Popular Treks

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

'The great Himalayas' as they call it, is a vast place. From peaks ranging from 3000m to 8848m, the scope for exploration in the Himalayas is infinite. I have been actively participating in difficult treks and expeditions in the Himalayas for the past three years. There was always a sense of knowing in these experiences. I was somehow chasing the unknown. I was looking for my next step in adventure, something that made me nervous as well as excited at the same time. My team consisted of my good friend Geelani, an experienced Trek Leader for Bikat adventures who has been actively trekking and climbing for well over 5 years. Then there was our local friend from Wan village. We called him 'Gabbar'. A very humorous, charismatic personality who never shies away from adventure.  Hence, we set off on a journey to explore Brahmatal lake
 
Brahmatal lake with its base in Lohanjung is a very rarely visited place. Most people come to Lohanjung to do the famous Roopkund trek in the summers, oblivious of another beautiful trekking option available in both summers and winters.
 
We set off on our bus journey from Delhi to Dehradun in the night. As we reached Dehradun, we were in a race to catch our share taxi to Lohanjung. Dehradun to Lohanjung is a beautiful road journey through the Himalayan mountains covering a lot of terrains the Himalayas has to offer. From the green fields near Dehradun, we quickly reached the foothills of the Himalayas. From here the Himalayas grows bigger and taller. As we climbed through the Himalayas in a vehicle, it took us 11 hours to reach Lohanjung village. As we got down from our car to rest the night at a hotel, we saw what this land had to offer. Due to minimal pollution in the air, the night sky was lit up with a million stars. This sighting got us excited for the days of trekking to come.

As we woke up the following morning I immediately spotted Mt. Nandaghunti from the hotel. Mt. Nandaghunti is a huge mountain towering 6309m in altitude. The mountain gave me the energy and the motivation to go out and explore this trek. Three of us set off from Lohajung at 9:30 A.M. Since it was exploration we preferred to carry all our load on our backs. Strong men, we thought we were, carrying these heavy rucksacks got us tired in an hour. But, motivated as we were, we pushed on and on through the dense treeline and eventually in three hours reached Bekaltal 7 Km away.

View of Lohajung village from the start of the trail

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

Trail leading from Lohanjung village through forests

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

Peeking at Mt. Trishul from the trail that goes through a dense tree line. Mystique of Mt. Trishul was breathtaking

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

Having lunch under the serinity of Bekaltal hiding in the forests. This was where all three of us felt a spur of energy to push directly for Brahmatal

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

Finishing up to Bekaltal. First sighting of snow on the last phase of the slope was beautifull.

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

Final 50m to Bekaltal. Snow hardened by the melting during the day and freezing during the night made it very slipperd to tread on.

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

The first camping option. As we sat for rest and had our packed lunch with the majestic views of Bekaltal hidden in the forest, we found this new spur of energy. Our curiosity on what lay ahead made us decide to directly reach Brahmatal campsite. Contemplating on the time it would take to reach Brahmatal campsite 7 Km away, we were confident we would reach in time for sunset. 

We set off climbing higher through the treeline, we reached a beautifull meadow. Now, we could see the treeline was over. Lying ahead of us were meadows as far as the eye could see. We pushed to a top of the ridge excited about the view in offer. We were breath taken by the sight of Mt. Trishul now clearer than ever in front of us. Mt. Trishul towering 7120m in altitude is considered one of the toughest climbs in the Himalayas. As we sat to enjoy the view lost in Mt. Trishul's mystique, our senses were often brought back by the bitter Kinnow fruit we were enjoying. Acknowledging the fact that we had four more kilometres of trekking left to get to Brahmatal lake we head off again. From the ridge we could see Brahmatal campsite in the distance. A sense of pleasure possesed us in seeing that the uphill section was over. Now the trek only involved traversing the high meadows which was covered in timely patches of snow. 3 hours later we reached Brahmatal camp by 4:30 P.M. A beautifull mountain lake or tarn in-between meadows we felt privilaged to be a witness to this sighting.

Traversing the meadows to reach brahmatal. These meadows had substantial snow on them making it a treat to walk on.

