Auli – Not just a Ski Destination

Nanda Devi from Auli
Nanda Devi peak from Auli; PC: Sohan Bisht

Have you ever been to Auli? Ever done skiing there? And so many more such questions give you a visit whenever a known one visits that place. Well, the place in itself sets a lot of unexampled displays of nature and how it bounds all your imagination in one dreamy box. This icy destination of Uttarakhand has left a lot of people with no words, and rightly so, it is a pristine location right where the gods exist.

The moment you lay your eyes on the never-ending beauty of this known skiing destination, you will have all your answers sorted out. Auli, if not the most, is one of the most scenic and sort-out hill stations of the mighty Himalayas. With views of lofty-snowy peaks of the gigantic Himalayan Range, serene hills dotted with nothing but apple orchards and pines and last but not the least, snowy meadows, this destination became popular under the tag of a premier skiing spot of the country.

Even after having so many amazing and breathtaking qualities, Auli still falls in the remote areas of the state, Uttarakhand. Not a lot of people have heard about this place, and that is quite surprising. Whenever we hear out skiing, we think about Gulmarg as the perfect destination for such an activity, but forget about one such place that is equally amazing yet beautiful for such a sport, or may even be better. Even though the best time to visit Auli Uttarakhand is in the winter season, yet the destination sees a lot of tourists all year.

Where is it?

Auli is located at a mere distance of 16 kilometers from Joshimath, in the Chamoli district of Uttrakhand, whereas Joshimath is located in the midway to one of the most pristine and religious destinations of the country. Hemkund Sahib and Badrinath Dham are two of the popular ones. These exquisite shrines are located on the top of their respective ranges, which in other words can be said to be close to Mother Nature. If we speak metaphorically, one does receive the much-needed spiritual enlightenment.

If you are coming from a far-off destination, the connectivity is not a problem. Auli from Delhi, on the other hand, is an 11-Hours drive, which covers about 380-400 kilometers. Since the skiing destination lies adjacent to the godly destinations, it would not be difficult for us to picture its beauty. Isn’t it?

What should you look forward to?

To start with, there are two different sides to Auli. If you happen to visit Auli in the winter months, then you will definitely witness snow falling everywhere around you. But if you happen to come to Auli in summer, your eyes will experience neighboring mountains covered with nothing but lush green conifers. Nevertheless, Auli will still leave you excited at all times.

Auli in summer
Auli in late summer

Looking to reach Auli from Joshimath? Well, there are a few ways. You can either take the road to reach Auli , which is 13 kilometers or the 4 kilometers long cable car that connects Auli to Joshimath. Trust us, take the cable car and experience what you have around. You can thank us after you have picked the latter option to reach Auli from Joshimath.

1. It is the 2nd highest and longest ropeway

You might be familiar with the ropeway till now, after reading the above but one should know how this ropeway became the 2nd highest and longest ropeway. The cable car covers a 4 kilometers long distance, and is just behind Gulmarg’s Gondola Ride which covers 5.1 kilometers, in Kashmir, making this the 2nd highest and longest ropeway of Asia. The tariff goes like this - INR 700/- per person.

You can also check out the open chair car, known extremely well by the skiers. It costs around INR 300/- per person.

The ropeway provides one of the most scintillating views of nothing but snow-capped mountains of Himalayas. Do not miss out on the pine and oak trees while on the cable car. If you are visiting Auli in October, you will see the fresh snow on the higher side of the range but be thrilled at all times while on the cable car.

2.The highest artificial lake

If you are not surprised yet, wait for this one. The beautiful lake found on the top of this destination was artificially created. This gift was given to us by humans themselves, making it fall in the combination of nature’s gifts and the efforts of humans. There is a reason, why this lake was created. It was to produce synthetic artificial snow in the season of international skiing when there is scanty of snow. When the tourists are high in numbers, the operators at Auli produce more snow for their sole entertainment.

Auli in winter
Auli in winter; PC: Sohan Bisht

3. The majestic Himalayan mountains

Besides all that we have talked about, you will be surrounded by some of the highest peaks of the country, or even the world for that matter. These Himalayan peaks include the likes of Nanda Devi, which is the 2nd highest peak of India, Mana Parbat and Kamet Kamat. Auli not only provides skiing but also the alluring views of these monstrous mountain peaks. But wait, the best part is yet to come. Whenever you will experience a belt of clouds surrounding these mountains, wait for the moment they wash off. Once they are off, you will experience a thick blanket of snow.

When such an event happens, Auli weather drops down to the freezing point and all you get to feel is the chilling Auli temperature.

4. What about trekking through some popular routes?

Not only can you visit Auli, when in Auli but you can also explore some close routes, trails or even trek around this beautiful skiing destination. These activities are for the likes of those who love adventures. Auli is home to some of the popular yet hidden trails and routes for you to explore, amidst the mighty Himalayan Ranges. If you are thinking, you need a certain month to cover such paths, no is the answer in advance. You can cover these routes any time of the year, as it is always the best when nature shows you what it can do to your conscience. To make you more familiar with the surrounding treks, we have listed some of the names:

  • Chattrakund Lake (4 kilometers)

  • Gurso Bugyal (3 kilometers)

  • Kwani Bugyal via Gurso Bugyal (13 kilometers)

  • Kuari Pass (Around 20 kilometers)

There are also some of the activities that you as a traveler or tourist can enjoy:

  • You can camp under the night sky of this pristine hill station, gazing millions of stars above you. You can even click them if you have a decent camera kit.

  • Thought about riding ATV bikes on Auli’s slopes? Here’s your chance.

  • You can even go around and explore the religious spots and streets of Joshimath. But, do not forget to visit the Auli Market.

While you head back home, one important thing you should do is to get familiar with the local Garhwali traditions, culture and delicious cuisines. One should always know and study about the place they are visiting, so here is the chance for you to know about this spot of Uttarakhand, before you set out.


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