Moderate Level 3
TREK STARTS FROM
Sounder Village, Jammu & Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir's new trek discovery
While some of our treks in Jammu & Kashmir are very popular, only a few know that other treks in Jammu & Kashmir are equally exciting, yet the adventure is different.
The new Brammah Valley trek in the Kishtwar National Park blends the beauty of Kashmir with the kind of landscape we have not usually seen on treks.
First, the Brammah Valley trek offers stunning views of the four prominent peaks of Kishtwar, all above 6,000 m. Getting so close to such big summits on a trek is rare. It’s not just the summit; you see these big mountains from the base to the summit! To compare, at Gaumukh Tapovan, trekkers see the full height of Mt. Shivling and are in complete awe. They get to see around 2,500 metres of the mountain. On the Brammah Valley trek, you see almost 4,000 metres of the big mountains in one go! The impact is nearly two times as much.
You also camp next to these mountains at Kiddar Maidan, the trek's unique river delta campsite.
From the Kiddar Maidan campsite, on your left are the Eiger and Tarparan summits. On your right lies Mt. Brammah I, the second-highest peak in Jammu. Right next to it is the prominent Mt. Brammah Wife (surprisingly, that is the name!)
On this trek, you are trekking through the heart of the Kishtwar National Park. Kishtwar is known for its dense forest. You trek through the forests every day of your trek. The gradient of these forests is gently ascending with short steep sections, making it a very pleasant trek.
These are primarily coniferous, with a heady scent wafting through the woods as you trek along. In between are maples, except for a small patch of beautiful silver birch trees just before Kiddar Maidan. The variety of coniferous trees you find on this trek is unmatched. There are Chir pines, Deodars, Abies pin-drow, and spruces. The trees are sometimes so tall that they almost touch the sky.
What trekkers will love about these forests is how they are laid out. Every moment in the forest is mesmerising. Now and then, lovely clearings pop out of the forests. At other times, sunlight streams in through the trees in wonderful layers.
At every turn, there are exciting views. It becomes like a game to see what new surprises the forests have in store for us.
The Nath river accompanies you throughout the trek. Even while trekking in the deep forests, you constantly hear the river. The river starts to calm down as you trek deeper into the valley and becomes completely silent when you reach Kiddar Maidan. In the extensive grasslands of Kiddar Maidan, beside the silently gliding Nath river, is where we camp. If there were awards for the most beautiful campsites on our treks — this would be one of the top contenders.
Kishtwar is surrounded by high mountains, making it a natural fortress. The steep mountains provide a natural barrier to the outside world. This may be why Kistwar has always been so isolated from the rest of the country.
The Kistwar valley is also known for its alpine meadows and high-altitude wetlands. Our Brammah Valley trek takes us through each of these wonders.
Kishtwaris comprise most of the valley's population and are well-known for their distinctive culture, practises, and language. Unlike the rest of Kashmir, we see temples and mosques coexisting. A part of our trek falls on the trek to the Hudh Mata temple.
Even the architecture of the houses is distinctive. On the trek, we pass through tiny villages hanging on hillsides. Yet, from their precarious perches, the homes display an architecture from a world we rarely see.
In the Brammah valley, trekkers will find a new world of discovery waiting to be made. Trekkers must take advantage of the few spots we have available on the trek this year.
Videos to Prepare for Brammah Valley
Watch these videos to prepare for your Brammah Valley trek.
A route map of the Brammah Valley trek
Drive from Jammu to Sounder Village via Kishtwar
Drive: 268 km | Duration: 11 hours | Pick up point: Indira Chowk, Jammu
Transport will be organised at 5 am from Indira Chowk (J&K Bank ATM), Jammu - https://goo.gl/maps/h5bEpwY3q9Ce4L8aA. However the cost of travel has to be paid by the trekkers. It will cost Rs 10,000 for 6-7 seater vehicle.
Trek from Sounder village to Gogut campsite
Trek distance: 12 km | Duration: 8 hours | Altitude: 5,600 ft to 7,890 ft
Trek from Gogut to Kaikut campsite
Trek distance: 8 km | Duration: 6 hours | Altitude: 7,890 ft to 9,577 ft
Trek from Kaikut campsite to Kiddar Maidan (Chhater Chinan); Excursion at River Delta
Trek distance: 4.5 km | Duration: 3 hours | Altitude: 9,577 ft to 10,960 ft; to 11,600 ft and back to 10,960 ft
Trek from Kiddar Maidan to Hawal campsite
Trek distance: 10.1 km | Duration: 6 hours | Altitude: 10,960 ft to 8,745 ft
Trek from Hawal to Sounder village
Trek distance: 13.8 km | Duration: 7 hours | Altitude: 8,745 ft to 5,600 ft
Drive from Sounder to Jammu via Kishtwar
Drive Distance: 268 km | Duration: 11 hours | Drop-off time: 7 pm
Please note: The distance between campsites may vary by 100 meters depending on weather conditions and your route. The altitude may also vary by 100 feet for similar reasons.
➤Documents required: Trekkers must carry a copy of their photo id along with the mandatory documents of the Medical Certificate and Disclaimer form. These documents will be part of the Safety Check-in done by the trek leader when you arrive at the base camp.
