The beginning of a year is always amazing before it starts. Once midnight strikes, the overwhelming pressure of fulfilling resolutions starts to creep in. A new year gets you working harder than ever, to reach your goals and aspirations. It gets so tiring that a vacation to cleanse your mind and remove your stress becomes something of a necessity.
Well, what better than a trek in the snowy abode of the Himalayas?
But finding a trek so late into winter?
We got you covered…(hopefully in the snow!)
About Brahmatal Trek
If you find yourself looking for a trek during late winter season around January or February, Brahmatal Trek may be the trek you are looking for. A hidden abode situated in Uttarakhand, this lake is surrounded by the Himalayan range and covered in snow.
Uttarakhand is known for its serenity, peace and beautiful treks and attracts adventure junkies and trekkers from all around India. And this trek is a perfect example of that!
If you think this trek can’t get more interesting, you are wrong.
It is believed by the locals that this is the place where Lord Brahma meditated millions of years ago.
Indulge yourself in the calm of the Himalayas, a mythical location and the peace of the forests.
After a stunning trek that leads you through rhododendron stretches; oak, cedar, fur and conifer forests; and snow-laden grounds, you will reach the frozen lake of Brahmatal. And if that’s not enough to excite you, once you reach the peak of this trek, you can see various peaks such as Trishul, Hathi, Nilkantha, Chowkhamba, Nandaghunti, Mrugathani, and a beautiful bird’s eye view of the Himalayas.
Trek details – Planning can help you get the most out of the trek
Day 1 – Kathgodam to Lohajung
Lohajung is the base camp of the Brahmatal trekking, set at an altitude of 7,600 ft. You can hire a cab to take your from Kathgodam to Lohagunj. The total distance of travel is around 220 km and it takes up to 10 hours to reach there.
This trip can act as a prelude to the trek, as you will not only be crossing Nainital enroute, but will have you driving through forests and you might also catch glimpses of the Garhwal mountains in the distance.
Adding a mystical twist to the location is the legend that this is the place where Goddess Parvati fought a war against the demon, Lohasur. Therefore giving rise to the name Loha-jung (War with Lohasur).
Day 2- Lohajung to Bekaltal
The trek begins to Bekaltal, which is set at an altitude of 9,689 ft. The total distance covered during this trek will be 5.8 km and it will take approximately 5 hours to finish the trek.
The trails followed for the trek will are well trodden and marked. It takes you through various locations like Mandoli village, the Kali valley (where River Kali and River Pindari join) and a few waterfall streams. The trek also cuts through rhododendron and oak forests.
In fact, Bekaltal is surrounded by oak forests and is a beauty in itself.
The difficulty level of this trek is moderate, but the serenity and exquisiteness of Bekaltal is definitely worth it.
Day 3 – Bekaltal to Brahmatal
The trek begins with a steep climb into the rhododendron and oak forests which clears out into a meadow. The meadow leads you to the highest point, that is around 11,500 ft and slowly descends towards Brahmatal.
The distance covered during this trek is around 7kms and it takes about 5-6 hours to finish the trek. Throughout the trek, you will be able to see the Nainital and Almora side of the valley.
If you time the period of your trek correctly, you will find the lake to be completely frozen, which adds to the beauty of the place.
Day 4 – To the Peak, we go!
This trek takes you from the base to the peak. It is finally time to climb the summit, the part of the trek that will be one of the most appealing in terms of what it has to offer visually.
As you cross meadows and forests, the trail leads you to the peak, 12,250 ft above the sea level. You have a panoramic view of the Himalayas with the Mount Trishul, Hathi, Nilkantha, Chowkhamba, Nandaghunti, Mrugathani, and various other peaks, waiting for someone just like you to appreciate their beauty!
Spend some time at the peak, and revel in the most beautiful part of the trek.
Day 5 – Returning to the base
We hope that you enjoyed the beauty and serenity of the peak, and make our way towards the base camp at Lohajung, the same way we reached here.
