Chadar trek photo contest Jan 2012

Chadar trek photo contest Jan 2012

Category Photo Contest

By Sandhya UC


After multiple rounds of judging, we have finally arrived at the winners of the Chadar trek photo contest. Here are the results. Please post your comments below.


First Prize: The first prize goes to photo number 6 by Manjunath Gowda. By instinct anyone looking at this photo feels one word straightaway: “wow!”. The setting is of a frozen landscape and is of a view of Chadar that is least expected. The huge support on Facebook is another thumbs up for this photo. Congratulations Manjunath – for trying something different under a difficult situation. The photo tells the dedication you have for your hobby.



Second Prize: The second prize goes to photo number 7 by Dr. Biswarup Lahri. A Landscape photo should be not just technically correct but it should create a sense of awe and show the variety of scenery and its specialty. This photo has multiple layers showing the canyons, the snow, the frozen river and the flowing water. The exposure is perfect enough not to blow out the areas in sun and yet preserve the details in the shade.



Third Prize: The third position has a tie between two friends – Priyanka Bhaskar and Gaurav Agrawal.

Priyanka’s photo number 9 is the first winner of the 3rd prize. This kind of patterns on the ice is omnipresent on the trek. Yet, it takes a keen photographer to take the photo with the right lighting to bring out the patterns. Many have tried to take this pattern but have failed. The picture makes us feel that the Chadar trek has a lot more to show us than the frozen river.



Sharing the 3rd prize is Gaurav’s photo number 3. Sometimes one gets extra points just for noticing something different. When everyone was in awe of the scenery, the photographer managed to find a story that is so important yet conveniently forgotten. The photo of the porter carrying the load in the icy waters requires a photographer to be alert to stories. The story is poignant and true.



A note from Indiahikes


Like earlier, the response to the Chadar trek photo contest was very encouraging. The winners and the submissions get the following awards from Indiahikes.


First prize: The winner gets a Rs 5,000 Trek Voucher from Indiahikes (can be redeemed on any future trek of Indiahikes), plus a Philips Electric Shaver, plus an Indiahikes T-Shirt, plus an Indiahikes High Altitude trekker cap.

Second prize: The second runner up get Rs 2,500 Trek Voucher from Indiahikes, plus a neck warmer from Decathlon, plus an Indiahikes T-Shirt, plus an Indiahikes High Altitude trekker cap.

Third prize: The third runner up gets Rs 1,000 Trek Voucher from Indiahikes, plus a neck warmer from Decathlon, plus an Indiahikes T-Shirt, plus an Indiahikes High Altitude trekker cap. Plus an Indiahikes T-shirt.


All the photographers who have submitted photos get a ‘High altitude trekker’ cap from Indiahikes.

Those who have commented on Facebook and have got one of the finalist right, get an office pin up of the winning photo sent to them by post.


Chadar trek photo contest

Taking photographs on the Chadar frozen river trek is not easy. There are three reasons for this.

One, the temperature is always in minus. Mean day temperature runs at minus ten degrees. In the night the temperature drops to around minus twenty. In these circumstances, an avid photographer needs an inhuman amount of mental grit to compose a photograph. If composing a photograph is not enough, he/she must also adjust light, aperture settings to suit the conditions – all the time keeping their fingers exposed to the cold.

Two, the Chadar trek runs through canyons spread over 6 days of the trek. There are no open views of mountains or any other scenery. Capturing the ever changing nature of the canyons (which change by the minute and hour) is a test of the photographer’s skill.

 Finally, the ambient light is less on the Chadar trek. The sun is fleeting and almost overhead when it touches the canyons. This presents a problem of lighting for most photographers who prefer the early morning or late evening sun.

 Here are the shortlisted 12 best photos of the Chadar trek photo contest. Trekkers were asked to submit their best photos from the trek for the contest.

 The judges, Saurabh Chatterjee and Neelima Vallangi, will now run through these 12 photos and choose one among them as the winner. Before the judges choose, tell us which of these photos deserve the best photo award (use the comments box below). If your choice matches the judges, you get a special print of the best photo sent to you by post.

 The photographs selected here are in random order. The numbers attributed to the photos are to identify the photographer and do not denote any ranking by Indiahikes. Use the number and the name of the person to make your comments.

This photograph of the hide and seek games that the evening sun plays on the Chadar trek was captured by Shaunak Chitnis. 

Priyanka captures the reflection of the fleeting sun on the Chadar canyon walls. The moment lights up the entire canyon that generally is in dark.

Porters sink to their shin in frozen water to carry gears for Sahib trekkers. The reality of trekking in India, even in extreme conditions is captured by Gaurav.


The desolate Chadar frozen river trek is stripped off its romantic image in a raw capture of the trek. The icy, quiet condition of the trek is a reflection of the mood. Photo by Ashish.

Manjunath captures the soft glow of the rising sun in the middle of the Zanskar mountains.


Night shots are extremely difficult on the Chadar trek. Not only do you need to be technically perfect, you need to brave temperature at minus twenty to capture photos like this. The stars in the moonlit sky with the golden glow of the camp fire on the snow is a beautiful photo by Manjunath.


The different colours of the Chadar trek all present at the same time is captured by Biswarup Lahiri. From the blue of the sky to the indigo of the water. To the reflection of the sunlight on the water to the dark silhouette of the trekkers.


The confluence of the Zanskar with the Indus is a wide canvas. Ankur captures the landscape that gives viewers an idea of the space and the multitude of colours even on a very cloudy day. 

The Chadar frozen river is never constant. It breaks and forms in various shapes and textures. Priyanka captures the interesting patterns on the ice in this photo.

The Chadar sometimes is a long sheet of ice, like glass. Sarit brings out this nature of Chadar in this photograph.

The beautiful light and shade effect of the sun and the pattern the cloud leaves on the mountain is taken by Shaunak.

Sometimes a photograph tells a story that no words can. Even on a beautiful trek like Chadar, trekkers get exhausted and want the trek to end. This photo captures the mood of the trekkers.



Sandhya UC

Co-Founder & COO

About the author

Sandhya is a founding partner at Indiahikes. Over the past ten years, she has explored and put on the map few of the greatest Himalayan treks in India, including Kashmir Great Lakes and Kedarkantha. She is a TedX Speaker and has been awarded the Women of Worth Award by Outlook Business in 2017.

She believes in sustainable living just as she believes in sustainable trekking.

Read a feature on Sandhya in Outlook Business

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