➤Stay facility: You will stay at Sounder on Day 1 and Day 6. The rest of the days you will stay in tents. Do not bring any packaged food, tags from your new clothes or any waste with you. We follow a Dustbin Free Zone and No Wet Wipes Policy at our base camps in line with our spirit of Green Trails. On the trek, you will be staying 2 in a tent.
➤Cloakroom facility for excess luggage: We have a Cloak Room facility at the base camp for excess luggage. Anything beyond one piece of luggage is chargeable at Rs 500 per bag. Do not leave behind any valuables in the cloakroom.
A route map of the Brammah Valley trek
You'll love the drive to Sounder, especially Kishtwar onwards. It's a scenic drive along the Chenab river. You get to see the remote villages of Jammu including a hanging village!
The return journey takes you through the same places which you had taken during your Onward journey to reach Sounder.
Why I Believe Everyone Must Trek: A Note from the Founder
Trekking transforms lives. It has completely changed my life. When I see my colleagues at Indiahikes, all of them have been significantly impacted. The transformations have been profound and irreversible.
I see it in our trekkers too. I have seen them change professions, careers or start a new life. I have seen them get in and out of relationships and start new projects. These are life-changing experiences.
I have seen children building resilience. I have seen families come together. When I see those above 55, I see them rediscover passion and a sense of purpose. These are not small gains.
In the mountains, new professions, economies and businesses have opened up. Our staff no longer go to cities to earn their living. Their income has increased. Above all, they are happiest working in this world. Trekking has been truly transformative.
Everyone must trek. It transforms lives far more than you imagine.
What I Like About the Brammah Valley Trek
What I Like About the Brammah Valley Trek
The moment you come out of the silver birch forest, you are in for a treat. The surreal setting of Kiddar Maidan makes you go weak on your knees.
Picture by: Nitesh Kumar
First glimpse of Kiddar Maidan
Know Your Trek
We have always wanted trekkers to be well-informed before they go on a Himalayan trek. Knowledge is the difference between a safe trek and a dangerous one. It’s also the difference between a wholesome experience and a superficial experience.
Use this section to learn about the Brammah Valley Trek. It has in-depth information about each trekking day, what to expect, and how you need to prepare for it. Many years of expertise have gone into this content. Trekkers find that extremely useful.
Day 1 (Pick-up day): Drive from Jammu to Sounder Village via Kishtwar
Trek Duration: 11 hours | Drive Distance: 268 km
Today is a travel day. It’s a long journey on a scenic route to Sounder village. It's a comfortable drive on the National Highway until Kishtwar.
From Kishtwar, the road conditions deteriorate but the drive gets more scenic. The Chenab river accompanies you. Just a few kilometres before Sounder, the Chenab river splits into Chandrabhaga and Marwah rivers. There onwards, the road to Sounder village follows Marwah river.
Once you reach Sounder village - the base camp of the trek, explore around. Talk to the villagers. It gives a good insight into the culture and lifestyle of the locals. It’s only on treks like this, you get an opportunity to interact with the people of remote villages in our country.
Day 2: Trek from Sounder village to Gogut campsite
Trek Duration: 8 hours | Trek Distance: 12 km
Altitude gain: 5,600 ft to 7,890 ft
The trek starts from Sounder village. Sounder is a village located on the bank of the Kibber river surrounded by beautiful farmlands.
About 2km metres ahead of Sounder village, you come to Suid village. Cross the wooden bridge to get onto the other side of the Nath river. Continue to trek in the beautiful farmlands ahead. You get closer to the Nath river and start trekking parallel to it from this point.
Continue your trek parallel to Nath river to reach the big rock point called Druna Giri. Just a few metres ahead of this is a place called Bhuman Chor. The legend says that Bheem from the Mahabharatha used to bathe here.
It’s a flat walk in the valley for almost half a kilometre until you reach another wooden bridge. As you cross the bridge to enter the right side of the river again, a steep ascent starts. It’s a switchback trail. You have now entered the forest section.
As you trek under the shades of tall coniferous trees for a kilometre more, you enter the territory of Honzad village. The village is on your left-hand side, on the other side of the river. But you can see the beautiful houses of Honzad from the distance. A little ahead is the forest rest house. There is a camping ground just next to the forest resthouse.
After this, you enter the dense forest trail. This is a mixed pine forest with an abundance of chir pine trees and abies pindrow with a sprinkle of maple trees. The trail is well laid throughout. The forest section opens up to a view of the valley every now and then to your left. It’s quite a refreshing easy walk in the dense forest trail.
About 1.5 km of a trek later, you enter another village called Nath - the last village on the trek. Nath is a hanging village to your left on the other side of the river and you get a beautiful aerial view of this village from the trail. This is one of those villages where you can witness people from different religions come together and live in absolute harmony.
About 100 metres ahead is a small water stream that you have to cross on foot. This trek has water sources in abundance. Just after this, there is a diversion through wooden bridge to cross the Nath river and get to the Nath village. But continue on the trail ahead in the same direction.
From Nath village, the trail dives into the forest section again and continues for the next 4 km until you reach the Gogut campsite. But at every turn, you come across an opening that offers you jaw-dropping views of the valley. Savour every bit of this forest walk.