Take in all that this trek has to offer you as you return to the base. Capture the beauty of the trek and singe it into your memories, as you walk through the rhododendron and oak forests, meadows and water streams.
Day 6 – Lohajung to Kathgodam
The trek ends on the 6th day, as trekkers make their way to Kathgodam. We understand that the surreal experience you had when you did this trek, can never be repeated, but we hope that you found yourself and a state of peace during this trek!
You can travel back to Kathgodam through a cab ride.
Location and how to reach
The question that follows is, where is Brahmatal situated, and how do I get there?
The peak is situated at the height of around 12000 feet! And once you reach there, you can feast your eyes on the entire Himalayan range. If the entire trek didn’t do it, we assure you that this view can knock your breath out.
The trek starts and ends at Kathgodam.
There are many ways to reach Kathgodam. You can either travel directly to Kathgodam through either regular buses or trains that travel to and from major cities around the country or travel by air. The nearest airport to Kathgodam is at Pantnagar which is 71 km away from Kathgodam.
Things to carry
- It is best to carry a backpack large enough to include all your necessities for the trek.
- Carry 2-3 water bottles, hydration packs, energy drinks.
- Snacks that can be carried easily and in large quantities, like energy bars and protein bars.
- Carry a first aid kit that includes all necessary and required medicines. It is advisable to take medicines that can help with dizziness, upset stomach, headache and cough and cold, bandages and ointment to deal with minor injuries.
- Please don’t forget medicines that are prescribed by your doctor in case you suffer from any illness.
- Pack all the toiletries that will be required separately, as this is something that you will require the most during the trek, especially sanitizes.
- All necessary clothing items like track pants, waterproof jackets, thermal inners, trekking shoes, jackets and sweaters. Avoid jeans and shorts during this trek.
- Take any extra accessories that you might require like sunglasses, caps, wind and rain protection gear, gloves, trekking poles, torch, sleeping bag, etc.
- It is always advisable to carry enough money, in case of emergencies or to pay for any extra charges that you brought.
When people hear about trekking, it might raise excitement, which soon leads to anxiety on whether or not they will be able to complete the trek.
Here’s the answer to whether you will be able to do this trek or not.
The difficulty level of this trek is from easy to moderate it can, therefore, be done by both beginners as well as regular trekkers.
As per the locals, it is better to avoid this trek during the monsoon season, as the trail tends to be slippery and the trek is prone to landslides and unexpected roadblocks.
So the best time to do this trek will be during December, January and February.
A point to remember that the air thins as we climb higher altitudes, so the level of oxygen might plummet once you reach a height of about 7,000 ft above sea level, which might lead to difficulty in breathing.
It is best to train before wishing to accomplish this trek, especially if you are a beginner. The best way to do this is by going on regular walks that can train your body to walk for around 6-7 hours.
ATM and connectivity
As you travel towards Lohajung to start your trek, you will find ATM locations in the following areas:-
Dewal may be the last stop where you can get any cash from ATM. However, it is advisable to get enough cash beforehand, as Dewal might be a risky place to get cash.
Dewal is a one hour ride away from Lohajung.
Connectivity is a major issue during these treks for trekkers. You start to lose mobile connectivity once you cross Dewal, so it is better to contact anyone you would like to speak with before Dewal.
It is also better to inform your families about the connectivity issues you might find during the treks, so as to not worry them.
Permission and passes required during this trek
Trekkers will have to get permission pass or permits for entering forests, which can be acquired by the forest officer at Lohajung.
Also please carry
- Identification proof/ address proof
- Passport size photos for the permit
- Fitness certificate
- Self-attested documentation of your voluntary participation
The best season to go on the Brahmatal trek
If you wish to visit and finish the Brahmatal trek, it would be best to go during the late winter season to enjoy this trek to the fullest.
