Brahmatal has mesmerising forest walks. You get to walk through centuries old forests of Oaks and Rhododendrons. What particularly stays with me is the dedicated section of Rhododendrons! Just out of Bekaltal, you get a clearly demarcated section of Rhododendron forests.
The Rhodo forests are a treat to the eyes. The trunks twist and turn in shapes and forms. The trunks are usually bare and smooth wooded. The trees are not too tall and form a nice canopy at the top. They are close enough to form a perfect green roof over your head.
This is what you see throughout the year. If you come here during March and April, you get a pink flowery roof. If you come here during winters, you get a white snowy carpet!
- Accommodation – Stay is included from Day 1 to Day 5 (Lohajung to Lohajung). You will be staying in a guest house at Lohajung and camping on the trek (3 per tent).
- Meals – All meals from dinner at Lohajung on Day 1 to breakfast at Lohajung on Day 6 . Meals are simple, nutritious and vegetarian.
- Camping charges – All trekking permits and forest camping charges are included.
- Trekking equipment – We provide high quality tents, sleeping bags, ice axes, roped, micro spikes, gaiters etc. as required.
- Safety equipment – First aid, medical kit, oxygen cylinders, stretchers etc.
- Transport to and from the base camp – We will arrange shared taxis for trekkers to pick you up from Rishikesh and drop you back from Lohajung. This will cost approx. Rs. 6,500 per 5-6 seater vehicle and Rs. 9,500 for a tempo traveller. You will have to share this cost with the other trekkers.
- Food during transit to and from the base camp – The trek fee does not include meals purchased during the journey to and from Lohajung.
- Backpack offloading charges – Rs. 1,000 + 5% GST for the full trek. The backpack cannot weigh more than 9 kgs. Suitcases/strollers/duffel bags will not be allowed. Please note that charges will vary for last minute offloading in case you decide to offload your bag after reaching Lohajung (Rs.335 per day + 5% GST).
- Stay at Rishikesh on the last day
- Anything apart from inclusions
Day 1 (Pick-up Day) : Reach Lohajung
Lohajung is the base camp for the Brahmatal trek. A great way to reach here is from Rishikesh (Read: 8 Things You Must Do in Rishikesh that No One’s Heard Of). You drive along mountain roads, through forests. You also get glimpses of the Garhwal mountains in the distance on a clear day.
Altitude: 7,600 ft (2,316 m)
Drive time: 8 hours drive from Rishikesh
Once you reach Lohajung, you find yourself face to face with the beautiful Nanda Ghunti peak. If you reach before sunset, the colours of the peak will enthral you.
Lohajung is at the centre of 12-15 nearby villages. There are a couple of local stores where you can buy jackets, hand gloves, caps, shoes etc. if need be. However, it is advised that you carry all the required things for trek beforehand and not rely on these shops. You will have a mobile network in most parts of Lohajung.
Day 2: Trek from Lohajung to Lower Bekaltal/Gujreni
Trek distance: 6.3 km | Duration: 5 hours
Altitude gain: 7,600 ft to 9,200 ft
Trek gradient: Moderate; gradually ascending through forests on well-defined trails
Water sources: The first point where you can refill your water bottles will be around 3 hours into the trek, followed by another at the place where you stop for lunch
The trek begins from Lohajung central market (chowk). Move upwards from Bisht General Stores (compass direction 3000 NW) on the well-marked, human-made trail. Walk through the upper region of Lohajung and then through the forest trail with a few more houses. After a short trek, spot Mandoli village on your left.
As you climb higher, on your left, you will be able to see the Kali Valley, where Kali and Pindari Rivers join. Follow the water pipes that supply water to Lohajung, as they lie along the trek trail. After some time, cross a small cluster of homes called Budla, on the left. Here, you will find rhododendron trees, which make this part of the trail very beautiful from February to March.
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 (145o SSE) and Bagdi Bugyal (125o SE). After 10-15 minutes of walking from Begum, you will find another stream. From here, an hour’s walk will bring you to Gujreni stream.
Day 3: Lower Bekaltal/Gujreni to Tilandi
Trek distance: 4.8 km | Duration: 4-5 hours
Altitude gain: 9,200 ft to 11,120 ft
Trek gradient: Moderate. Initial steep climb for an hour brings you to a meadow where you ascend gently, followed by a gradual descent to Brahmatal.
Water sources: None. Make sure that you fill 2 litres of water before starting the trek since this will be a long day.
The trail starts out of the campsite and climbs steeply into the Oak and Rhododendron forest. Notice that to your left is the ridge which opens up to the valley below. Immediately to your right below is Bekaltal. As you climb on, half the trail is dominated by Rhododendron trees and somewhere midway the Oak trees take over. After about an hour, the tree line ends and you enter the meadows. Right in front of you is the spectacular panorama of Mt Trishul and Mt Nanda Ghunti with their associated ranges.
You are usually drawn to the edge of the meadows which is a ridge right on top of Lohajung your base camp. Below you is the valley from Lohajung to Wan. Right opposite where you are on the opposite mountain ridge is the famous meadows of the Roopkund trail – Aali and Bedni Bugyals.
The trail weaves along the ridge. You see the tree line sometimes below you sometimes beside you as you gain and drop height. The trees are largely Rhododendron or Oak again. Overall you gain height when you head to Jhandi Top, the highest point on the ridge. Its another vantage point for clear views of the mountain panorama. You can map the entire Roopkund trail here right from Wan to Roopkund. Spend at least twenty minutes at Jhandi Top to soak in the place. It usually gives you goosebumps to just comprehend what you are seeing in front.
Day 4: Tilandi to Brahmatal
Trek distance: 7 km | Duration:
Altitude loss: 11,120 ft to 10,440 ft
Trek gradient: Moderate; Moderate ascent to the ridge followed by a flat walk and then a steep descent.
Water sources: None. Make sure you carry 2 litres of water from the camp before setting off.
The day’s trek sees you climbing back to the ridgeline you left the day before, later traversing it further before descending down the steep into the treeline. All along you will be treated to great mountain views if you have a clear sky. Anyone who treks this day will not hesitate to say that the day is the most visually fascinating day of the entire trek.
Day 5: Brahmatal to Lohajung
Trek distance: 9 km | Duration: 7-8 hours
Altitude loss: 10,440 ft to 7,600 ft
Trek gradient: Moderate.
Water sources: Yes
Begin the descent to Lohajung right after breakfast. Till Tilandi the vegetation is sparse.
It is well made all the way and crosses 2 streams in between. After about an hour from starting, you will reach Shepherd huts. This place in the local language is also called ‘chawni’ and is used by villagers and shepherds to keep their livestock.
Continue on the man-made trail from here. This trail connects these mountain villages down to Lohajung.
Day 6 (Drive-back Day): Lohajung to Rishikesh
Check out the reaching the basecamp section for more details about getting back after your trek.