Before you know it, you reach Gogut - the first campsite of the trek. It’s a beautiful clearing with a water stream flowing behind and the gushing river flowing on the left. The high mountains rise on both sides. There is a small temple also.
Day 3: Trek from Gogut to Kaikut campsite
Trek Duration: 6 hours | Trek Distance: 8 km
Altitude gain: 7,890 ft to 9,577 ft
Today is another long day. From the Gogut campsite, continue towards the wooden bridge. The trail is in the forest section dominated by pine trees. The forest section today is more serene and isolated as there is no habitation going further.
Continue your trek in the pine forest for another 700 metres, and you will come across a landslide zone. Be cautious while navigating here. A few 100 metres ahead is an opening on your left. You trek on the banks of the Nath river in this stretch. At the end of this stretch is a place called Bhujal Bhath.
Half a kilometre ahead is where the valley opens up again. Similar to what you experienced on Day 2, the forest section opens up every now and then to offer you breathtaking views of the Brammah valley. From here, the trail ascends. About 300 metres ahead, you come across a broken trail. Navigate carefully through this section. It’s a steep ascent from here to Chugnu.
After Chugnu, you cross the river through a bridge. From here, you again start trekking on the left of the river. Continue to trek in the sparse pine forest for a few 100 metres to reach a grand opening. This reminds you of the Kashmir landscape. On a clear day, you get the first glimpse of Eiger and Tarparan peaks from here.
As you go a little further, you get to see a beautiful waterfall on your right. The terrain from here is a river bed with loose scree. During heavy rains, the river flow extends to this section as well. In that case, there is another longer trail right next to it which you can take.
Going further, you reach another opening called Kulsar before entering the forest again. Now, it’s an ascent inside the forest. Savour this forest trail as this is the last forest stretch for the day. About a kilometre of ascent will open up to the views of the valley. This point is called Waathaval. There is a shrine next to it.
500 metres from Waathaval is another flat meadow called Hawal. It’s a beautiful place. The valley opens up from here. A few metres ahead is a stream crossing. Cross the stream hopping onto the boulders. There are some shepherd's huts ahead of this.
The trail is now again on the river bed. 400 metres of a trek along the river bed takes you to a Shiva temple. There is a water source next to it as well. You can replenish your water supplies here.
Half a kilometre ahead is another stream crossing. These stream crossings are notorious during heavy rains. So be cautious of your footing. Almost a kilometre ahead, you get the first glimpse of Mt Brammah Wife. Half a kilometre ahead is the second campsite of the trek - Kaikut.
Kaikut is a beautiful campsite that offers mesmerizing views of the Eiger, Tartaran and Brammah Wife peaks. Alpen glow on these during golden hour is something you must not miss.
Day 4: Trek from Kaikut campsite to Kiddar Maidan (Chhater Chinan); Excursion at River Delta
Trek Duration: 4 hours | Trek Distance: 4.5 km
Altitude gain: 9,577 ft to 10,960 ft; to 11,600 ft and back to 10,960 ft
Today is the summit day. Brammah Valley is one of the very few treks where you get to camp next to the summit. As you go ahead from Kaikut, there is a water stream and a clearing. A little ahead is a god idol.
From here, there are two trails that lead to Hudh Mata temple. The trail on the left is through the stairs and on the right is the trail that takes you through the forest. Hudh Mata is a temple that has religious significance to the people of this region. There is a Yatra that happens in the month of July every year, for which people from across villages and cities come and offer their prayers.
The trail goes through the meadows first and then ascends into the forest through stairs. These stairs lead to Hudh Mata temple. People believe it to be having supernatural powers.
Take the trail that descends to the left of Hudh Mata temple. You come across the forest rest house first and then a rock cave where yatris used to stay before. A little bit of descent in the forest again takes you to a nala (stream). Crossing this Nala is risky, especially in monsoon. Because of many stream crossings like these, this trek is not safe to do in monsoons.
As you trek further, the mountains get closer and closer to you. You start seeing Brammah Wife and Brammah I peaks as well. At this point, Brammah Wife is closer to you. As you continue your trek, Brammah I starts getting closer and closer to you. And you see Eiger and Tarparan peaks on the other side.
Around 3 km from the Hudh Mata Temple is a rain shelter and the Trisangiya temple. 1 km ahead is a wooden bridge through which you cross the river and continue on the other side of the Nath river again. This is also where a trail that diverges from the main trail.
100 metres ahead, you enter the beautiful silver birch forest again. This is a small stretch of a forest and the treeline ends after this. At the end of this 200 metres of forest stretch, you come across a forest hut. A 100 meters ahead of this is Kiddar Maidan - the most beautiful campsite of the trek.
To the right of the Kiddar Maidan is Brammah ridge - the highest point of the trek. It’s around 500 metres of a trek with a steep final climb to the ridge. It’s a vantage point from where you get to witness the close-up view of Brammah I and Brammah Wife. This gives you a summit climb feeling too.
