Brahmatal : A Himalayan trek
January 1, 1970
Sometimes when you pack your bags and set off for that well deserved holiday, would you imagine that it might leave a before and after mark in your life, at times that journey makes you question the reality which your circumstances have made you believe? That’s what I wish for each journey to teach all of us. To unlearn some of our ruthless ways of life and add some tenderness and warmth to ourselves. One such journey of mine was the Brahmatal trek located in the Uttarakhand district. Could be called as an easy-moderate level Himalayan trek. Starts from Lohajung district which is located 12 hours away from Kathgodam station at Uttarakhand.
I must say before we headed for the trek, we all had apprehensions if the location would be as impressive as they marketed on the India Hikes website. To our astonishment, it was breathtakingly beautiful. The trails meet you with meadows, rhododendron trees, frozen valleys and the vivacious Mt Trishul and Mt Nanda Ghunti awaiting to say ‘Hello’. It was probably the best decision to go ahead with India Hikes for this trek. They were outstanding in terms of taking care of our needs and on point organizing skills. The crew consisted of 4 members and all of them were informative and high spirited at the same time. So if you’re ever looking for a good team to do your Himalayan trek, India Hikes is by far the most widely recommended trekking community, so just go for it! I would like to share some thoughts that stay close to my heart post the trek.
Brief Itinerary: From Kathgodam To Tilibudi Via Lohajung.
The Brahmatal trek can be called as an easy-moderate level Himalayan trek. Lohajung is the base camp and the best way to reach here is via Kathgodam which is close to 12 hours away. You could get glimpses of Nainital while on this route. A pit stop can be taken at Kasauni which happens to be the mid-point. The trek begins at Lohajung (7,600 ft), we ascend for about 5-6 hours through the and pitch tents at Bekaltal which is at 9885 ft. On your left, you will come across Mandoli village and might hold a chance to meet some of the local people there. The Kali valley where river Kali and Pindari join, the Gujrani stream, and the Khopdaliya lake are some of the major highlights of this day. At night the temperatures went as low as 5 degrees. The sky was dusky blue and beautiful, and stars gleaming it’s light down on us, you’d slightly wish to stay out and watch them glow a little longer. The following day was an ascent of almost 1000 ft to reach Brahmatal campsite. The sky is stretched across the majestic mountains ranges of Garhwal, Nandu Ghunti, and Trishul. Nights saw a drop in temperatures and we slept at 0 degrees. Day 4 was slightly challenging as the descend on snow was slippery. We were given microspikes by the team to enable a better grip on the snow sheets. We ascended via Brahmatal pass to Tilibudi at 12,200 ft. As you descend, the path opens down to a wide valley where you can see Tharali and Gwaldam meadows. The Himalayan range of mountains you get to see are Chaukhambha, Mandi, Mana, Nilgiri, Neelkanth and Maitoli. The best part of this trek is you also get to see the entire trail of the Roopkhund trek from your campsite. Day 5, the last day we descended from Tilibudi to Lohajung through the unsullied Wan village and reached back to the base camp Lohajung.
Be a responsible hiker:
I was thoroughly moved by this phenomenal woman, Anagha, part of the crew. This young lady has left her kinsfolk, her city and is pitching in ways to regulate the waste management system in the villages and campsites. India Hikes exercises this brilliant idea of Eco bags which trekkers use to collect waste on their routes. The non-bio degradable waste is taken back to the cities for efficient waste management.
But this thought extended over even after my trip and I’m trying to apprehend the ways in which I can bring about the minutest changes I can.
Did you know a thing as tiny as a plastic straw takes up 200 years to break down into tiny particles? Very little gets recycled and the rest end up in the ocean. Only a healthy ocean can provide resilience to the climate change. By just reusing a straw we are begetting at least the smallest change possible.
Most of the trekkers carried an 8-10L daypack while hiking which included water as well. Thus, when we know there isn’t an alternative, we are ready to take that extra effort. All said and done, every turn we take in the city, we can find a kiosk for those PLASTIC BOTTLES, so why take the pain? Need I say more? I know it is annoying to carry your own bottle everywhere. Your bag is going to be extra heavy. But just imagine if only all of us could carry our own bottles for the day, the amount of plastic waste we can consciously cut off. Such humble changes are adequate to start the change we want to see. Just start with one change in your lifestyle and see the crowd that follows your path. You could find out inspiring ideas about a zero-waste lifestyle here.
Icebreaker sessions with India Hikes:
India Hikes has their cheeky ways of breaking the ice between the trekkers by playing the ever so boring adjective name game. I’ve had memories playing that game in school and college and it was a task to sit through it. We had to describe ourselves with an adjective and each person repeats the previous trail of names with the adjectives. The last person has to say all the names with their respective adjectives. Unerringly, the game served its purpose. Later, during the trek, we recollected each other’s names with the adjectives and it was some heartfelt fun.
The feeling of togetherness:
We always talk about how some alone time in a day can help refresh your mind. Howbeit, from time to time, just look at all those faces that fill your day. Your mum at the door, your flatmate, the security who opens the gate for you, your 7 PM buddy and every other face that collates your day. Have you ever felt this spout of happiness when a stranger brings a smile to your face? So 26 individuals hailing from different cities in India decided to go hiking for 5 days. They did everything TOGETHER, they snacked, brushed, shared stories and saw the sunset TOGETHER. You could see one guy clicking pictures of the couple, another guy sharing his dry fruits with his new friends, another girl posing away to the mountains and someone lying down staring at the bounty blueness above him.
These people might have had sumptuous meals back in their cities, and maybe a slice of tiramisu for the sweet tooth. Yet, on their trek, after a tiresome day, they sat TOGETHER waiting for that basic meal and ate it with contentment.When you see this picture from afar, it’s joyous to watch all these new faces strolling away and making their own memories. And then you realize TOGETHER is a lovely place to be.