Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma

Tripoto
30th Dec 2018

THE MOUNTAIN BLISS

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal
Day 1

The day starts with me waking up at my home in Delhi and getting ready so that I can get all the survival essentials I need for my trek in the freezing mountains of Uttarakhand. After I get all my things I pick up my friend, Vatsa, from the metro station who came from Gujarat for the trek. Let me tell you one thing about this friend, he s not fit at all but he is still willing to come with me on this trek. One thing is clear to me even before going on the trek, you need to be mentally fit even if you are not much physically fit. After that, we went to decathlon for our last minute shopping. I had planned out every possible thing that I might need on this trek and I am enclosing a list of same here to help you guys. These are must needed essentials for a trek. In my opinion, one should always pack for the worst for a trek because we never know what may bestow upon us.

CLOTHING

1) Thermals -2 pair

2) Quick-dry shirts or T-shirts- 2 pair

3) Trek pants-2 pair

4) 3 in 1 jacket by Quechua ( As it eliminates 3 layers that you have to carry - windsheeter, rainproof, insulated layer)

5) Trek boots ( never cheap out on them as they make a big big difference)

6) Wollen socks -4 pair

7) Balaclava

8) Woolen gloves

Survival essentials

1) Ziplock bags ( very important)

2) Polythenes

3) Sunscreen SPF 40+

4) Water Bottles - 2 Bottles of 1 Ltr each

5) Toilet papers

6) Torch ( preferably head torch)

7) ORS or Glucon-D

8) Hand sanitizer

9) Quick dry towels

10) Lip balm

11) Wet Wipes

12) Energy bars

13) Power banks

14) Sunglasses UV

15) Petroleum jelly

16) Leukoplast

DO NOT FORGET THEM!!!! I REPEAT, NEVER FORGET THEM!!!!

So after everything was done for, we got something to eat and got home, packed our bags and called an uber for ISBT Anand Vihar where our bus to Haldwani was waiting for us. It was a sleeper bus so we slept and braced ourselves for all the excitement and adventure that awaited us in the days ahead.

Day 2

We woke up at 6:40 at the sound of our bus coordinator shouting and telling all the Haldwani passengers to get ready as it was impending. I and vatsa got up and packed our stuff which was outside and got out of the bus. It was freezing outside and we stood beside the road. Friendly advice, if you want to get to Kathgodam railway station, never take a private auto. There are plenty of sharing autos going about in the city which only charge you Rs.10-15 per person from Haldwani as compared to private autos which charge you Rs.100-150 depending upon the person and their gullibility. Obviously, I took the private auto, because honestly it was freezing cold out there and well, I am cool like that. Poor me! We reached the station and we went to the waiting room of the station as our group was there with whom we were going. We all were going with the trekking and adventure travel company by the name of CRAZY PEAKS. We were 11 persons and each one of us enthusiastic for the trek. I checked the washroom facilities in the railway which are pay and use and to my luck, it was closed because apparently, the guy didn't come who had the keys. Then we got into our traveler tempo for our journey to Lohagunj which is 214 km from Kathgodam. This is the base camp for the brahmtal trek. This place is also a base camp for Roopkund trek but at present, it is temporarily banned due to cleaning issues and changes in rules and regulations. The long and arduous journey started at 8 in the morning. The journey had just started and i am a great believer in the saying that journey is more beautiful than the destiny, which for me was not only the beautiful views & mesmerizing landscapes of the god's green earth but also the excitement of meeting new people and learning something new about the human life and the various layers of ingenuity I always end up marveling at. I am a person who likes to learn new things and meet new people. Well, pretty soon i made friends with others and the ride to our base camp was good. It had its ups and downs, literally as well as metaphorically because a 9-hour ride tends to get boring sometimes. But, at last, we made it there at 8 in the night.

Photo of Gwaldam, Uttarakhand, India by Mahrshi Rawal

This photo was clicked en route to Lohagunj. We were on the Gwaldam road and our bus was stopped in its way and our trek leader told us about this peak which is called Trishul peak. The name , as is evident from the photo, is because of the Trishul like top of the mountain. It is the third highest mountain peak in Uttarakhand but undoubtedly the most beautiful and riddled with mysteries. It is a majestic site to see it up close which i will on the day of my summit.

The sky here in Lohagunj was the clearest I have ever seen. Mind you that I have been to Sariska for astrophotography. The temperature was 1° when we arrived and our trek leader gave us a brief or our trip. We got dinner then and left for our rooms to take rest and regain our energies for the upcoming trek.