It is best to avoid this trek that is during the monsoon season that may last from May till early December, as the rains make the trails very slippery, leading to accidents. The monsoon may also bring about unexpected landslides and roadblocks.
The best time to do this trek is late winter that is from December to February. There is snow everywhere, and believe it or not, it makes the trek that much more beautiful.
As you cross meadows and forests and reach the peak, you will be able to see beautiful snow-capped mountains everywhere you look.
The highlight of this trek will be the frozen lake of Brahmatal. If you do this trek in December, you will be able to see a beautiful layer of snow forming on top of the lake, which makes it that much more enchanting.
By January and February, the lake is completely frozen and is the perfect view to go along with the oak forests surrounding the lake.
What will be the total expense?
The total expense of this trek will be around Rs. 8700 to Rs. 9000 per person for a 6-day trek.
This will include-
- Transportation expenses during the Brahmatal trek.
- All the required staff like a professional guide, helper and a cook.
- Meals and basic first aid kit, along with portable oxygen. Portable oxygen becomes a necessity during the Brahmatal Trek due to the temperature and altitude.
- Camping equipment for trekkers like tents, sleeping bags, crampon, kitchen utensils and sleeping mats.
- Mules and porters to carry the luggage of campers. The maximum luggage that the campers can carry is about 10 kg per person.
- Forest entry charges and permit fees required during the trek.
- A fantastic support team like qualified trekkers who have ample knowledge about the trek and Himalayas, assistant leader, etc.
The charges will not include-
- Personal expenses like telephone charges, laundry charger, or an extra porter.
- Cost of personal equipment that you bring along for the trek.
- Tips for the staff.
This trek will be a once in a lifetime experience and we assure you that the feeling you will get once you climb that peak and look over the entire Himalayan range will be priceless. We hope that you take the maximum advantage of this opportunity and return home with a clear and peaceful mind.
How to prepare for the Brahmatal trek?
Treks can be strenuous, especially Himalayan treks. You are not only climbing steep roads and rocky terrains, but you also have to fight the cold weather and low oxygen levels.
Well, things can get a bit rocky, especially if you a first timer. To help you get the most out of this trek, we have brought together some steps that you can follow to train before the trek.
Fitness – Start your fitness routine at least a month before planning the trek. You need to build up your stamina so that you will be able to walk for hours at a stretch.
You can do this by starting rigorous cardiovascular workouts and slowly increasing the time from 30- 40 minutes to about 90 minutes. You need to increase the intensity of the workout too so that you can easily climb steep mountains and trails.
It is important to exercise regularly so as to prevent cramps or muscle strains, during the trek. This can happen because the muscles might not receive enough oxygen, as the level of the oxygen decreases as you climb higher.
Following is a list of the things that you will require for the trek-
- Always carry liquids, like water, energy drinks, etc, to keep yourself hydrated. A trek can be tiring and strenuous. Ensure you have proper and enough water supplies.
- The trek can be really cold, especially as you climb higher, pack enough warm clothes, gloves, warmers, jackets, etc. But make sure that your clothes are light so that you don’t have to carry a lot of weight.
- Carry a rucksack or military backpack, so that you can carry all your required equipment and accessories.
- When you climb you might develop AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). It typically occurs once you cross around 7000-8000 ft, due to a decrease in oxygen levels.
Typical symptoms include dizziness, nausea, headaches and shortness of breath. If you experience any of these symptoms, let your leader know, and they will help you out. You can carry Diamox, and administer it after getting approval from your trek leader. If you don’t have it, don’t worry. The medic or trek leader usually carries this medicine with them.
Wait for some time until your symptoms reduce before you climb again.
- Carry all prescribed medicines and a mini first aid kit with yourself. It is advisable to take medicines that can help with dizziness, upset stomach, headache and cough and cold, bandages and ointment to deal with minor injuries.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking. Contrary to popular belief, alcohol doesn’t warm you up. It instead makes you more cold and dehydrated.
