Reviews of Bedni bugyal • 9
Day 3: Bedni Bugyal - 11,700ft.This day comprised of all the lazying around at Bedni campsite. Which includes dog cuddling, soup sipping, skygazing and a small hike to Bedni top.
The day started at 5:30 am. We began our morning routine of packing & getting ready. The sun slowly came up & the clouds gave way to one of the most beautiful sights I have seen till date - the mighty Mt. Trishul peeking out from the layers of mountains & Mt. Nandaghunti standing besides it. The sun rays hit the two peaks & we saw the Himalayan giants shining in all their glory. No picture does this sight any justice, you have to experience it yourself because waking up to this picturesque frame hits you like a wave of hope & exuberance. It takes you a minute to take in the magnitude of the moment all the while realizing how insignificant you are in front of nature. As we turned left we were greeted by more peaks - the Neelkanth & the Chaukhamba. Chaukhmba happens to be a collection of 4 peaks as the name suggests & interesting enough is visible from my home in Almora on a clear day.So, after a brief existential crisis we headed to the tea shop to begin the negotiations for the mule for the coming day. We spent close to an hour finding the man for the job & then we finally did. We paid 900 for all three bags today.While having our ready to eat breakfast we talked about the coming journey. The destination today was Bhagubasa. A 12 km trek which would take us to a height of 14500 ft. The first 6 km till Patar Nachuni was a straight path but after that it was a steep 5 km hike to Kalu Vinayaka & then an eventual straight road to Bhagubasa.We started at 8:15 am today. We needed to climb up for roughly 400 mts & then we would hit the straight path. We crossed Bednikund which is a small pond right outside the Bedni campsite. You can see the reflection of Mt. Trishul & Nandaghunti in the kund & it is a sight to behold. The 400 mt climb proved to be challenge in itself. Once we hit the straight road I started feeling the effects of altitude as breathing became a problem. I stopped after a few kms and consulted a local guide. Just by looking at me he concluded that I wasn't drinking sufficient water & suggested consuming at least 5 liters a day which is problematic since water is not abundant on this trek. He also got Raghu to check our oxygen levels with an oximeter & clearly told us if our oxygen saturation was below 75 we would have to head back down. We waited for a very tensed minute to get the result & thanked our lucky stars that it was around 85 for all three of us. Another piece of advise he gave me was to stay away from any medication & let the body adjust on its own. Lastly, his final advise I think saved me from facing AMS (acute mountain sickness). He advised me to breath deeply, inhaling from the nose & exhaling through the mouth & I kid you not, I did that for the next two days without break & I really think that helped my body tremendously to adjust to the environment. After trekking a few hours we reached Patar Nachuni & had the first item of food that we hadn't cooked ourselves - bun omelette. It was like having a food orgasm. Here we braced ourselves for the steep climb. We started again & as we gained altitude it got colder & colder. We left the alpine grounds behind & the rocky path started. Past Kalu Vinayaka it was simple enough walk to Bhagubasa which is covered in rocks. Here it was a task to find a non rocky surface to camp but finally we managed to find one. We reached Bhagubasa at 2:30 & at 3:30 just when we were setting up the tent it stared hailing. We channeled our inner Speedy Gonzalez & pitched the tent in flat 5 minutes, an activity that usually took us 15 minutes, at least, under normal conditions. We got into the tent and warmed ourselves. Bhagubasa was a tough campsite as the temperature dipped down to single digits & the lack of oxygen made us lethargic. My mates dozed off as did I. I woke up after an hour & got a chance to catch a glimpse of Trishul & Nandaghunti since they were covered under fog till then. The sight was quite short as the sun quickly went down. I headed to the tea stall & had bun butter which turned out to be the dinner for the day as we were in no shape to cook. I went back to the tent & dozed off while my mates headed for the shop for their dinner. We all slept pretty early as we were to wake up at 3:00 am the next morning for the actual summit. No Rum tonight.
This day we go for an acclimatization walk to Bedni top. Acclimatization typically means to get used to a changed environment, in our case high altitude and changing weather. Before heading over to Bedni top, the Indiahikes team introduced us to their Green Trails Initiative ( for more details check out their website ) and assigned us a task to pick up any sort of garbage lying around Bedni. Everybody heartily did it, after all we are the ones who should be saving our mountains because it is some of us who choose to destroy them. Anyway, after the task we head over to Bedni top.
