh for schooling & visiting sacred monasteries.
- In the Ladakhi Language, Chadar means blanket or a covering sheet
- In this period,the Frozen Zanskar River looks like a white sheet.Hence the name.
The walking over Ice is most reliable in the month of February, when the ice is most stable.
People of Zanskar traded butter with outside world during this frozen season.
Chadar Trek means, walking on ice
So, Whats the Challenge here??
- The trek is a walk over ice approximately 60 KM (one way)
- It would take around 7-10 days to complete the trek,depending on your physical condition
- Extreme Temperature to survive
Typically night temperature could reach -25deg C to -35 deg C. and during the day could be between -10 deg C to - 5 deg C
- Animals like Fox ,Snow Leopard visited our tents in the nights,in some occasions.
Nevertheless,they are not harmful(otherwise,we would not have been talking before this group )
- Spending nights in tents in the banks of the River.Every night ,we were astounded by the sound of ice cracking
- Thin Air .Mean,oxygen level is very low and it is not easy to do a simple climb of stair-case
- Every day we walked for 6hrs.On the way we had our lunch ,some where in the river banks
- Doing Photography has its own challenge,like setting up tripods,mounting cameras,stop walking (mean,within few minutes,cold will start hitting our nerves)
- Though,its a walk over ice,in some places crossing rivers or climbing small peak is necessary
Still feel Challenge is not sufficient enough??
Your Inner Experience,How do you feel
You realize how mighty the almighty (or nature or whatever name you wish to call)
You have no sense of time
You are in your own world
You experience the slowness around
You learn how quick you have to be
You understand, patience is a virtue
You become part of nature
You live a Nomad's Life
You experience the Monk in you
- After the rest days,Your trek starts from a place called Chilling
- Once reached Leh,you have to take a compulsory rest for two days
- This rest help you to acclimatise to the low oxygen levels
- Trek ends at Chilling
- From Chilling you start walking over Frozen Zanskar River
What you would be doing during Trek
- You would be walking approximately for 6hrs in a day
- Even talking consumes lot of your energy.So you will not even talk
- You walk over ice & broken ice
- You may climb a small peak to cross the deep & furious river
- You may be walking in the river
- You will be seeing beautiful ice formations,large piece of ice,enticing snow covers,Frozen Water Falls
- You will get to know the mighty Himalayas,its colorful rocks,snow-peak mountains
What you would be doing during Trek
- You would love the sun,for a change
- You could encounter elusive Snow leopard,if you are lucky
- You would come across Buddhist Monks
- You will endure a physical pain and joy of accomplishment
- You sleep in the tents,inside sleeping bags.
- You would not be taking bath for 10 days or more,its a different experience altogether :)
You understand,you are at the mercy of nature
You realize,without Humanism,You cannot reach your destiny
The journey in photographs
Chadar and life of Zanskar..
What moved us
the difficult; We will achieve,
the impossible; we will try
we told each other
Our journey started at Leh
- You have no mobile connections,no transportation, you cannot access doctors
- In case you are injured,you are at the mercy of local guide who accompanies you (Never worry,Locals are extremely helpful)
- You live in tents,drink water taken out from frozen river
- You eat cooked food,sufficient enough to walk
- You drink black tea with salt and butter
- Salt helps regulating the body temperature and keeps the mouth fresh
And we went till Nyerak........
A frozen water fall
We visited few monastries
We visited few monastires
We visited few monastires
We went for watching ice hockey live in India
On day 1
Acclimatisation day - just slept whole day and telling each other - Bahut tanda hai
At every step we had hurdles
We started our journey on day 3
We reached Tilat Sumdo
This is from where our trek would start
A steep climb down the gorge
We get the first kick of the adventure spirit
The unpacking and packing for the ice trek
We get the first cup of salt + butter tea
best way to keep hands warm
Pug marks of ghost of the mountains
We started life as nomads - Our first tent
@Tsomopladar on day 2 - Halt over night
Day 3 we started our journey onward
So we slided on the near by mountains to cross the broken ice part
Day 2 - towards Tsomopaldar - A smooth walk on solid ice
Luck didn't favor us - We had to return
Ice was badly broken - no one took any risk
We returned to same camp site
Spent whole day doing serios landscape photography
Next day we decided to move on
Luck is the time when opportunity meets preparedness
But it was not an easy path
Steep climbs to cross broken parts of the river
Waiting times for porters to transport
Take rest and be cool
Have fun / go off the track to explore
When situation demands
We walked with specific target and destination in mind
Broken parts squeezed time of our schedule
A good team is essential
A good companion
To reach the destination having fun
Nyerak pul from below
We slept on top of a cliff
Watching the frozen world around us
- For the 10 days,you are dis- connected from your external world
Day 3 tent
Day 4 tent
Fine art landscapes from Chadar trek
- Photography can be used for factual representation
- Photography can be used for artistic representation
- Value of a factual photograph depends upon how close it represents the reality and not the photographer’s feelings or emotions
- Art is concerned with expression of emotions, feelings and opinions
- Art is something we want not some thing we need
- Needless to say our lives would be less meaningful without art