Day 3

After two days of traveling it was finally time for our trek to start. Our trek leader had instructed us the previous night about the layers we would need for the first day of the trek. We were in Lohagunj which is at 7575 ft and we had to trek to Bekaltal lake which was our first came site at 9689 ft. Layering required for the trek was a normal t-shirt ( quick dry preferred) and a down jacket while trekking. Friendly advice, whenever you stop at a resting point, add a layer on your body of an insulated jacket which in my case was the upper layer of my 3 in 1 jacket. As we are sweating from trekking in the mountains and our body temperature is also high but when we rest the body tends to cool down and the winds in the mountains are ghastly at penetrating the warmth in your body. So it is always advisable to add a layer whenever we stop to preserve the body heat. I know I know enough with the wisdom already, so here are some of the snaps of the magical morning in the mountains at Lohagunj.

Photo of Lohajung, lohajung, Mundoli, Uttarakhand, India by Mahrshi Rawal
Photo of Lohajung, lohajung, Mundoli, Uttarakhand, India by Mahrshi Rawal

After letting this beauty settle inside our beings, we picked up our bags and trekking sticks and on we went to our ascend to the holy lake of Bekaltal. The trail starts from the Lohagunj village and goes through Mandoli village and all the way up to Bekaltal lake. The path is laden with rhododendron and oak trees. The path is beautiful in all its aspects with greenery surrounding your eyes and a well-laden trail. The rhododendron trees or Burach trees as they are called in the mountain dialect are very good for the heart and their extract is made in Lohagunj. On our path, we found water sources from where we filled our water bottles. Let me tell you guys, there is nothing more blissful than pure mountain water directly from the source. All this mineral water and RO water is a facade and pure BS. Once you taste that water, there is no way you won't feel the pureness and real minerals in every sip you take. Our trek leader told us that this water helps in digestion as well.

For those out there who are beginners in this trekking world, when you first start trekking on day 1 and that too on a steep trail with your backpack on, you will feel tired within minutes. But its very normal as our body takes some getting used to this newfound usage of muscles in our body, so hang in there. And the most important part is that all of it will go away when you see the rewarding beauties of mother earth. It may be a beautiful peak or an animal or plant or a tree, that feeling of achievement and bliss you feel in your heart is incomparable. It takes away all the exhaustion and weariness and replaces it with enthusiasm and confidence to keep on going. Till the time we reached our first resting point we all were very exhausted but as I said mother nature never ceases to reward and here it was. This black raven and the view along with good songs took away our fatigue.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal
Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal
Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal
Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal
Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

On we went towards our campsite and on our way, there was another resting point after a small bridge called Link-Gaad to help us cross the stream of water and the way upwards was now more forest-like.The resting point is in Begum and from here Navali Bugyal and Bagdi Bugyal can be seen. Earlier it was stone trails and sands and now it was green trails and sands. Not that there were no trees earlier but now it was only trees. The green enchanted our beings and we all went on through the ravishing trails towards our destination.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal
Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

After a while, you can see mount Trishul in the horizon in all its might and bright. We kept walking towards our campsite through the oak trees and there it was, in all its glory and its sight made our hearts filled with joy. No, I am not talking about our campsite but about the first snow on our trail to Bekaltal lake. The weather was freezing but it wasn't snowing yet. It was enough cold to not let the snow remain in its alluring white form. It was just before our campsite where we encountered it and we took our time to encapsulate it our hearts.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

We continued on our way with snow trails beside us and we reached our campsite in 5 mins from there. We reached our campsite at around 2 in the afternoon. The mountains covering our campsite were also covered in snow and we took off our backpacks and shoes to get some rest. Lunch was being prepared and tents were being set up. We did some stretching to avoid cramps and sat in the open to bask in the sunlight while we still had the chance. Another piece of friendly advice, let your ears and nose and eyes stay open when you take rest for a while so that you can acclimatize. It is very important in the mountains to acclimatize your body.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

After our lunch we got soup and then we went to see the Bekaltal lake. It is 100 meters from the campsite and it a frozen river at this point in time. Just take a look at this beauty. The layer of snow is thick and covers the major part of the lake.