We wake up and find ourselves in a dilemma. Till last night we had comfortable bathrooms with us, but today we didn't even have a bathroom. I am not going to describe the whole bathroom process here, but just so you know, it ain't a pretty sight. After we freshen up and have our breakfast, we set off to trek. Everyone was pretty excited today because we were going to be trekking in lush green meadows half the time. So everybody was pumped up while trekking, which ultimately helped us finish the forest part of the trek pretty soon. Today I was among the first ones to come out of the forest. That sight, oh that beautiful sight of the meadows is non-describable. It is pretty, it's beautiful, it's windy, but moreover it's soothing. We went a little further to reach Ali Bugyal. Here 'Ali' is the 'name of the meadow' and 'Bugyal' means 'Meadow'. The view from over here is something I cannot put in words. I can show you pictures but even that won't give you the feel it would give if you were actually there.
Bedni Bugyal is one of the most beautiful alpine meadows situated in Uttarakhand, located at the border Garhwal and Kumaon in Chamoli district
Next day brought with it the inevitable, nature calls! Just to clear any doubts of the non-trekkers, there are toilet tents pitched up there. There were a set of rules for us, one of them being the‘6-7-8’ take off system wherein we get our tea at 6, breakfast at 7, and take off at 8 with dry ration such as biscuits, fruits or boiled aloo. Today, we ascended around a 1,000ft and crossed the treeline and entered the long green meadows called Bugyals. We reached our second camp site at Bedni Bugyal. Beautiful landscape with snowy mountains and green grasslands was the reward for making it up there. We played volleyball there for hours and relaxed before going off to bed in the warmth of the bonfire.It was so bloody cold at night and we almost froze to our bones, but the frostbite didn’t stop my tent mate and I from waking up again at 3 am for, you guessed it right, the inevitable! While doing our task, we randomly looked at the sky and saw something we didn’t anticipate in our wildest dreams. The dark sky was filled with innumerable stars shining so very bright! And we exclaimed, to each other, “Hey dude, see that!” We saw a shooting star. And then another. The sight was awesome, magnificently, breathtakingly awesome! On the way back to the tent, he wished me: “Raj, Happy Birthday” and that’s when I realised it was my birthday. I went back to my deep slumber with some unimaginable gifts from nature and excitement for what lies ahead.
Beyond Wan the Yatra leaves behind human settlements and launches on a herculean journey further into the belly of the Himalayas. The monsoons that had been oddly quiet as the procession moved from Mundoli to Wan paid obeisance to Nanda by unleashing rain, winds, lightning and thunder on tired and hungry pilgrims slowly making their way to the grasslands of Bedni Bugyal. The thick jungles leading to the bugyal that usually hosted occasional trekkers or shepherds had been usurped by a motley group of yatris – people walking barefoot sharing the path with ones with the latest trekking gear, sadhus sharing glucose with travel photographers, undaunted oldies keeping up with feisty teenagers, ladies adorned in sparkling jewelry and sandals. Bedni Bugyal itself had been turned into a bustling settlement overnight with hundreds of colourful tents interspersed with makeshift eateries churning delectable dishes. This human element was complimented by nature displaying its different moods; magical double rainbows arching across the horizon, fog rising from the valleys and climbing over steep ridges, the sun momentarily peeking from behind the clouds and bright stars lighting up the night sky. All night long the sound of drums spiced with folk songs or jagars had kept awake the towering massifs of Trisul and Nanda Ghunti rising in the distance. And in the ensuing morning the enviously green bugyal was bathed in refreshing sunlight with glistening far-off snowy peaks reflected in the green waters of Bedni Kund where spirited pilgrims were taking a dip and performing puja on the banks.
There it was, the Bugyal- a never ending uneven field covered with winter grass, ant-like creatures scattered on its crests and troughs, and gigantic mountains in the background. The meadow spread wider and wider as we approached it. It was not the kind of beauty that intimidates you, it was the kind that first mesmerises you and then welcomes you into its warm arms. And so we stepped off the rocky trail and walked past the grazing mules and smiling faces to the only shack in the area. The guy serving food there baffled me. First, he was walking around bare feet wearing only a t shirt and pair of jeans when I was covered in four layers, gloves, double socks, mountain shoes and what not. Second, his face struck an uncanny resemblance to Jimmy Page’s. Jimmy said he had one packet of Maggi left. Not noodles, Maggi. The evening couldn’t get any better.
The next day we started early, like at 4 a.m. We had to cover another 18 kilometres that would lead us to Bedni Bugyal. Trekking to Bedni Bugyal was a real pain and thrilling. At an elevation of almost 3,460 ft, this place has some amazing view of the lofty peaks of nanda devi. As the temperature dropped down to -9 degree celcius we had no option other than pitching a tent at Bedni as we couldn't travel further. Weather here is highly unpredictable, therefore it is advised to carry some extra woolen and rain coats to help you beat those freezing cold breeze.