Lohajung is the base camp for the Ali Bedni Bugyal trek. The best way to reach here is from Kathgodam. Once you reach Lohajung, you find yourself face to face with the beautiful Nanda Ghunti peak. If you reach before sunset, the colours of the peak will enthral you. Lohajung is at the centre of 12-15 nearby villages. There are a couple of local stores where you can buy jackets, hand gloves, caps, shoes etc. if need be. However, it is advised that you carry all the required things for trek beforehand and not rely on these shops. You will have a mobile network in most parts of Lohajung. Lohajung, as the locals say, is the place where Goddess Parvati had a war (jung) with the demon, Lohasur. Hence, the name, which translates to ‘War with Lohasur.
From Lohajung, just behind the bus stand is a trail that takes you to Raun Bagad, an iron bridge, just below Didna village. This is a well-marked trail descending through mixed forests. All along your walk to Raun Bagad/Kulling you hear the whistles of the thrushes, the soft chirps of the swallows among the Rhododendrons. Below, the Wan river tumbles about as it rushes to meet the Bedni Ganga and seemingly out of the depths of the river, you’ll spot Lammergeiers, their massive wings stretched out catching the eddies. Two hours out of Lohajung, you reach an iron bridge over the river. This is Raun Bagad, a grassy bank on the river – a good place to camp. Think about this if you reach Lohajung early and looking for a camp site that gives you a head start. The trail starts to climb right after you cross the river. It is a zig-zag climb to Didna. The climb’s moderate but your legs tire easily. Breathing hard, you’ll reach Didna in about an hour and half’s time. Stretch it to two if your conditioning isn’t great. Didna village can be a bit confusing with many trails running into it. Stick to the trails that go around the village on the outer periphery — they lead directly to the Didna camp site, a clearing 200 ft above the village.
Meals: B, L, D
Start your day by walking towards Tolpani, a cluster of shepherd’s hut 3 kms away and a 1,000 ft higher. The trail to Tolpani moves away from the general direction of Ali Bugyal. The climb, however, is a good one through some of the densest oak you’ll see. Under you is a never ending brown carpet of leaves. Once you are on the ridge leading to the twin meadows, turn around start walking towards them. The forest continues to flaunt the trail on either sides. After walking for a shade under 3 kms, the landscape suddenly opens up. Soak in the mesmerising sight of the undulating meadows of Ali Bugyal. You are on the top of a ridge that spreads in every direction. Acres and acres of green meadow scooped out of the mountainside. Abin Kharak campsite is series of climb right out of the forest, a depression in the bugyal.
Meals: B, L, D
Clouds drift in from below, glide over the ridge and slide down the either side, all in a slow swift motion. You watch countless horses grazing on the bounty of nature. Foals tearing themselves across the turf in an uninhibited abandon, just being themselves. The climb over, leisurely walk your way to Bedni Bugyal, 5 kms away and more or less at the same level. If you are tempted to take off your shoes and allow the feel of the carpet on your toes, just go ahead and do it! The weather fluctuates in these parts and you can have moments of wild sunshine followed by anxious cloud cover. Keep your raincoat handy. Sometimes it rains for a few minutes leaving you frustrated, at times it could rain for a few hours. Take the trail heading to the right and below. 20 minutes later, you get to the tree line and sharp descent that signals the end of the meadows. Watch for the descending trail on your left. Run down into the oak and Rhododendron forest. Half an hour into your decent, you get to a clearing. The green trekker’s huts signals Gehroli Patal. On a clear day, you get astounding views of Mt Trishul commandeering over the area. Set up camp here.
Meals: B, L, D
From Gehroli, it is a steep ridge descent to the Neel Ganga. Faster trekkers reach the river in one and a half hours. The slower ones take two. Take your time because you will rarely see a more wondrous stretch of forest cover. The bridge on the Neel Ganga is an idyllic location to wash the dirt and grime of the long trek. Trees overhang the river and the water trips and falls over boulders in the shade. The water is cool and refreshing. From the river it is a short half-hour climb to the ridge above Wan village. There are many routes to the bottom of the Wan village, and all roads eventually lead down to the road junction (Kasar Bagad) near the hydel project. It takes about an hour and half to get down to Kasar Bagad. It is a steep descent. There is an alternative longer route to get down to Wan. From the ridge top of Wan, take the main trail that runs to the right. Follow the trail until it reaches the Cyprus trees at the lower Wan village. Spend time looking at the Cyprus trees because they are centuries old! You’ll take a jeep from Wan to Lohajung. It’s a drive of about 45 mins.