Photo of Bekaltal, Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India by Mahrshi Rawal
Photo of Bekaltal, Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India by Mahrshi Rawal

There is a very beautiful story behind this lake. Our trek leader, who is a local, told us this story and some of you might not believe in it but after spending so much time in the mountains I have come to believe that something divine and heavenly is there. The vibes that surround you are just sublime.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

This lake is named after Bekal Naag whose temple is on the banks of this lake. The lake is very deep and has a flower in the center of it. Now this flower keeps moving but earlier it used to be always in the center of it. The story is the villagers used to come with a bowl full of milk and used to keep it on one end of the lake. It used to flow towards the flower and go inside the lake and come up empty and then flow back to the end. Our trek leader's grandmother used to come here and do this along with other villagers. This lake and its pious water are considered holy and on every Janmashtami, there is a Mela at the banks of this river where villagers from different villages come to offer their prayers to the Bekal Naag.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal
Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

An Interesting history lesson for those of you who are interested, back when Gorkha's used to reign our nation, they came here and wanted to shift this lake to a place downwards and so they started digging out a place to shift it and in this process, the present campsite at Bekaltal lake was made. But the Gorkha's were not able to achieve their goal. During their process, the clouds turned black and it seemed it was going to rain and it actually did but not the typical rain with water but with spikes of iron. All the Gorkha's were laid to rest in their process of shifting this holy lake for their own greedy needs. The evidence of these spikes can still be seen there with one of those spikes still stuck in a tree in those lands. Our trek leader also has one at his home and he got it tested to know what it was made of as it was not rusting even after so much time had passed. No one was able to identify the material it was made of but it was presumed iron of some sort but it was surely something more than it.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

These stories made us realize the holiness of that place and after praying at the temple we came back to our campsites to shed all our fatigues and gather our strength for the days to come. We had gathered wood from here and there and after we had our dinner we all went to this shelter where there was a fireplace to get ourselves warm as it was freezing cold there at night. We played dumb charades and talked about stuff until it was time to sleep.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

There was no cell service there and that is the time you get to know about a person. You see the real person and not the one hiding behind his phone. We all got to know each other in a way we didn't have a chance to yet. It was an amazing and cold night in those mountains. Far away from home, yet it felt at home somehow in those mountains. Maybe that's just me and my love for the mountains or maybe it was for everyone who was there that day.

Day 4

After a freezing night among the mountains, we woke up to our camps covered in a light snowfall. It was around 7 in the morning and my legs were numb from the cold. I quickly got to the shelter hut where the fireplace was and I took off the two pair of woolen socks and shoes I was wearing while sleeping. YES, TWO PAIRS OF WOOLEN SOCKS!!!! WAIT TILL YOU REACH THE END OF THIS DAY!!!

It took me almost 15-20 mins to get the numbness out of my feet. Now it was time to get fresh and ready for the day ahead. For those of you who are new to this alluring world of travel and trekking, there are no comfortable western pots with jet spray to sprinkle hot water on your tushy after you do the doo-doo. There is a tent in which there is a shovel with a hole dug in the ground where you have to do the deed and keep it dry, which for us Indians means an entirely new thing. So moving on from my seemingly "make you gorge rise" yet helpful information, I freshened up and had breakfast. We packed our bags and filled up our bottles for the journey as there was no water source en route.

We started our ascent at around 8:30 in the morning. The way towards Brahmtal lake was again through the Bekaltal lake. Since the last evening, the lake had frozen much more and the snow covered almost the whole lake. The way upwards is steep initially and takes us through lush green surroundings and laden with rhododendron trees and oak trees. Time for another friendly advice( I KNOW RIGHT!!!), when you are trekking make sure to breathe through your nose and not your mouth. When we are trekking we are panting and as a result, our breathing is much faster. Therefore, if we breathe through our mouths, it will get dry quickly and you will feel thirsty regularly. Also, you feel less tired when you are breathing through your nose and it helps you maintain your stamina. While trekking it is important to maintain a rhythm which essentially means take as many fewer stops as you can. Maintain a pace and keep going at that because when you stop your body starts to cool down and it becomes difficult with each time to get up and start trekking again.

After an hour and a half, the tree line come to an end and we enter the meadows. There it is again the majestic and heavenly Mount Trishul and Mount Nanda Ghunti to our left.