You come back to the Kiddar Maidan and stay there for the day. Kiddar campsite is located on the river delta surrounded by the majestic snow-capped mountains. This campsite has everything. It is bordered by silver birch trees on one side and high-rising mountains on the other side. It’s a huge clearing with lots of scopes to explore around. The alpine glow on mountain peaks during sunset is the one to die for.
Day 5: Trek from Kiddar Maidan to Hawal Campsite
Trek Duration: 6 hours | Trek Distance: 10.1 km
Altitude loss: 10,960 ft to 8,745 ft
From Kiddar Maidan, you take back the same route that you have come. But this day instead of staying at Kaikut, you camp at Hawal campsite. This is just after the river bed you come across on Day 3.
Hawal campsite is a clearing with high-rising mountains on either side. It gives you a feeling of camping in a valley. With the campsite being different, though you are trekking on the same route, it gives you a different experience altogether. Rest well as tomorrow is going to be a long day.
Day 6: Trek from Hawal to Sounder village
Trek Duration: 7 hours | Trek Distance: 13.3 km
Altitude loss: 8,745 ft to 5,600 ft
From Hawal, continue your trek back towards Sounder. It’s a tad long day with 7 hours of trekking. But it’s the last day of the trek, so savour every bit of it. Enchanting pine forests, adventurous stream crossings and villages that give you a sneak peek into culture of Jammu are some things to look forward to.
Day 7: Drive from Sounder to Jammu via Kishtwar
Drive: 268 km | Duration: 11 hours
Drive back to Jammu via Kishtwar. It takes about 11 hours to reach Jammu.
Moderate Level 3
Suitable for fit beginners
At Indiahikes, while rating a trek difficulty, we consider several factors. These include altitude gained every day, length of a trek every day, highest altitude, nature of the terrain, weather etc. Based on this, we rate a trek as easy, difficult, or somewhere in between.
Brammah Valley Trek, which climbs to 11,600 ft, is not too difficult. It is rated as 'Moderate Level 3'.
A moderate rating refers to marginally longer trekking days at higher altitudes on most of the days. You will be trekking for 7-8 km on average every day.
But the trek has easy exits, and there are fewer technical sections.
The second factor in rating this trek under Moderate level 3 would be the river crossings. You need to be nimble on your feet and have a sense of control when navigating these sections. Trekkers who are not confident in placing their footing will find crossing the river challenging.
The Brammah valley trek is a safe trek to do. However, there are certain things you need to be aware of in order to prepare well for the trek.
Firstly about the trail - being mentally prepared for the trek is as important as being physically prepared to stay safe. For this, it is crucial to have a clear mental picture of the trek. Quickly, here it is:
| Trek in a nutshell: On the Brammah Valley Trek, you go up to an altitude of 11,600 ft. The days are divided so that the altitude gain is not too much. However, you could be hit by AMS on any of these days. At Indiahikes, we believe that as long as you are well-informed and well-prepared, you can easily survive at high altitudes.
To do this effectively, let’s break down and examine various aspects of the Brammah Valley Trek from the perspective of safety:
Safety - Terrain wise
Safety - Weather wise
Safety - Altitude wise
Exit Points and Closest Hospital
Brammah Valley is a safe trek to do in terms of the terrain. The trail is well laid throughout the trek. However, there are some sections on the trek where you have to be cautious.
Slippery Terrain: There are sections on the trail where there are loose mud and rocks that can get slippery. This is especially on Day 3 of the trek. If it rains, you must be extra cautious of your footing.
Stream crossings: There are stream crossings on the trek with no bridges. Being nimble on your feet is extremely important while crossing these streams.
Weather plays a big role in whether you are safe on a trek or not especially so on a valley trek. Here are some of the weather-related issues that can play an important role in the Brammah Valley trek.
It can rain abruptly at any time on your trek. Usually, low pressures over a region can cause rain, even though the next valley may be bone dry! Rain at the lower slope can mean a dusting of snow on the upper slope.
However, rain that lasts more than four hours can change your trek plans. It can flood the trails or make them too slushy to walk safely on. Some normal sections can become very slippery.
| Safety Advice: Always carry a rain jacket or poncho on your trek. Think of investing in the waterproof socks at the Indiahikes store. This keeps your feet dry at all times. On a trek, a dry foot is a difference between a happy and a miserable trek.
If the rain becomes heavy with winds, stop where you are. Take shelter under a tree. Ensure the tree is within a forest and not a lone tree. Wait for the rain to ease before venturing again. Do not wait for the rain to completely stop. A drizzle is safe enough for walking.
When you are exposed to trekking at high altitudes, your body might not be well-rested or acclimated to the altitude. There are always risks of AMS, even for the fittest and the most experienced trekkers. You must pay close attention to your body and the symptoms on a high-altitude trek. Stay alert for any signs of altitude sickness.
Attend to your uneasiness and take curative measures. Check your vitals before you start the trek - Your BP reading and oxygen saturation levels at every campsite at least twice. If you feel uneasy, you can even take a remedial course of Diamox. Hydration and rest are critical as well. If you do not feel normal after a few hours or overnight, do not proceed further on the trek.
