Sky High Treks and Tours
The Chadar (Ice Path) to Phuktal Gompa return (18 days)
This arduous and challenging trek takes you along the frozen Zanskar river from Chiling to the spectacular Phuktal gompa and back. It should only be attempted on the advice of local guides because safe passage depends on the ice conditions on the river.

Confluence of the Indus and Zanskar rivers
Confluence of the Indus and Zanskar rivers
It is possible only during January and February when temperatures are sufficiently cold for the river to freeze. It should not be attempted after the beginning of February because of the risk of ice melting and trapping you in the gorge on the way back.

The trail is sometimes on the ice and sometimes along the river bank. The first 4-5 days are in the spectacular Zanskar Gorge where sheer rock walls tower hundreds of meters above the narrow river, and rock of extraordinary colour and hue is eroded in sensuous whorls and hollows with the action of water over the millennia.

The upper valley of the Zanskar
The upper valley of the Zanskar
Once through the gorge you reach the upper valley with its huge vistas and tiny villages like specks in the snow. The trail continues to Padum and continues southeast for three days to reach the settlement of Purni then turns northeast to follow the Tsarap Chu to Phuktal.

The monastery is situated at the mouth of a large cave high above the Tsarap river. The buildings appear to hang precariously on the cliff face. You can make a return trip to Phuktal from Purni in one day.

The route back to Chiling retraces the route in because alternative routes out cross high passes that are closed with snow.

Despite the risks, this is a stupendous journey quite unlike any other.

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