Many hikers confuse the Ali Bedni Bugyal Trek and the Brahmatal Trek. What is the difference? At first glance, the question feels justified. Given that both hikes start in Lohajung, in Northwest Uttarakhand.
If we talk about the height, Ali Bedni Bugyal Trek climbs up 11,686 feet and Brahmatal climbs up 12,250 feet. That’s hardly a 500-foot difference.
Even the woods on both hikes – filled with rhododendrons and oaks – have a similar feeling. This is expected because both hikes are in the same region.
Check out the map below for an overview of their area. Note that the path on the left is the Brahmatal Trek and the right is the Ali-Bedni Bugyal Trek.
They almost look like a hike. But there is a world of differences between the two.
Difference you may not notice if you don’t Visualize the two walks clear in your mind’s eye.
We start with the Ali Bedni hike.
Highlights of the Ali Bedni hike
This hike is part of the legendary Roopkund Trail. When you think of the Ali Bedni hike, think of the following three things:
The dark forest
If you start the hike from Lohajung, you will first enter the forests of this region. These are filled with brown oaks (called khoru) and Rhododendrons. These trees could easily be one a thousand years old. This gives you a calm feeling while hiking through an old landscape.
This dense setting of rhododendrons and oaks too Clear the stage for the meadows ahead. From Didina you hike 3 km in the shade. Then suddenly the landscape opens up and you are at the entrance to extensive meadows. The Forest set the stage for this drama.
On the way back from Bedni to Wan, the forest comes into view again. Well, for a different reason.
You are dark with Leaves crunch under your feet how you descend. If you start early in the morning from Gehroli Patal on your final day, you’ll see sunlight pouring through the leaves at lovely angles. It’s a photographer’s delight!
Rare alpine meadows
The forest section from Didina to Ali Bugyal sets the stage for the meadows, but nothing prepares you for it.
Imagine walking in a shady landscape covered with trees and then suddenly jump into a wide, open expanse. The drama with which the landscape changes stays in your head. For a moment, you remain spellbound on the scale of the meadows that stretch out in front of you.
Gradually you take in the sight. On the periphery, Mt. Trishul and Mt. Nanda Ghunti say big.
At that moment, all you can do is stand there mesmerized.
Grand view of the mountains
The view of the mountains that tower over the meadows is something special. From here you have the greatest view of Mt. Trishul and Mt. Nanda Ghunti. With or without meadows, you won’t find those tall mountains rising right in front of you from another hike.
Whenever the Indiahikes team visits the Lohajung region, it is like that common to ascend to Ali Bugyal and just look at the greatness of nature. It has become a ritual simply because of the perfect environment Ali-Bedni Bugyal offers.
And so we see the Ali-Bedni Bugyal hike in our mind’s eye.
Let us now come to what Brahmatal – also based on Lohajung – looks like.
Highlights of the Brahmatal hike
The way to Brahmatal Monitor the way to the Ali Bedni hike. In fact, you can see the entire Roopkund trail laid out in front of you from Jhandi top the Brahmatal hike. (Read co-founder Sandhya UC’s blog – Brahmatal, For The Love of Roopkund)
Apart from that, the following things define the Brahmatal Trek.
A charming comb line and tilandi
This is missing in the Ali Bedni hike.
On the Brahmatal hike you hike at a high point, with the mountain falling on both sides. This is called the ridge line. A ridge line often gives the feeling of an extended peak.
What is appealing is that you can also camp on the ridge – at Tilandi. From here you can see the Himalayan landscape spread out on both sides.
When you are at a high point in Tilandi, you can watch the sunset and sunrise from the same campsite. And being at the peak also makes it the windiest campsite on the hike. (Check out this Instagram video for an idea)
Two completely different alpine lakes
Another facet of the Brahmatal hike that is missing from the Ali Bedni hike is the high-lying lakes. There are two. Bekaltal and Brahma Valley.
It is a fascinating experience on a hike to come across an alpine lake where water is collected from the melting glaciers. In Brahmatal you will come across two alpine lakes, both are different from each other.
The deep blue water of Brahmatal reflects the lonely tree at its side. Photo by Neerava Mehta
Bekaltal is surrounded by brown oaks. This limits the sunlight that falls on and leads to the lake special brown algae which thrive in weak sunlight.
In contrast, Brahma Valley sits in the open grasslands. It receives a lot of sunlight. Early in the morning the deep blue water von Brahmatal reflect a lonely tree that stands by its side.
Moments spent at these two lakes will stay with you for a long time.
Accessible in winter
This is the beauty of the Brahmatal hike. It allows you to hike on a ridge even in the middle of winter.
Ridge treks are usually inaccessible in winter. Mostly because it’s going to be risky. Treks like Phulara Ridge Trek or Khopra Ridge Trek can be used inaccessible. But the Brahmatal ridge is safe, gentler. It is accessible during the main winter.
This is rare and an experience that only Brahmatal can offer – walking on a ridge and observing two sides of a landscape – the mountains on one side and the deep valley on the other, wrapped in snow
Differences between the two walks from Lohajung
Now that both walks are firmly anchored in the eye of your mind, let’s focus on the differences.
Trekking on meadow against ridge
Although both hikes take place in the Lohajung region, in one you hike in the most exquisite meadows in Asia and in the other on a ridge without meadows.
This opens up very different experiences of the same landscape.
In the Ali-Bedni Bugyal hike that Experience walking barefoot in the meadowRolling off the hills and looking at the great mountains while sitting right in front of them is unprecedented.
In Brahmatal sunsets, sunrises and alpenglow, especially from Tilandi’s free campsite is unique. It’s a photographer’s paradise for beautiful lighting.
Mountain view with different perspectives
While you might be looking at the mountains in the same region, it makes a difference where you look at them from.
During the trek in the vast meadows, the Big mountains rise right in front of you. You can sit in the meadows for hours and watch the size of the Himalayas from Ali Bedni meadows.
On the other hand, you get a very different perspective than that Brahmatal Trek. When you walk the ridge, you have the majestic Mountains rise on one side. On the On the other side you have a deep valley. It suddenly puts the scale into perspective.
Differences in difficulty
The difficulty levels of both treks are also different. The Ali Bedni hike is a bit easier than the Brahmatal hike. The only challenging section on this hike are the switchbacks on the ascent from Neelganga to Didina.
The Brahmatal hike, the hike to the Brahmatal summit, tests your endurance. And unlike other easy to moderate hikes – like Dayara Bugyal and Kedarkantha – Brahmatal has longer days with steeper ascents and descents.
You can see the two walks clearly. You also know the difference between the two. Still the question remains – who will you choose
The truth is, both walks offer different perspectives for the same region. Do both hikes for a complete picture of the Lohajung area. It’s difficult to choose one.
But if you have to, do it based on the time of year. Brahma Valley is the best choice if you want to hike in peak winter. Ali-bedni bugyalOn the other hand, it is a nice choice when the snow melts.
If you have a way or differentiation to make this choice easier, please drop it in the comment section below. 🙂 Happy Trekking!