To help you understand AMS better, we've put together a complete guide about it. This is a series of videos you must watch before you get onto any high-altitude trek:
- What Is Altitude sickness? A Quick Look At AMS, HAPE And HACE
- How To Treat Altitude Sickness – AMS, HAPE, & HACE
- How To Prevent Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), HAPE and HACE
- 3 Life Saving Drugs You MUST Have To Tackle Altitude Sickness – AMS, HAPE and HACE
If you experience any symptoms of AMS, even in the slightest, start taking steps to treat the sickness.
At Indiahikes, our Trek Leaders are trained and equipped to take care of any emergencies related to AMS.
Medical Emergencies can strike on any trek. The key to dealing with them lies in knowing your exit points. Learn how to get out and reach the nearest hospital quickly.
On Brammah Valley Trek, the only exit point is Sounder. So you need to be alert and watch out for symptoms of AMS closely.
Closest Hospital to Brammah Valley Trek
In case of a medical emergency, the closest hospital is at Kishtwar. You have a medical facility to handle emergencies.
In case of a medical emergency, the closest hospital is at Kishtwar. You have a medical facility to handle emergencies.
There is a very short window during the whole year when the Brammah Valley trek is accessible. It is in the months of May, June and then September.
Brammah Valley in May and June
In the months of May and June, the whole valley is greener and there are patches of snow in the upper reaches. The skies are clearer and you can expect light showers at the end of June.
Brammah Valley in September
September is when the season is transitioning from monsoon to autumn. The valley also starts transitioning from green to the colours of autumn i.e golden brown. As this is still post-monsoon, you can expect showers and weather to be bit gloomy on some days.
It is great to see you going on the Brammah Valley Trek, one of the most beautiful treks in India. While it is a great trek to do, you need to get your travel plan worked out perfectly.
Here is a step-by-step guide on what to do next. Use this guide and nothing else to plan your travel.
Planning your onward flight/train booking
Day 0: Reach Jammu by train/flight and stay overnight there. That is, if your trek date is from 20th May to 26th May, reach Jammu on 19th May.
Day 1: Your transport from Jammu to Sounder village will be arranged by Indiahikes. The pickup cab will leave from Indira Chowk, Jammu by 5.00 AM. You will reach Sounder by 5.00 PM.
Planning your return flight/train booking
You will be reaching back to Jammu on Day 7 of your trek by 5 PM. Plan your return journey post 9 PM on Day 7 if you are booking train. But for flight, it’s best to stay in Jammu on Day 7 and book your flight for Day 8.
Planning your hotel/stay
Hotel Lords Inn is one of the options where you can stay in Jammu. You can easily find other options online. But make sure you book a hotel near to the pick up point.
What if you miss Indiahikes Pick Up?
In case if you miss Indiahikes pick up, you will find shared taxis leaving to Kishtwar from Indira Chowk, Jammu. The taxis will leave 5.00 AM onwards. It will cost around Rs 700 per person.
From Kishtwar Taxi Stand, you will find shared taxis leaving to Sounder. The last taxi leaves at 2.30 PM. It will cost around Rs 400 per person.
These are documents required for legal purposes by Indiahikes and the forest department. Without any of these, you will not be allowed to trek.
- Original and photocopy of government photo identity card. Anything such as a driver’s license, Aadhar Card, or passport will do. This is required by the forest department for your identification.
- Medical and Disclaimer certificate. There are two sections to this. One is to be filled by a practicing doctor and the second is filled by you. The disclaimer certificate is a legal requirement.
Download the PDF, read carefully, print it back to back, and sign it. This must be handed over to your Trek Leader during the registration at the base camp. This is a requirement by both the forest department and Indiahikes – Download the PDF
Note: Please carry the above document with you. The document needs to be downloaded (PDF), filled in, signed, and handed over to the trek leader at the base camp. Please print these back-to-back on two sheets. Do not print separately and help in reducing paper usage.
Keep essential documents in a clear plastic cover and slide them into the inner pocket at the back of your backpack. This keeps them from getting wet.
1. Trekking Shoes:
Brammah Valley Trek requires sturdy trekking shoes, good grip, ankle support, and can handle snow. You have a long distance to cover every day. Also, there is a bouldery section to cross after the Satsar campsite, along with a few stream crossings. Here is a quick video on how to choose your trekking shoes.
| Buying Tip: The Trek and MH series are good options by Decathlon. They are tried and tested. There isn’t any necessity to buy the higher-priced models. Here is a list of other budget shoes that trekkers are using.
| Rental: We have the Trek series and the MH series by Decathlon available for rent from the Indiahikes store. They are already broken into and in good condition. Rental shoes are not dirty or unhygienic. This is how they are kept clean.
For a trek like Brammah Valley, you need a 50-60 litre backpack. Make sure your backpack has good hip support, shoulder support and quick access pockets. Here is a guide on how to choose a backpack.
| Buying Tip: Wildcraft, Decathlon and Adventure Worx usually make good backpacks. While Wildcraft has more expensive ones, the other two brands have budget-friendly backpacks to choose from.
| Rental: The 48-litre backpack by Adventure Worx is available for rent from the Indiahikes store. They are custom-made for our Himalayan treks. Rent them if you don’t have a backpack.
Wearing layers is the mantra in the mountains. Layers give you maximum protection from all elements. And when the weather changes in the mountains (as it happens every few hours), you take off or put on layers as required.