Best things to do on Brahmatal Trek
This trek is not only about climbing a mountain and reaching the peak. It starts from the moment you think of taking on a challenge like this, training hard to reach that goal, enjoying the journey and actually achieving that goal… It can be all that and more.
Meet new people! – If you are an extrovert this is a perfect opportunity for you. You will be meeting new people from all parts of life, and it is time to take this opportunity to learn about different cultures, share yours with them, and make new friends. Who knows, the next trek you plan might be with them again!
Share stories around a bonfire after a long and tiring day of trekking, with the smell of freshly brewed tea surrounding everyone, with someone humming a tune to it turning into a full blown out song.
It is time to make memories, and we hope you make plenty of them!
Bring out the artist in you! – This trek is known to release the artist within you, and we, therefore, recommend you to carry your travel journal, camera, diary, and you art supply. Whatever inspires you to keep this trek in your memory forever! You will also need to carry other items as mentioned in the list above.
Necessary trekking equipment
Prior planning and correct equipment can help you get the most out of the trek. Here’s a list of all the necessary trekking equipment that you will require.
Rucksack or Backpack – A good backpack can make the entire difference. The straps should lay comfortably on your shoulders and should be thick enough to not add pressure on your joints. It should also have enough space to include your clothes and accessories. Carry extra blankets or warmers to help you fight off the cold!
Trekking shoes – Contrary to belief, sports shoes are not the right fit for a trek. You need to buy trekking shoes that can provide great support during steep climbs and still feel comfortable.
Trekking poles – Trekking poles help you climb more easily. They help take the extra weight and balance you while climbing uneven trails or roads.
Torch/ Headlight – This is a great equipment for the night time or to assist you in telling a great horror story. Whichever you think suits best
Where can I rent trekking equipment?
If this is the first time you are going out on a trek, and are still unsure whether it will turn into your favorite sport over time, and you don’t want to buy trekking equipment, we suggest you rent them out. There are a lot of great sites from where you can rent trekking equipment. Here are some of them.
Trek Kit India
Shoes on loose
Step In Adventure
There are really good sites to rent equipment from. There is a store available at Kathgodam, but if you have any particular equipment in mind, it is better to get them beforehand.
How good is the Brahmatal trek for a solo travel plan?
If you are an introvert and love to travel and trek alone, we understand you and this just might be the trip for you.
However, if this is the first time you are trekking, it would be better to get a close friend along with you. Since this will be the first time, you might be away from friends and family, and have next to no connection with the outer world; you might get lonely or homesick.
The Brahmatal trek is easy to moderate level trek and can be done by first-timers easily, so it just might be the perfect trek to go solo on.
There are many advantages to trekking solo.
- You get to connect with nature.
- You can be in your own world while you trek. I mean, sometimes, you might not enjoy some talking to you while you are trekking, and if you are that kind of person, well, trek solo!
- Enjoy your music, a freshly brewed cup of tea and a book, while you rest at the camping site, or write down your thoughts and sketch in your travel journal.
Is a guide required for this trek?
The trek in itself is a moderate trek and can be done all alone. But we advise against it.
Guides have prior training and are qualified in mountaineering techniques, giving immediate medical help, and in rescue operations.
Plus they also have a lot of information about the trek and will be more than happy to tell you about the legends and stories of the trek.
It is always advisable to have a guide along with you, as some parts of the trek can be slippery, and they will be better able to guide you.
The Brahmatal trek is one of the most beautiful and enchanting treks of India.
As you trek through rhododendron and oak forests, walk through meadows and water streams, sit near frozen lakes, and have a bird’s eye view of the entire Himalayan range.
It is an experience that will help you connect with nature and cleanse your mind and soul!
If you have already done this trek, share your opinion and your experience of the trek.
If not, well this might be the perfect chance, to pick up your phones and let your friends know that you are going on a trek to discover yourself. And who knows, they might join too!