Meals: B, L, D
You’ll leave for Kathgodam early in the day. After reaching Kathgodam your trip ends.
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*for 15 pax
The Ali Bedni Bugyal Trek is an ideal trek for beginners and amateurs looking to gain experience before high-altitude expeditions. Hence, you can embark on this journey if you want to use it as a pre-trek. The ascent is smooth and gradual, although the descent is quite steep during the tail-end of the trek. Apart from this, if you are a photography enthusiast or an experienced nature photographer, you will not want to miss the opportunity to embark on this trek. You get enchanting views of sunrise and sunsets on Mt. Trishul from the Abin Kharak campsite on Ali Bugyal as well as from Bedni Bugyal. The sunlight playing hide and seek through the dense oak and rhododendron forests on the trail, gorgeous meandering meadows ending in hushed hamlets, and the reflection of Mt. Trishul on the crystal-clear waters of the enchanting Bedni Kund also call for some fantastic shots!
The Ali Bedni Bugyal Trek best time is between mid-March to June (pre-monsoon/summer) and early September to end-October (post-monsoon/autumn). However, the autumn season is considered best for trekking cum photography enthusiasts as the clear blue skies and the pleasant weather conditions create the perfect ambiance. The trail gets snow between mid-December to mid-March. Hence, you will get the receding snowline if you are trekking during late February or early March. Remember to wear shoes with microspikes, as it is pretty common to slip on the snow-clad trail and sustain moderate to severe injuries.
The round trail starts and ends at Lohajung, covering approximately 32 kilometers and reaching a maximum elevation of 3460 meters. The entire trek can be done within 6 to 7 days. Since it is pretty easy, the Ali Bedni Bugyal Trek is suited for beginners, amateurs, and those conditioning themselves for high-altitude treks. Even teenagers are taken to this trek as part of their summer camps. Therefore, you don’t need a very high level of physical fitness to embark on this trek. However, you should be adequately fit. A month of cardiovascular endurance and flexibility training consisting of swimming, cycling, stair climbing, brisk walking on undulating terrains, running, stretching of various muscles, etc., should do the trick.
For the gear guide and trek checklist, you should mandatorily carry full-sleeve t-shirts, thermal inners, quick-dry track pants, fleece t-shirts, fleece jacket, a down feather/woolen jacket, wind, and waterproof jacket and pants. Apart from these, always carry a waterproof poncho, suncap, woolen cap, neck gaiters, sunglasses, cotton and woolen socks, sturdy hiking boots with good grips and micro-studs, waterproof gloves and fleece/woolen gloves, and floaters/flip-flops. Carry a backpack (50- 60 liters) and daypack (20-30 liters) with suitable rain covers, a sturdy walking stick, headlamps with extra batteries, water bottle or hydration packs, and personal medical kits along with a first-aid kit. Your list of toiletries should contain sunscreen, moisturizer, lip balm, extra toilet paper, and wet wipes, biodegradable soap, hand sanitizers, quick-dry towels, antibacterial and antifungal powder, toothbrush, and toothpaste. Consider carrying energy bars, dry fruits, etc., for your snacking options as it is next to impossible to find a cook or a tea stall at this height. If you are trekking with a group or your family, it is advisable to get a local cook to accompany you for meal preparation.
If you come face-to-face with any emergencies during the trek, you should keep the following contacts handy.
- Police- 100
- Ambulance/medical- 102/108
- Fire- 101
- Disaster management- 1077/1070
- Disaster management control room- 0177-2812344
Rishikesh | India
Rishikesh | India
Rishikesh | India
Rishikesh | India
Rishikesh | India
Rishikesh | India