Wear one T-shirt and carry two. Carry full-sleeve dry-fit T-shirts (preferably collared). These prevent your arms and neck from getting sunburnt. In the rarified air on the trek, especially at high altitudes, UV rays can burn you in no time.
Dry-fit T-shirts quickly dry your sweat, they are easy to wash and in case of a rainy day, they dry quicker. Round neck T-shirts are ok, but collared ones are better.
| Cotton or Synthetic? As Indians, we love cotton. Down in the plains when the heat is blistering 40°C it makes sense to wear cotton. But it takes a long time to dry when it gets wet. In the mountains, where it is cooler, synthetic is what you wear. They wick sweat rapidly and keep you dry. (But they do tend to smell quickly, so carry a roll-on deodorant with you.)
| Pro Tip: If you are extra susceptible to cold, you could get a set of thermal inners. In our experience, wearing two T-shirts over another works as a better thermal. And they save you weight and space since you’re already carrying them.
3 Insulation Layers:
The highest altitude you reach on this trek is 13,850 ft. At these altitudes, it can get cold even in the middle of summer. You will need at least 3 insulation layers for this trek.
You will need 2 light fleece layers and 1 full-sleeve light sweater. Do not get your grandma-stitched sweaters, which can be very heavy. You need sweaters and fleece jackets that can fold into compact rolls.
1 Outer Layer:
A padded jacket serves the purpose here. You don’t need a water-resistant material. But you need an outer padded jacket that keeps the wind and cold out. Ensure your padded jacket has a hood as well.
| Do you need a down/feather jacket? Not really. A regular padded/shell jacket will do. This video here will help you to learn more about the difference.
Note: Down/feather jackets are not available these days. Many jackets masquerade as down/feather jackets. They are essentially fine polyester-filled jackets. They mimic the function of a down jacket but are usually expensive.
| Rental: Padded jackets made by Fort Collins are available for rent at the Indiahikes store. They are custom-made for Indiahikes and trekkers find them terrific, even in winter.
Two Trek Pants:
Two pairs of trek pants should suffice for this trek. Wear one pair and carry two just in case it rains. Trek pants with zippered cut-offs at the thighs are very suitable for treks. Also, choose quick-dry pants over cotton. They dry up soon in case of small stream crossings/rain.
| Buying Tip: Go for pants with zippered pockets. They come in handy to keep your phone, handkerchief, or pocket snacks.
| Track Pants or Trek Pants? Stretchable track pants make a good backup and can double up as your thermal bottoms. But track pants are not trekking pants -- so don’t use them as your main outerwear. Keep them only as a backup.
Mandatory Accessories, without these too you won’t be able to do the trek.
These accessories are mandatory. Don’t go to Brammah Valley without them. Trekkers generally put off purchasing / borrowing the accessories for the last minute. We suggest the opposite. Start gathering these accessories first.
Sunglasses are to prevent snow blindness. On a trek like Brammah Valley, Expect to walk on stretches of snow, especially during July. A small overexposure to direct sunlight on snow can lead to snow blindness (about a half hour’s exposure). That’s because fallen snow is like thousands of mirrors that reflect direct UV rays. So you need sunglasses with UV protection.
| Tip: Try getting sunglasses that wrap around instead of those that have openings on the side. Even peripheral UV ray exposure is not a good idea.
Wear sunglasses if the trekking day is bright and sunny (on open sections, meadows). On a snowy section, you must never take off your sunglasses until the section has been fully crossed.
| If you wear spectacles: If you wear spectacles, you can get oversized sunglasses that you wear over your regular glasses (available at Decathlon). If that is cumbersome, photochromic lenses work equally well. Here’s a quick guide on managing sunglasses with spectacles.
| Contact lens users: If you use contact lenses, you can use them on the trek too. The lens solution will not freeze. You will also not face any problems in changing your lens in your tent. Just carry enough cleaning solution with you to clean your fingers well. Wear your sunglasses over your contact lens.
A sun cap is mandatory. Trekking without a sun cap can lead to headaches, sunstrokes, quick dehydration and a sharp drop in trekking performance.
| Tip: In the mountains, the general rule is to keep your head covered at all times. During the day a sun cap protects you from the harsh rays of the sun (it is doubly stronger with naked UV rays). A sun cap keeps your body temperature in balance. In the evening/early morning, the reverse is true. Your head loses your body heat quickly. A woollen cap prevents heat from dissipating from your head.
| Pro Tip: Sun caps with flaps are a blessing for trekkers. They cut out almost all UV leaks. They prevent sunburns in every possible way. They are a lot more effective than sunscreen lotion. A wide-brimmed sports hat also helps to prevent sunburn in a big way.
3. Synthetic Hand Gloves:
On a trek like Gure Valley Trek, you are going to be handling snow quite a bit during July. You’ll need gloves to grip something or to steady yourself in snow. More than snow, the evening cold winds through the wide valley will give you the chill. You also want the gloves to keep you warm. Get synthetic hand gloves that have waterproofing on the outside and a padded lining on the inside. If you find the combination difficult to get (not likely), wear a tight-fitting fleece hand glove inside a synthetic hand glove. Hand gloves are mandatory on this trek.
