Sarchu: Land of the cold

Sarchu is a small plateau of sorts which is at the intersection of 3-4 valleys. I am assuming that because of this unique location, it is constantly windy. Now, during the day all seems rather pleasant at Sarchu. The sun shines, the wind blows and there are places where you can relax and eat the usual maggi or go a little offbeat and have some boiled eggs with tea. But the real horror of Sarchu starts as the night starts to descend and everything seems to go dark, cold and eerie.

We happened to be camping in Sarchu on one such night. It was cold. We were shivering through our bones. The chattering of teeth could be heard across the valley. The wind was howling outside the tent. For the most part I was scared about going out at night to pee! It would freeze on its way out. But that was me. The others had their own idea of Sarchu’s horror. Akshay was dying with cold and an upset stomach. Over burdened with four heavy blankets, he propped up his head from the shadows and pleaded us to cover him up with one more. Thank heavens that we were a group of 3 in a camp meant for 8 people, so we had the luxury of 16 blankets around us. After throwing a fifth blanket on Akshay, we prayed one last thought for his life and let him be till morning.

As Akshay was close to meeting his maker, RK decided it was time to take Sarchu head on. At 3 in the morning, RK went out for a stroll to the river. It was pitch black. Wind was piercingly chilly. And he hardly had any real warm clothes on. But he went. To do what, god only knows. It was like a horror flick where the bravest is the one who does the unthinkable and comes up triumphant.

So, we were all alive in the morning. The dread of Sarchu had passed and it was time to move on. All these reality shows about fearlessness, they must visit Sarchu and ask the participants to spend a night outside. Many will die, for sure, but the ones who survive will really be the ones who are fearless.



Watch the “horrific” and cold night here

Ladakh Ladakh Videos

Sarchu to Leh

Nakeela Pass, Lachung La, Gata Loops, Pang, Tanglang La. A very scenic drive.

Ladakh Ladakh Videos

Cold Cold Sarchu

A night stop at Sarchu, certainly one of the most cold nights on our trip.