Ever since I laid my eyes on the immense beauty of world-famous skiing destination – Auli, I knew that I had an extra thing to explore in my family Badrinath trip. Auli is one of the most scenic hill stations of Himalayas. With the view of lofty-snowy Himalayan peaks, breath-taking hills dotted with pine trees and apple orchards and the snowy meadows, Auli has gained its popularity as a premier skiing destination of India.
Interestingly, instead of having these many qualities, Auli is still a remote destination of Uttrakhand. A very few people have heard about it. That’s why Auli is considered as a pristine destination and an excellent choice to escape your fast-paced city life.
Auli is situated at a distance of 16 km from Joshimath in Chamoli district, Uttrakhand. Joshimath lies in the midway to some of the most peaceful religious destinations of India like Badrinath Dham and Hemkund Sahib. These destinations fill our heart and soul with eternal peace. These religious shrines are located at the top of the sky touching mountains ie.e much closer to mother nature and god. Metaphorically speaking, one can receive spiritual enlightenment. Therefore, these destinations are known as “The road to heaven“.
Amazing Things to experience in Auli:
The two different sides of Auli: If you are visiting Auli in winter then you’ll witness snow everywhere. But if you’re in summer, then the hills and neighbouring mountains get covered with lush green conifers. And you’ll have fewer chances of seeing snow. I also experienced the same thing, as I happened to explore Auli in June. You can see it in my photos. Moreover, the climate was too pleasing – dripping down to 0-2 degree Celcius. Nevertheless, the Auli will still excite you a lot (from my personal experience).
In order to reach Auli from Joshimath, there are a few ways. Either you can take a motor road to reach Auli (13km) or there’s a 4 km long ropeway (cable car) which connects Auli to Joshimath. I chose the later one. Probably the best method to reach Auli. So, this will be our first thing to see in Auli.
1- Asia’s 2nd highest and longest ropeway:
The hills of Auli are connected to Joshimath via ropeway/cable car covering a 4 km long distance. It is the second longest and highest ropeway in Asia after the “Gondola ride of Gulmarg (5.1 km) – Kashmir, India“. The cable car is run by GMVN and the tariff for it is Rs 700/- per person. There’s also a chair car (open chairs) which cost around Rs 300/- per person.
Auli ropeway provides some of the most scintillating views of snow-capped Himalayas (in winters) and lush green Himalayas (in summer). I still remember the row of oak and pine trees passing by our cable car, the clouds surrounding the high ended mountains showing the exemplary nature of Auli. I knew I started falling in love with Auli.
2- Highest man-made lake:
A beautiful artificial lake was created in the middle of Auli’s mountains. It is the world’s highest man-made lake. The reason for creating this lake is to produce synthetic artificial snow in international skiing season when there’s scanty of snowfall. Sometimes, in summer when tourists are high in number, the operators produce snow for their entertainment. In my visit, the tourists were pretty less. So, the snow production was at the halt.
Honestly, there was no snow at all. But, the flawless blue artificial lake surrounded by grasses had actually rejuvenated the mountain. Moreover, the tents and the resorts established on Auli’s slopes were looking quite outstanding. All in all, I was experiencing a different side of Auli. And, I’ll say that even this artificial lake is adding a lot to the beauty of Auli and also to my Auli travel blog.
3- The panorama of majestic Himalayan mountains
Besides the lake, green tinge slopes of Auli neighbours some of the majestic Himalayan mountain ranges. These lofty Himalayan peaks include Nanda Devi peak (2nd highest mountain of India), Kamet Kamat, Garhwal mountain rangeand Mana Parbat. Auli provides alluring panoramic views of these mountains. And the best part comes when these high ended mountains get wrapped up by a cling of clouds. During the winter season, these mountains get painted with a thick white blanket of snow.
I too experienced the similar thing. This kind of nature’s manoeuvre imbued me with the sense of calm and serenity.
4- A cup of coffee with some simple food
What’s more one need, if these panoramic Himalayas are spiced with some healthy snack and a nice cup of coffee.
There are not innumerable options to taste in Auli. The two resorts at the top of Auli offer some delicacies. But I prefer to eat something simple yet healthy at the tents located there. For example – Pakodas, Alloo Paranthas, tea/coffee. The guys selling these items were nice and soft-spoken. However, I came to know that the resorts offer many traditional Garhwal dishes such as Kachmauli, chicken dishes, singhori etc. I missed these as these were a little expensive for a budget traveller. SORRY!!
Snow means skiing…Go for it!!
As I’ve already told you about it (Auli – international skiing destination) in this blog. So plan your trip for winters. See how beautifully the slopes get covered in fresh-glittering snow. Prepare yourself to do some adventure and get ready for skiing. Every equipment to do skiing are available on rent there and that too with professional guides.
We all can do skiing weather we are a novice or a professional. Auli’s skiing slopes vary from 400 m to 4 km. Isn’t it great! And probably the charges vary from Rs 300- Rs 500/- One can even do a 15 days training program in skiing
So these are a few things which you’ll directly experience in your Auli trip. I too experienced these things except the skiing part. Apart from these things, Auli is home to many adventurous activities as well.
5- Go for trekking on some popular routes
For trek lovers, adventurers or hiking experts, this thing is for you guys. Auli houses some of the hidden yet popular trek routes to explore in the mighty Himalayas. It doesn’t matter if you are travelling in summer or in winter, the treks always the best part of nature to show you. Here’s a list of some trekking spots:
Trek to sweet water Chattrakund Lake (4 km)
Trek to Gurso Bugyal (3 km)
Hiking to Kwani Bugyal via Gurso Bugyal (13 km)
Nanda Devi national park trek from Joshimath/Auli (difficult one)
Trek to Kuari Pass (nearly 20 km)
6- Other activities to go for, in Auli
Besides the trekking/hiking in Auli, what’s more, can we do here…
Camping under the night sky of Auli, gazing millions of stars and photograph them.
Riding ATV bikes on the slopes of Auli
Explore the streets and religious spots in Joshimath.
Get yourself acquaint with Garwali culture, cuisines and traditions.
The last thing to do is go for Hemkund Sahib and Badrinath
How to reach Auli
By Air: Nearest airport to AUli is in Dehradun – Jolly Grant Airport. From there you have to take taxi or bus. The distance is nearly 290 km.
By train: This option is for budget travellers. The nearest train station is Rishikesh which is 250 km from Auli. From there again you have to hire a taxi or a bus.
By road: Joshimath is the base point of Auli which is very well connected with all the major cities like Delhi, Dehradun, Rishikesh etc. You can hire a private or shared taxi, state own buses or private buses to reach Joshimath. From Joshimath, you have to use cable car or you have to do the trekking to reach Auli. The price to hire these varies from Rs 300 to above, depending on the type of services you want. You can even rent a car or bike from Dehradun or Rishikes
Best time to visit Auli
Auli can be visited throughout the year, however, if you want to experience snow, December to January is the best time. Also, you can skip the heat of your city then you can even visit Auli in the summer season (April to June). In summer season you’ll experience lush green and can also find some snowy meadows. And also the region remains in pleasant weather conditions (temperature dripping to even 0 degrees). From July to October, Auli has its monsoon season, so, I’ll recommend you to avoid going there. It has become highly prone to landslides these days.