Photo of Bekaltal, Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India by Mahrshi Rawal

And to the right, from the ridge of the meadows, you can see the valley from Lohagunj to Wan. There is an excellent panoramic view of the mountains and you can also map the meadows of the Roopkund trail- Aali and Bedni Bugyals from the opposite ridge.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

The way ahead was towards the Jhandi top and I was walking with 2 of my fellow group members and our assistant trek leader(ATL). Soon it was only me and the ATL with the other 2 members far behind but still at a reasonable distance from us. We ran into an old local who was with his mule and going towards Brahmtal campsite. He told us about many new things such as our campsite for tomorrow and that it is located just above the second resting point on our first day of ascent towards Bekaltal lake. We also saw our campsites from way far out and we were told about the uses of moss that grows on mountains. Apparently, it is used to clean the wooden utensil used for making curd or "mattha" as they call it.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal
Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

The path at many points was laden with rhododendron trees and after a while, the climate took a change for the worse. It was getting more and more certain with every few miles we ascent, that snowfall is coming. It was not before we reached Jhandi top that it started but OMG it started.!!!! I, especially, was very happy that snowfall had started as I had not seen live snowfall before let alone trek in it. That moment, me on the highest point on the ridge (Jhandi top), snowfall directly on my mouth and witnessing the mountains getting one with the snow and changing their colors to that astonishing and lovely white, all the while taking in the beautiful views from that top is one of the many memories that have left an indelible imprint on me. Those are some of the most cherished moments of my life. The top has clear views of the Roopkund trail and other mountain panoramas. The peace you feel inside at this height and the vibes you feel in the air are somethings which cannot be defined in words. They can be just felt and are meant to be kept with you, inside you, for your being and soul.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

While we were taking in these serene beauties of life, the other 8 members of our group were with our trek guide and were trekking in snowfall. Trust me guys, no matter how much amazing it sounds it is as much, if not less dangerous. One side, there is a downhill slope which leads to the valleys through many rocks and on the other side, there is more of the same with rocks being replaced by trees and bushes. It is times like these which make you realize the real worth of your trekking shoes.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

After a while, we all regrouped at a point below the Jhandi top and the way forwards was descent towards our campsite. Now we just had to go downhill and there was no steep which was a relief. There was heavy snowfall on our way and the way forwards which once was all mustard and green was covered in white. We took shelter behind a big stone had our packed lunch. Aloo jeera and Paranthe in the middle of the mountains in snowfall. HOW COOL IS THAT :D ( LITERALLY)!!!

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal
Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal
Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal
Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

After lunch, we clicked some photos and goofed around in the snow after covering ourselves in proper layers. Soon the snowfall came to an end, and we started again towards our campsite. In the mountains, when after a snowfall the sun comes, it gets hot AF. I saw the way we walked upon getting back to its original mustard and green.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal
Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal
Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

After a while, we reached almost close to our campsites and we could see the whole way that we had trekked so far and that feeling of achievement is a great one. In no time from there, we reached the Brahmtal lake. This lake is surrounded by mountains and it often blends in with them when it is frozen. The lake of Lord Brahma resides in all its glory in between those mountains. The lake is just 500 meters from the campsite. It is narrow as compared to Bekaltal lake but longer. Finally, the Lake which we all came to see was in front of us in all its glory. It was almost frozen in full and we took many photos of the eccentric views surrounding it.

Photo of BrahmaTal, Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India by Mahrshi Rawal

We got back to our campsites and got some rest after we did stretching. We were served mushroom soups and we all decided to sit together in the dinner tent so that it will warm and cozy.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

We all knew that tonight the temperatures were gonna drop crazy and snowfall was a sure shot. We were playing cards and I was introduced to a new game called MAFIA. The group of 7 MBBS students taught us that game and we were hooked on to it. We kept playing it for around 2 hours which was until 5 in the evening. We got out then to gather wood for the night and it was nighttime before we even knew it. The stars were much closer and the sky was clear. The night was one of the most beautiful sights for our tired eyes from our trekking.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

We sat around in the fire letting our eyes drink in this night for we aren't getting anything close to this where we live. The cold night felt somehow warm from the inside. Our bodies were cold yet our souls weren't. It is a beautiful feeling to have felt and I treasure and bask in it every chance I get in my life. I took it with me along with many other memories.

Day 5

It was the coldest night of my life yet. To emphasize this, I will tell you a small instance. Before sleeping we all were given boiled water to drink as the normal water was freezing cold. We all filled up our water bottles with it and in the morning when we woke up, it was ICED inside the bottle. LITERALLY ICED!!!!