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

Mt. Trishul towering over the meadow. The sight of this majestic mountain is enough to give chills down the spines of even the best mountaineers in the world.

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

After climbing steep meadows to get to the top of a ridge, 1 hour from Bekaltal, we were welcomed with these kind of panoromic views of the Himalayas.

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

Watching the setting sun from Brahmatal. The mountain lake looked even more majestic with scatters of snow around it.

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

Reaching Brahmatal, the camping options are unlimited. Confused with the excess of options, Gabbar and Geelani got into a little bit of treasure hunt to find the best spot. 20 minutes later they found it. We set camp and now came time for dinner. Too hungry from the days trekking, our minds were sprinting as to what delicious meal we should make. Geelani came up with the brilliant idea of cooking pulao for dinner. Gabbar, Geelani and I mutually agreed to the plan and we set out to do our individual responsibilities like cutting vegetables and cooking rice. As the cooker blew it's final whistle our noses were flooded with the smell of pulao. Having a fire cooked dinner under a million stars with a couple of close friends is something everyone should experience in there lives. Shook by the bitter cold we decided to call it a night early.

Geelani making fire with the plans of cooking Pulao for dinner while Gabbar looks at his struggles with adoration. Being from the mountains, making a fire for him was a piece of cake.

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

Next morning we woke up to a beautiful sunrise. Energised to reach the top we left camp by 8:00 A.M. Still having all our belongings in a heavy bag with the plan of going back to village by the end of the day, made moving uphill through steep incline a struggle. Low and behold, after an hour of climbing we reached the top. Spending some good 10 minutes at the top, Gabbar showed us the route to his home at Wan village. Gabbar gave us two possible route options. One where we trace back our steps to Lohanjung village, another where we climb down from the other side and reach Wan village. We were feeling a cocktail of emotions. Satisfaction of making it to the top, dumbstruck by the views of Mt. trishul and Mt. Nandaghunti stretching to the mountains of Gangotri range from the top and nervous to see the route downhill to Wan. Even after all this while, Geelani and I were looking for more. We wanted to see what more this trek could offer. So we decided to take the new route from the other side to Wan village. Seeing the trail to be followed downhill to Wan village gave us a feeling of fear and excitement. Our spirit of adventure could not wait for us to get on that face, while our sense of logic was little hesitant. As we did not carry ropes looking at the downhill climb which was a narrow path below the ridge layered in snow with a very steep fall gave us the hills. Now to think of it, it could have been the cold winds blowing at us that gave us the chills as we were above 12000 ft. We set out on the face one by one, step by step and in 30 minutes we reached a safe spot in the meadows below the ridge. The decision of coming down by this new exposed route was validated. The trek delivered again with the views spreading wider in angle than from the top with sights of Mt. Neelkanth far away from our location. As we sat enjoying bun maskas(butter) we packed for lunch, we admired the route we just traversed. Finally taking a breath of relief we saw the task of 8 more Kilometres downhill to Wan. As we headed down to Wan through meadows and forests, we reached the village by 1:00 P.M.

Sunrise from our summit day. Watching a golden sunrise such as this was all we needed to push for the summit with all force.

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

Geelani on Brahmatal top. Resting after an hour effort to get to the top, while feeling nervous about the downhill trek to Wan village. 

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

Looking back at the snow slope we traversed with pride, while in a safe spot in the meadows below the top.

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

Brahmatal top from the other side of the trail. Due to a lack of sunlight reaching these slopes, we found snow in abundance.

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

On our way down to Wan village followed by panoromice views through out the trail. Its views like these that take all our exhaustion away. 

Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost

This was one of the treks where expectations and reality coincided. Having no idea about the trek our expectations were only to experience an untouched landscape where getting lost could lead to us finding ourselves. In the end we found our fears, our commradery and the milky way I saw 3 years back in Kashmir. We were satisfied with the exploration having experiences that would last through time. Brahmatal lake trek is a perfect winter trek for first time trekkers or trekkers who have begun there mountain journey.

Vikas Sreevatsa

Passionate Skiier , Mountaineer and adventurer with urge to explore the unexplored. Read more

Add a Comment

* Your email address will not be published. All fields are required.