6 Days 5 Nights
Steeped in mythos, Brahmatal is a lake nestling in the depths of Uttarakhand Himalayas. Winter sweeps alluringly on the slopes here, making Brahmatal one of the rare Himalayan destinations available for trekking in December, January, February, and March.
Pull factors are many on this trek—changing vistas, from deep and shadowy forests of oaks and rhododendrons to snow-covered meadows, lakeside camping at Bekaltal, the alpine Brahmatal lake vicinity, and a climactic vision of fabulous high peaks glittering across a brilliant sky! The Garhwal snowline view is all the more special from here because rarely are colossal ice-capped peaks like Mt. Nanda Ghunti and Mt. Trishul are accessible to view on a low-lying trek like this one.
Owing to gradually ascending rolling slopes, the Brahmatal Trek route is deemed fit for beginners and less experienced trekkers. A major part of the trek continues under forest cover, diminishing the chances of altitude sickness. All the same, the trek will not deprive one of an out and out thrilling winter experience with the sweet mellow of falling snow, a fascinating trail caught in an absolute white out, the depthless silence inside the grove of rhododendrons and oaks, and iced over lake water faces.
A special shout out for this trek goes to the shutterbugs—diverse frames, from snow-laden forests to white-gold high peaks in alpenglow, and a desolate alpine mountain-scape of a lone tree standing on icy shores of the Brahmatal lake make up the composition of this trek.
We will see you the first day at Rishikesh railway station. The pickup place is Rishikesh bus station early in the morning. An overnight train travel from Delhi could be sufficiently convenient.
The journey uphill from Rishikesh to Lohajung will take you cruising through mountain alleyways connecting the lower Himalayan belt of Kumaom hills to that of Garhwal. This is going to be a hectic 10 hour drive, despite the marvellous changing vistas of the mountains. For the first few hours, the course of our journey will be running parallel to river Ganga and Alaknanda flowing blustery. Soon, a softy Pindar river will meet our path.
Look out for a few of the best known tourist hubs nestling in Uttarakhand’s sublime hills. We will pass through Devprayag, Srinagar, and Karanprayag—all celebrated hill stations. Upon entering the last stretch of the drive, near Lohajung, the mesmerizing Nanda Ghunti peak will come to sight. We will reach Lohajung guest house, our halt for the night around 5:00 pm, close to dusk and just in time for tea!
Note: If you are not carrying something of winter clothing or basic gear, the Lohajung market can come in pretty handy.
The first day’s trek spanning 5 hours will kick off from Lohajung up a snaky trail going into the forest. After a short while the forest will give way to a small village named Mandoli to your left. Here you can fill your bottles and take a first major hiatus. The trail continues in mostly gradual ascent curves. A little way higher, you will come across the valley where two mountain rivers Kali and Pindari confluence. This is the Kali valley, lying in a splendid green scrap even in the midst of wintry heights. We will trek on further to stumble upon a huddle of mud huts. You are going to find a grove of rhododendron here that sure grows red and heavy from February to March, but at the peak of winter, the trail will be pretty matte.
Crossing this point, trek on to find the next identifiable landmark—a wooden bridge over a stream. This steam is a viable water point which you can access going down the slope. Crossing over on to the other side, you will reach Begum—a nestling rest point on the slopes overlooking a vast expanse of bugyals at distance. From here, the path bends on to two more chattering streams, the last being Gujrani stream. Take approximately an hour’s hike after crossing the last stream to reach the beautiful Bekaltal gleaming peacefully in the summer while partially frozen over in the winters.
We will be camping in the vicinity by the lake Khopdaliya. Enjoy the stillness and the quiet of this place with the thick oak forests closing in from around.
Today’s trek will take you through thickets of oaks and rhododendrons over steep slopes for quite some time before finally coming out to a meadow. This is the meadow of Telandi. In the winter, you will find the green expanse of Telandi transform into a vast snowfield and crossing the area, a gala of thrill.
The meadow rolls till 11,500 ft.- the highest point, from where begins a slow descent to Brahmatal. To your left from here, you will find a small temple, bright yellow flags flying in the air. Walk down the slope to the temple and find the trail winding towards the Brahmatal Lake, about 500 meters away from the temple now. We will find the valleys of Almora and Nainital rise and fall around us as we go. The soaring peaks of Trishul, Nanda Ghunti, and others of the Greater Himalayas can be spotted far across the sky. We will be camping at the mark 500 meter away from the lake, nestling in the beautiful aura of the place.
Note: Make sure to carry 2-3 litres of water on today’s trek since there are no water points on this trail.
Start your day early in the morning as you will be heading towards the Brahmatal lake which is an uphill climb. You will be greeted with Oak and Rhododendron trees on the way which has a charm of their own. After a while, the zigzag ascent trail will take you Brahmatal Lake. On a bright day, the lake looks charismatic and the sunlight makes it look even more artistic. As you walk ahead you will come across a small stream which is formed by the melting of snow. You might get fooled by every passing top which will feel like the last ascent. After walking for a while and crossing the meadow, the final climb towards the pass begins.
It will be a tiring walk towards but as soon as you reach the top you will be greeted with a magnificent view of Mt. Trishul and Mt. Nanda Ghunti. Take your time and click some jaw-dropping pictures that will last a lifetime. As soon as you start descending, you discover that the trail is different from that which got you up. You will be able to witness a 180 degree of the entire Himalayan range and peaks such as Haukhambha, Mandi, Mana, Nilgiri, Neelkanth, Trishul, Nanda Ghunti, Maitoli become visible. As you continue to descent, after an hour you will reach a clearing surrounded by trees on all the sides which is the Tilbudi campsite. You will be camping here for the night.
After having your breakfast you will start your descent to Wan which is a trail filled with Oak and Rhododendron trees. This is a very beautiful trail which allows you to click end number of scenic pictures. After walking some distance you will come across a water source at Chota Tilbundi.
Half an hour later you will be able to spot Wan village which is visible below. From here onwards it will take you half an hour more to reach the road from where TTH will arrange vehicles to take you to Lohajung.
After a good night’s sleep at our Lohajung guest house, we will go back to Rishikesh today. Destination will be reached by 6:00 pm.