It was 7 in the morning and the sun was nowhere to be seen. After getting fresh, we all gathered around the fireplace and got the briefing from our trek leader. We had to leave by 8:30 for our summit. We were going to the Khamira top and as per the old people of Uttarakhand, it essentially means we have crossed the Indian border and are in China. It is at a height of 12,500 ft and it is the highest point of our trek. It was necessary for us to leave by 8:30 as clouds were approaching fast and the view of astonishing and spellbinding Mount Trishul and Mount Nanda Ghunti and other ranges from there would not be visible clearly.

We left at 8:45 and the way upwards was steep and dangerous. The way goes through the Brahmtal river and requires a lot of steep trekking but this day is also the most rewarding.

I was on my way up with my other members when I got the nature's call and I had to go out of my way to do the doo-doo. YES IN THE MIDDLE OF THE HILLS IN THE OPEN!!! Believe it or not, it was a great experience. My ATL was waiting for me on the ridge upwards the rock I had used as my shelter for doing the deed. I got to him and we started trekking upwards. HERE IT COMES GUYS, ANOTHER ONE OF MY FRIENDLY ADVICE!!!! When you are trekking on a steep mountain trail, always rest with your face towards the way you have already covered. Use your trekking pole to lean down on and take deep breaths while looking at the path covered by you. It gives you a sense of achievement and motivation. If you look straight up to the way you still have to cover, it might make you feel like OH GOD!! I HAVE TO KEEP GOING FOR THAT LONG!!

I was pretty far from my other group members and only Me, Vatsa and our ATL were together. Vatsa was essentially down in the spirits until our ATL told us this trick to boost our spirits. It was a challenging way up and we could see our other members along with our team leader who had already reached the top and was taking in the serene beauties the top had to offer. This made us take the north face of the mountain to climb as it was the fastest way up. Now the north face, as you might be knowing, is not the traditional choice of anyone because it doesn't have any direct sunlight and due to which there was snow on our paths. But our perseverance paid off and we didn't stop until the very first glimpse of the majestic Mount Trishul and Mount Nanda Ghunti.

Photo of BrahmaTal, Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India by Mahrshi Rawal

We were only a tad bit away from the top and the view raised our spirits through the roof. We had seen a sight so heavenly and that too from so close that we couldn't wait to run the remaining way up to the top. YOU GUESSED IT RIGHT !!! WE DID THE SAME!!!

There we were, on the Khamira top and everything seemed so serene and peaceful. It was the end point of our trek, and we had been through it all to reach here. IT WAS WORTH EVERY PENNY AND EVERY SECOND OF IT!!!!

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

The view from up there offers the most prominent peaks of Uttarakhand. You can see the entire Roopkund trail and even the Roopkund pass. Mount Nanda Ghunti, Mount Trishul, Mount Hathi Ghoda etc. You can also see the way to Badrinath via Roopkund pass and Hathi peak.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

On the opposite side, you can see the entire valley and your brahmtal base camp. You can literally map the route you have climbed through the reach here. You can also see the entire Khamira range on another end of the top. The views are a lot to take in and you get lost in them the minute you lay eyes on it. When you are up there, everything in the world seems small (literally as well as metaphorically). The sense of something enlightening glows in your heart and soul and the worldly problems and issues seem small and almost irrelevant.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal
Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

Our trek leader told us that China tried attacking India once through the other side of Mount Trishul and they had to climb Mount Trishul to attack us. Our army was deployed here on the Khamira top and the neighboring ranges. But the Chinese Army couldn't climb the gigantic and heavenly Mount Trishul and many soldiers lost their lives in those mountains. It was that Mountain that proved to be an impedance for the Chinese Army and a boon for us.

After spending a considerable amount of time to take in the beauty of nature from the top, we went on towards our campsite. We had to walk through the Khamira range and reach Jhandi top from where our descent would start towards our campsite which was near Bagdi Bugyal. The path was very dangerous with steep valleys either side of the trail but also with rewarding and astonishing views.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

Climbing through steep trails laden with snow and also small pathways between two mountains, we reached the Jhandi top. By the time we reached the Jhandi top, the clouds had covered the majestic mountains. But lucky us, we had already seen the view. We rested there for a while and ate some refreshments, we carried with us and got on our way.