4. Woollen Cap or Balaclava:
Ensure these cover your ears. In the cold mountains, you lose maximum heat from your head, not from your hands, feet, or the rest of your body. This is why you need to keep your head protected, especially when the sun is down. Early mornings, late evenings, and a cold trekking day are when you must use your woollen cap.
Your ears are sensitive too, so a woollen head cap that covers your ears is essential. A balaclava is a modern version of the woollen cap. It covers your ears, neck and parts of your face as well. Do not get a woollen cap that only covers your head.
5. Socks (3 pairs):
Apart from two sports socks, take a pair of woollen socks. Sports socks give you cushioning plus warmth. Again the mantra is to wear synthetic socks or at least a synthetic blend. Cotton socks soak in water and sweat. They are very hard to dry. As for woollen socks, they help you to keep warm and snug at the night. If you cannot get woollen socks, wearing two sports socks serves the purpose as well.
Trekkers are often confused about whether they need to get a headlamp or a handheld torch. You need to get a headlamp because it leaves your hands free to do other activities. On the BrammahValley Trek, you’ll need your hands free to wash dishes, pitch tents and hold your trek poles.
| Buying Tip: Ensure your headlamp covers a wider area and is not too focused as a single beam. On a trek, your headlamp must help you see around you as much as ahead of you.
7. Trekking Poles (a pair):
Trekking poles give you stability and balance. They reduce your energy consumption by almost 40%. On the Brammah Valley Trek, there are steep ascents and descents. A pair of trekking poles will make the difference between a comfortable and a strenuous trek. In India, we tend to use a single trekking pole. However, two trekking poles give you greater stability and balance. They also increase your walking pace.
| Rental: Imported side-locking trekking poles are available for rent at the Indiahikes store.
On a trek, the weather can change quickly. A bright sunny day can turn into a downpour in a matter of minutes. Carry a poncho or a rain jacket to tackle this. A poncho is a big rain cover with openings for your arms and your head. It is extremely effective because it covers both you and your backpack. It is extremely light and weighs next to nothing.
Rain jackets are more streamlined and less cumbersome but weigh more. Rain pants are not required. Dry fit trek pants dry quickly even if soaking wet.
| Rental: High-grade ponchos are available for rent at the Indiahikes store.
9. Rain Cover for your Backpack:
Backpacks are your life. You carry all your dry clothes and your warm gear in your backpack. Your backpack must stay dry at all times. Modern backpacks usually come with built-in rain-covers. If your backpack does not have a rain cover, ensure you get a rain cover by either (a) buying a rain cover or (b) or cutting a large plastic sheet to the size of your backpack. You can roll the plastic sheet around your backpack and keep it in place with a string or elastic.
| Pro Tip: It's good practice to compartmentalise your clothes, accessories and other things in plastic covers inside your backpack. That way, even if it rains and your backpack gets wet, your things are water-proof inside the backpack.
10. Daypack (20-30 litres, optional):
In your daypack, you carry essentials like water bottles, rainwear, emergency medicines, a headlamp, some snacks and a warm layer. Your main backpack that carries most of your equipment is accessible only at the campsites.
A day pack is a smaller backpack that is usually of 20-30 ltr capacity. Laptop bags are not day packs. Do not get them.
Other mandatory requirements
1. A Toilet Kit:
Keep your toilet kit light. Carry just the basics -- toothbrush, toothpaste, small soap, toilet tissue roll, a small moisturiser, lip balm, and a roll-on deodorant. You will not be able to have a bath on the trek, so don’t overload on soaps and shampoos.
| Pro tip: Carry miniature-sized items. You will not need more than that. If you’re travelling in a group, share one toothpaste for all.
Avoid getting large toilet rolls. The smallest size roll is more than enough for a trek like Brammah Valley
| For women: If you are likely to have your periods on your trek date, don’t worry about it. On the trek, you can use your pads, tampons, or menstrual cups. There will be toilet tents where you can get changed. Make sure you carry ziplock bags to bring back your menstrual waste. Don’t leave behind any waste in the mountains. Watch this video to learn how to dispose of your sanitary waste.
Carry a lunch box, a mug, and a spoon. Your lunch box must be leakproof. You are expected to wash your cutlery. Trekkers often expect Indiahikes to wash their cutlery. When you allow Indiahikes to wash your cutlery, your cutlery becomes part of a mass washing system. You immediately invite germs, and bacteria to settle on your cutlery. The incidence of stomach disorders rises exponentially.
| Pro tip: Carry stainless steel cutlery. Avoid fancy high-grade plastic cutlery. Stainless steel cutlery is infinitely easier to wash in cold water. Grease is easier to remove and hygiene is at its highest. Watch this video on why steel cutlery is better than plastic.
3. Plastic Covers:
Carry 3-4 old plastic covers to keep your used clothes. You could use them even for wet clothes. Re-use old plastic bags for this and do not buy new ones.
Carry these medicines with you, easily accessible at all times. Do not take any medication unless you have consulted your trek leader.
