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Ice, salt and sand

Ice, salt and sand
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First Published: Fri, Jan 14 2011. 04 31 PM IST

Frozen over: A trekker walks past a wall of ice along the Chadar
Frozen over: A trekker walks past a wall of ice along the Chadar
Updated: Fri, Jan 14 2011. 04 31 PM IST
During winter, the Zanskar river in Ladakh is called the Chadar as it turns into a sheet of frozen ice. The river turns into a highway that Ladakhis have used as a trade route for centuries.
Frozen over: A trekker walks past a wall of ice along the Chadar
This month, Ladakh Eco Trips is organizing a 20-day trek along the Chadar. It will be a hard, high-endurance trek, say trek organizers Tashi and Gaurav, that will aim to recapture the spirit of the Zanskari traders who used to travel down the valley to trade metalwork and furs. They’ll also give trekkers an insight into the culture of the Zanskar valley, and make the trek more than just high-adrenalin adventure sports.
Trek highlights include opportunities to see the untouched Zanskar valley before all-weather roads are built through the region, as well as home stays in the valley, giving trekkers the opportunity to see the Ladakhi way of life up close, and the chance to see Himalayan wildlife as red foxes and ibexes migrate to lower altitudes for the winter.
The trek will also include visits to medieval monasteries.
The trek, priced at Rs59,000, starts at Leh on 22 January, and ends on 5 February in Leh. Trekkers will have to arrange their own transportation to Leh. Ten per cent of the proceeds will be donated for the rehabilitation of victims of the Leh cloudburst in August.
For a detailed itinerary, as well as advice on how experienced you need to be and the gear you need to carry, email ladakhecotours@gmail.com or call Tashi (9419815906) or Gaurav (9871511133).
Kutch Calls
Maritime life: The Kutch salt marshes have a unique regional culture.
Cultural historian Navina Jafa will be leading a cultural tour to Kutch from 11-14 February. It will include visits to an Ajrakh block printing workshop, Bhuj’s “silver bazaar” and textile museum, participation in pottery, embroidery and leather workshops in the Banni salt desert and a walk through a boatbuilding village, where participants will get to see the entire boatbuilding process. Jafa is a specialist in heritage activity, and participants will gain a deeper understanding of the handicrafts, religious practices, and maritime lifestyle of the Kutch region and peoples.
The tour rate is Rs23,542 per person, exclusive of airfare. For details, contact Navina Jafa at njafa@airtelmail.in or 011-46564873.
Luxe Oasis
Old-worldly: Suryagarh is a luxury hotel near Jaisalmer
Suryagarh, Jaisalmer, has announced special room rates until 31 March. A two-night/three-day package is available for Rs24,700 for a double occupancy room, with complimentary breakfast and a choice of complimentary lunch or dinner. Guided trips to the Kuldhara ruins, the Desert National Park and the Sam dunes are available on request.
For reservations, log on to www.suryagarh.com or call 0141-2389077.
Write to lounge@livemint.com
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First Published: Fri, Jan 14 2011. 04 31 PM IST