The path was now descending and I personally prefer descending trails than ascending. Now you may think that DUH MAN EVERYONE PREFERS IT!!! But no that's not true. For example, my trek leader prefers steep as compared to downslope trails. Soon we were in the green lands of mountains and trees surrounded us. The path downwards offers great opportunities to just slide through them if they are covered in snow. Unfortunately, there was no snow there that day. As the trip was coming to an end, we all were getting a little sad from inside. That all of this would be over soon and once again we will have to get back to our respective lives. This is the worst part of every trip. As a result, there were many breaks during our descent downwards. These breaks were not made by us but the trekking team with us. They were also a little overwhelmed I guess. After all, we were the first batch of 2019. And what a new year it had been. The best I have ever had in my life. Starting a year with a trek in the Mountains of Uttarakhand. IF THAT"S NOT A HAPPY NEW YEAR, I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS!!!

After resting for a while, we walked on towards our campsite which was hardly a 10 mins walk from there. Just before the camp, there was a Maggi point and we all had Maggi and Egg Bhurji and Tea. We also ate KitKat chocolates. There was a water source near the point and we filled the water bottles from there and on we went to our camps. The realization that this was the last night we were all going to spend together had dawned upon everyone and yet no one wanted it to ruin the time we still had in our hands. The campsite had a fantastic view of the valley that leads to the Lohagunj village. The campsite was in Daldum.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

We sat in the open and saw the sunset and had our soup. The last sunset in the mountains, it was majestic.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

We finally had networks and everyone called their loved ones to let them know that they are alive and well. We gathered together and played the MAFIA game for around an hour and a half and it was time for dinner. After dinner, 10 of us got inside one Alpine tent and played MAFIA for about 3 hours. It was another one of those memories I cherish every day. Around 11: 30, we got to our respective tents and dozed off.

Day 6

The night was not that cold as compared to the other two nights we had been through. We woke up around 7 and sun was on us already. It was a relatively warm morning and we all freshened for our breakfast. Breakfast was a typical mountain Sabji called Jhol. YES, IT IS EXACTLY AS IT SOUNDS. In the mountains, due to the shortage of vegetables, a mixture of various vegetables is cooked and served hot along with Roti or Puri. We ate Jhol and Puri and filled our water bottles for our final descent towards our base camp, where it all began.

The trail was downhill and laden with trees. One thing I learned while trekking downhill was that, sometimes when you are going downhill, your toes start to hit the stone guard of your shoes from the inside. As a result, your toes start hurting. Whenever this happens, I find it best to use side foot while stepping downhill. This way your toes won't hit against the stone guard and all your wait will be on the side foot. Keep in mind that you must have ankle support in your trekking shoes to do this, otherwise, your ankle may twist if you step recklessly by mistake.

Photo of Wan, Uttarakhand, India by Mahrshi Rawal

The Vibes around the group was one of melancholy due to the impending end of our trip. Songs being played in one of the Bluetooth speakers and we sang our way downhill. It was one of those moments when you are all ecstatic as well as a little sad.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

It was a sunny and windy day.Soon we reached the similar trails that we walked on our DAY 1 of ascent. We could see the different villages and We stopped there to have our lunch and we lied down beneath the clear sky. Songs, Sunlight, Clear sky and Good Company. It was almost PERFECT.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal
Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal
Photo of Lohajung, lohajung, Mundoli, Uttarakhand, India by Mahrshi Rawal

It was Around 1 when we reached our base camp. Everyone somehow ended up deciding that we all are gonna take a bath and we all ordered a bucket of hot water from the lodge with the exception of two fine gentlemen in our group. They both wanted to take a bath with cold water. Trust me guys, the cold water there is no joke. And as expected we heard them both screaming when the very first drop of water hit their body. But somehow they made it. IDIOTS.

So after a while, when we were all freshened up, we went to explore the small village of Lohagunj. There is not much to see in that village. We returned the stuff we had rented and My friend Vatsa bought a bottle of Rhododendron juice for his heart.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

We all went to a temple in Lohagunj and by that time, it was getting dark. We came back to our rooms and we all had decided to party that night.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

We had all the STUFF needed to party in the mountains ( IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN ;) ). Our trek leader came and gave us a certificate for completing the trek and we all had to go for the dinner in the restaurant. After our dinner, it was TIME TO PARTAYYYYYY!!!!! Speakers were out and liquor was served. Of course, the other STUFF was there too.

In that night, beneath the lovely lit sky of Lohagunj, we sat and enjoyed every moment of the time we had. We laughed, we shared, we drank, we played, we sang and most important of it all, we made memories. Everyone who was there that night had one wish in his heart, to do this again, this trip, we wanted something like this again. HOPEFULLY ONE DAY !!! We had to leave at 8 in the morning in the Traveller for Kathgodam railway station but we didn't care. We partied hard till late in the night and went to our beds around 2 in the night. It was a Night to remember.

