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THE BRAHMATAAL TREK

One of the finest winter treks, BrahmaTaal offers magnificent views of Mt. Trishul & Mt. Nanda Ghunti.

Brahmatal is a classic winter trek that can be done in January & February. Most of the trek is on snow, which makes it exhilarating.

Frozen glacial lakes

It’s a divine experience camping beside the frozen shores of Bekaltal. And then the ascent to a near-frozen Brahmatal is a feast for the eyes & the heart.

And, when you get to the open, snow covered meadows near Brahmatal, the full grandeur of the trek hits you. Stretched across the sky are the big mountains of Garhwal, and everywhere around you are the white snow fields of Brahmatal.

Breathtaking views from the summit

March and April offer unmatched view from the summit. In May and June, when it is peak trekking season, the smoky haze over the mountains could make the views slightly disappointing. However, in winter, which often extends to March, mountain views are worth dying for! More often than not, you see clear blue skies that stretch across the horizon. From the Brahmatal top, you see mighty Himalayan ranges in every direction. Summits that rise above 7,000 meters are common and nowhere else in the country can you see these big mountains at such close quarters. Just to see this magic, one must trek between mid December and March. 

It is impossible to peel your eyes away from Mt. Nanda Ghunti and Mt. Trishul once you’re face to face with them on Brahmatal top.

Snow-laden forests

Since this trek is still largely unexplored, there is negligible crowd. The silence of the forests is so deep that you could hear a squirrel scamper through the snow. And only the soft crunch of snow under your feet to break your thoughts and the silence. 


THE DETAILED ITINERARY

OPTION 1

Day 1:

Drive down to Lohajung, the base-camp for this trek, from Kathgodam; a drive of 250 odd kms.

Day 2:

Trek from Lohajung to Bekaltal.

  • Altitude: 9,600 ft (2,900 m)
  • Time taken: 5 hours, 5.5 km
  • Gradient: Moderate; gradually ascending through forests on well defined trails

The trek begins from Lohajung central market(chowk). 

As you climb higher, on your left, you will be able to see the Kali Valley, where Kali and Pindar rivers join.

At approx 8,500 ft, you will find a 10 metre bridge (known as Link-gaad), which will help you cross the stream. After around two hours, you will reach Begum, where you can rest for some time. This place provides splendid views of Navali Bugyal and Bagdi Bugyal. After 10-15 minutes of walking from Begum, you will find another stream.  From here, an hour’s walk will bring you to Gujrani stream. From here, it is approximately 75 minutes walk to Bekaltal. This lake is a beauty in the midst of oak forests.

Camp near the small adjacent lake, Khopdaliya.

Day 3:

Trek from Bekaltal to Brahmatal.

  • Altitude: 10,440 ft (3,182 m)
  • Time taken: 4-5 hours, 7 km
  • Gradient: Moderate

Initial steep climb for an hour brings you to a meadow where you ascend gently, followed by a gradual descent to Brahmatal.

The trail starts out of the campsite and climbs steeply into the Oak and Rhododendron forest. After an hour of ascent, the trail opens out to a meadow. The gently ascending meadow walk brings you to the highest point of the day at 11,500 ft. From here, it is a very gradual descent to Brahmatal.

The Brahmatal campsite at 10,351 ft is 500 meters away from the lake.

Day 4:

Brahmatal to Brahmatal Peak to Tilbudi.

  • Altitude: 12,250 ft (3,734 m) to  11,240 ft (3,426 m)
  • Time taken: 5 hours, 4.7 km
  • Gradient: Moderate; slow zigzag walks while ascending

A grand panorama of some of the highest mountains in India awaits you at the Brahmatal top.

Today is the visually most fascinating day of the entire trek. It begins with a 40 minute climb through oak and rhododendron forests, which brings you above the tree line and out in the open meadows. From here, it is a continuous, gradual ascent till you reach the top.

As you reach the summit, an entire panorama of mountains opens up. You have Chaukhambha, Mandir, Mana, Nilgiri, Neelkanth, Trishul, Nanda Ghunti, Maitoli and mountains stretching all the way to the Panchachuli range.

After spending some time at the top, begin your descent towards Tilbudi. This part of the trail is completely untouched.

The descent is along a ridge which is surrounded by alpine grass and birch trees. The well made path has been put in place by the Forest department. The vegetation is completely different from what you saw on the first two days of the trek.

After half an hour of walking on this ridge, you reach a platform like area. From here, you get 180 degree views of Himalayan ranges. Prominent mountains that you see include Bhagirathi, Chaukhamba, Neelkanth, Avalanche Peak, Mana, Kamet, Balakun, Trishul and Nanada Ghunti. The vegetation changes on this untouched trail – you walk through alpine grasses and soon enter a birch forest.

