"It is a phenomenal experience. Sun rays make a kaleidoscope of colours on the frozen river and under every step the ice crackles…,” a trekker described Chadar in Ladakh.
On the frozen bed of river Zanskar, which takes the trekkers through the remote valley in Ladakh, is Chadar, a track of 105 km.
Every winter, the river freezes and forms a gateway to Leh for the people living in Padum, which is the largest town in Zanskar.
"The locals there believe that Chadar is protected by its spirits, the day they will go, Chadar will vanish as well. In their innocence I see trust, says a trekker, Rajive Sharma from Panchkula.
Unfortunately, the magical place is fast falling prey to the menace of travelers and trekkers to the place. Urging people and the government to protect Chadar from littering, Rajive said the track needs attention of the government and environmentalists.
"It was heartbreaking to see the garbage left on the Chadar," Rajive says, adding, “It is a miracle of nature but with the 'do nots' turning into 'dos' it is sure to turn into a memory soon .The government should intervene to protect the Chadar".
Another trekker, Manoj Tomar points to the monopoly of a private tour operating organisation. He said trekkers are often put through harassment if they do not go through this tour operator.
The two trekkers suggested that the administration should provide medical back up, toilet facility and should secure proper entry and exit of all individuals taking the trek. They further suggested that the number of trekkers on Chadar should be limited. These trekkers also raised questions about forcible collection of Rs.300 by All Ladakh Tourist Union in the name of providing rescue facility and road clearance, which is rarely provided.