Day 7

The morning came to life with everyone hurrying to get everything in their bags to leave for the railway station. The drive was 8 hours long. We all packed hurriedly as we were partying last night and were in no state to do it in the night. We freshened up as quickly as we can and packed and got to the traveler waiting for us outside our lodge. In all this hot-footed packing, I left my outer layer of 3 in 1 jacket at the lodge which I realized when I reached Delhi.

The bus Trip was not much fun especially for me because I was feeling a bit nauseous. In between our journey back to Kathgodam, We made a deal with our driver for a hundred bucks per head in which he will take us to Nainital before our final destination ( Kathgodam). We reached around 4 in Nainital and we went on towards the mall road beside the Naina lake. We did boating in the majestic Naina lake.

Photo of Nainital, Uttarakhand, India by Mahrshi Rawal

Nainital is named after Naina Devi ( Goddess of eyes) and the Naina lake is in the shape of an eye. I decided to not eat anything except some chips and juice because I wasn't feeling good. After boating, we roamed around the Tibet market and mall road and from what I can tell, the place is commercialized too much now.

Photo of Brahmatal Trek- The Land of Goddess Brahma by Mahrshi Rawal

My other group members decided to dine at Dominos because it had been some time since they last saw a pizza. All this while I was thinking of ways to get out of yet another bus trip to Delhi after I reached Kathgodam railway station. Unlike other group members, I and Vatsa didn't have train reservations as we didn't book them on time. Fortunately one of the 7 students from the AIIMS who was in our group decided he didn't want to go back to his life yet. He decided to stay back in Nainital for 2 days and booked a hostel. The other 6 were kind enough to help me and Vatsa out and offered us the empty seat. We just had to buy a general ticket worth 95 bucks. I was happy AF with this news and although I was scared that TC might say something or I might have to bribe him, all in all, I was happy AF. I didn't want to endure yet another journey on a bus.

I HATE BUSES. Unfortunately, it is a part of my love for Traveling and I am learning to live with it. After getting the pizzas packed we went to our traveler tempo and I closed my eyes for the remainder of the journey. It had been an amazing journey so far and I didn't want to ruin it by purging at the very end of it. Soon we were at our final destination and I was relieved at that fact. Not because the trip had ended but because I was out of that bus.

I got a general ticket to Delhi and we all got into our train Ranikhet express. It was fairly empty because most passengers will board at the upcoming stations.

We sat and played the addictive game of MAFIA and talked. I and Vatsa had to wake up early in the morning around 3:50 for our stop so we took the top seats to sleep and they were watching a movie at the lower berth. When I opened my eyes around 2 in the night, they were all asleep and two of them were sharing a berth to sleep. Seeing this made me realize the bond we had developed in such a short period of time. We just knew each other for only a week till then and they let us sleep in their confirmed seats while they shared. I asked them before I went to sleep that what if you guys want to sleep after watching the movie and to this they had said that they will share and it is very normal for them. They do it all the time in their hostel rooms as well. No matter what I was thankful for their kindness and generosity. I will never forget what they did for us even if it was a small thing.

Around 4:30 our train came to a halt at Delhi. We made our heavy-hearted goodbyes and deboarded the train. It was raining when we arrived in Delhi. It was almost Dramatic and cinematic and that too in a cliched sense. We were both tired and half asleep. We got an Uber back to my place and called it a night after reaching my place.

Day 8

We Had slept around 5:30 and woke up around 10. Vatsa's flight was around 2 in the afternoon. He wanted to visit Chandni Chowk before his flight and so we did. We took the metro to Chandni Chowk and ate various delicacies that old Delhi has to offer including Daulat ki chaat and Kake di Hatti and Giani's. He took some sweets for his family and also got the food from Kake di Hatti packed for dinner at his house. In all this, we got late and Vatsa got late for his flight. He had to wait till 8 in the evening to get the transfer on another flight.

It seemed surreal to be back in Delhi. It was as if only my body was here and my heart and soul were in those mountains. It was a wonderful experience and I would recommend everyone of you out there to try it once in your lifetime. Traveling is my love and my passion. If you have read till here, thank you for coming with me on my journey and I look forward to meeting you in my next adventure.

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