- Diamox (1 Strip): Be on a course of a half tablet of Diamox starting from Delhi every 12 hours (125 mg). Being on a preventive course of Diamox dramatically reduces the chances of Acute Mountain Sickness on the Brammah Valley Trek
- Dexamethasone (1 Strip): This is part of the Live Saving Drugs kit. Do not take this on your own. Your trek leader will inform you in case the need arises.
- Nifedipine (5 tablets): Again, part of the Live Saving Drugs kit. Do not take this on your own. Your trek leader will inform you in case the need arises.
- Dolo 650 (5 tablets): This is a paracetamol. It helps to tackle fever and mild pain.
- Avomine (4 tablets): Carry this, especially if you are prone to motion sickness. Pop one-half hour before the start of your road journey.
- Combiflam (5 tablets): Take a combiflam if you get a sudden twist of the leg or a muscle strain. It is a pain reliever. It also contains paracetamol.
- Digene (4 tablets): Take it if you feel the food you’ve taken is undigested. Alert your trek leader immediately. It could be a sign of AMS.
- ORS (6 packs): Consume a pack of ORS water at least once a day, usually the mid-day when you are in the middle of your trek. It replenishes essential salts lost while trekking. Tip: It also makes cold water easier to drink.
- Knee Brace (optional): Carry this if you are prone to knee injury or have known knee pain issues.
Our trek leaders carry a high-altitude medical kit with them which also consist of Life Saving Drugs. If there is an emergency, our trek leaders know how to tackle it. Meanwhile, contact your trek leader before consuming any of these medicines.
Pro Tip: We find that these medicines by trekkers are rarely used. But you cannot do away with them. At the end of the trek, please donate unused medication to your trek leader. Some medicines get distributed to villages on the trek, and some are added to the Indiahikes medical kit.
Yes. On the Brammah Valley trek, the major network providers such as jio and airtel work almost throughout the trek.
Kishtwar is the nearest town where you can get ATM facilities. They are not always reliable. So it’s best to withdraw cash before you leave Jammu.
There is no electricity throughout the trek. The only place you’ll find a plug to charge your phone or camera batteries will be at Sounder, the basecamp of the trek.
Therefore use your electronic equipment wisely. Fully charge your batteries before leaving your hotel and use your electronic equipment minimally.
Another thing to note is that cold temperatures drain the batteries faster. Having extra batteries or a power bank helps.
Having too many mules on a trail isn’t good for the ecosystem. This is why, at Indiahikes, we do not encourage offloading. A trekker carries his/her own backpack in the true spirit of trekking.
But if — due to a medical condition — you are unable to carry your own backpack, you may offload your backpack. In such a case, write an email to your experience coordinator beforehand. You can't offload after reaching the basecamp at the last minute.
The total cost of offloading on the Brammah Valley trek is Rs 2,500 + 5% GST which is Rs 2,625.
We recommend jogging as the best routine to get fit for a trek. It works on the same muscles that you use while trekking — your calves, glutes and hamstrings. It helps increase your stamina day by day. It is also an easy routine that does not require any equipment or tools.
To do this trek comfortably, you must be able to cover 5 km in under 35 minutes. This is the minimum fitness required for this trek.
How to achieve this fitness?
- Start jogging at least 4 days a week
- If you cannot run 5 km immediately, start with 2 km and increase to 5 km over 2-3 weeks.
- Once you’re able to run 5 km, increase your pace day by day.
- Gradually increase your pace and bring it down to 5 km in less than 35 mins.
- You must be able to run 5 km in 35 mins consistently for at least 2 weeks before the trek.
This trek requires at least 6-8 weeks of preparation. The longer, the better. So plan your trek soon and start preparing.
Strength training tips:
How to get Fitness Approval from the Indiahikes team:
Every trekker needs fitness approval from the Indiahikes team 20 days before the trek date. Without this, you will not be allowed on the trek.
What to upload?
- A minimum of 3 screenshots of your runs/jogs/walks/cycling
- Monthly summary of your routine
Why fitness matters:
Every high-altitude trek comes with a set of challenges. Steep ascents and descents, uneven terrain, snow walks, stream crossings, pass crossings, and summit climb. Even the easiest of treks have some of these challenges if not all of them. Without fitness, trekkers struggle, get injured easily, lag behind, or simply fail to complete the trek.
At Indiahikes, we take pride in the fact that our trekkers are among the fittest in the country. Those who do not meet the fitness requirements are often sent back. Our philosophy is that trekking and fitness go hand in hand. Without fitness, there’s no trekking.
Things Nobody Tells You About Brammah Valley
Did you know the last successful attempt to Mt Brammah was 5 decades ago?
Mount Brammah (21,050 ft) was first scaled by Chris Bonington in 1973. He was successful in climbing the Brammah after several failed attempts by British and Japanese mountaineers.
The magnificent Mt Brammah was not an easy peak to climb. At 19,000 ft, he faced the biggest barrier - the pinnacle of rocks on mountain ridges that are called Gendarmes. Immediately after this section was a big slab of ice that can cause avalanche any time. That was an another challenge.
The last attempt was in 1979. On June 30th, 2023 a group of 15 team members from Kolkata and surrounding areas are attempting the massif again. The team will be led by Everest Summiteer Rudraprasad Haldar.
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