As you continue further on the ridge, the view closes and you enter a forest. Trek through dense rhododendron and oak forests on this stretch. The forest eventually opens on to another flat ground, which is Tilbudi.

You reach Tilbudi in around 2 hours. From the campsite, you can clearly see the entire trail of the Roopkund trek, including Ali Bugyal, Asia’s largest meadow. And the icing on the cake is the view at sunset. The entire range of mountains you saw earlier at the top turns reddish as the sun goes down.

Day 5:

Tilbudi to Wan

  • Time taken: 3-4 hours, 3.5 km trek.
  • Trek gradient: Moderate.

Begin the descent to Wan right after breakfast. The trail goes through thick oak and rhododendron forests once again. It is well made all the way to Wan.

Day 6:

Early breakfast. And drive back to Kathgodam from Wan.

 

 

OPTION 2

Day 1:

Drive down to Lohajung, the base-camp for this trek, from Kathgodam; a drive of 250 odd kms.

Day 2:

Trek from Lohajung to Bekaltal.

  • Altitude: 9,600 ft (2,900 m)
  • Time taken: 5 hours, 5.5 km
  • Gradient: Moderate; gradually ascending through forests on well defined trails

The trek begins from Lohajung central market(chowk). 

As you climb higher, on your left, you will be able to see the Kali Valley, where Kali and Pindar rivers join.

At approx 8,500 ft, you will find a 10 metre bridge (known as Link-gaad), which will help you cross the stream. After around two hours, you will reach Begum, where you can rest for some time. This place provides splendid views of Navali Bugyal and Bagdi Bugyal. After 10-15 minutes of walking from Begum, you will find another stream.  From here, an hour’s walk will bring you to Gujrani stream. From here, it is approximately 75 minutes walk to Bekaltal. This lake is a beauty in the midst of oak forests.

Camp near the small adjacent lake, Khopdaliya.

Day 3:

Trek from Bekaltal to Brahmatal.

  • Altitude: 10,440 ft (3,182 m)
  • Time taken: 4-5 hours, 7 km
  • Gradient: Moderate

Initial steep climb for an hour brings you to a meadow where you ascend gently, followed by a gradual descent to Brahmatal.

The trail starts out of the campsite and climbs steeply into the Oak and Rhododendron forest. After an hour of ascent, the trail opens out to a meadow. The gently ascending meadow walk brings you to the highest point of the day at 11,500 ft. From here, it is a very gradual descent to Brahmatal.

The Brahmatal campsite at 10,351 ft is 500 meters away from the lake.

Brahmatal to Brahmatal Peak

  • Altitude: 12,250 ft (3,734 m) to  11,240 ft (3,426 m)
  • Time taken: 2 hours
  • Gradient: Moderate; slow zigzag walks while ascending

A grand panorama of some of the highest mountains in India awaits you at the Brahmatal top.

Today is the visually most fascinating day of the entire trek. It begins with a 40 minute climb through oak and rhododendron forests. This brings you above the tree line and out in the open meadows. From here, it is a continuous, gradual ascent till you reach the top.

As you reach the summit, an entire panorama of mountains opens up. You have Chaukhambha, Mandir, Mana, Nilgiri, Neelkanth, Trishul, Nanda Ghunti, Maitoli and mountains stretching all the way to the Panchachuli range.

Return to the Brahmataal campsite.

 

Day 4:

Brahmataal to Tilbudi.
 
Begin your descent towards Tilbudi. This part of the trail is completely untouched.

The descent is along a ridge which is surrounded by alpine grass and birch trees. The well made path has been put in place by the Forest department. The vegetation is completely different from what you saw on the first two days of the trek.

After half an hour of walking on this ridge, you reach a platform like area. From here, you get 180 degree views of Himalayan ranges. Prominent mountains that you see include Bhagirathi, Chaukhamba, Neelkanth, Avalanche Peak, Mana, Kamet, Balakun, Trishul and Nanada Ghunti. The vegetation changes on this untouched trail – you walk through alpine grasses and soon enter a birch forest.

As you continue further on the ridge, the view closes and you enter a forest. Trek through dense rhododendron and oak forests on this stretch. The forest eventually opens on to another flat ground, which is Tilbudi.

You reach Tilbudi in around 2 hours. From here, you can clearly see the entire trail of the Roopkund trek, including Ali Bugyal, Asia’s largest meadow. And the icing on the cake is the view at sunset. The entire range of mountains you saw earlier at the top turns reddish as the sun goes down.

Tilbudi to Wan

The trail goes through thick oak and rhododendron forests once again. It is a descent, well made all the way to Wan.

Day 5:

Early breakfast. And drive back to Kathgodam from Wan.

 

Get lost in the memories forever!

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