A journey towards Auli - A winter sport capital

Adventure Sports
Adventure - Activity
My journey to Auli was one of the most arduous ones considering that it takes more than 14 hours on narrow and winding roads with hairpin bends. As we neared Joshimath Mountains kept getting higher and higher with Alaknanda giving us company throughout the journey on one side. Joshimath is the place from where one of the most famous Char Dhams Badrinath is just 40 km away. And, it is from here one takes ropeway to go up to Auli. By road, Auli is 14 km from this ancient town where Shankaracharya meditated under a tree and went on to revive Hinduism. 

Auli, Uttaranchal, Since I reached in the evening, it was quite chilly. After checking in the hotel the first thing we did was to get snuggled in quilts with an extra layer of blanket. We woke up to a different climate. It was raining and on higher reaches around us, one could see a white cotton-like layer. It was a surprise because we did not expect it to snow before December 25. Around noon we went to Tapovan – a hot water spring – 14 Km away on Nitipas Highway. We began journey even as it rained. We had moved just a few Kms, bit higher then Joshimath we could see sleet falling on our car front. We stopped our car and felt the sleet mixed rain. We looked up over our head towards Auli Bugyal, green trees were turning white. We kept driving and stopped at Tapovan. It was raining and here it was hot water oozing out from nowhere. Besides us, a family also stopped there to feel the hot water. Since I knew Reni village was also nearby, I wanted to see it because it was from this small village that Gaura Devi – the founder of the Chipko movement hailed. She died a few years ago but the village has a gate in her memory with the names of other brave women and men who were ready to lay their lives to save the trees. 

The next day was the big day for us because that’s when we planned to go up to Auli. But we were not certain. The ropeway was closed for the annual maintenance and road was not travel worthy because of the previous day’s snow on the only road leading up to Auli. Fortunately, the manager of the ropeway turned out to be my friend’s schoolmate. He told us the ropeway will make a trip for maintenance and we could accompany them. 

The Journey by the Ropeway was itself an experience. The Auli ropeway is the longest in Asia. As we reached close to our getting off point (10th pillar), we could see some of the highest peaks -- Mana Parbat, Hathi Ghoda Palki, Trishul and above all the majestic Nanda Devi. As per the man on cable car, Nanda Devi’s best view can be had only from Auli. It looked so close from there with naked eyes. We spent there for more than an hour. The slopes were covered with half a feet of snow. We played like children there, made a snowman. Threw snow at each other and just tried to capture as much as possible the beauty of this wonderful creation of nature. Unfortunately, we could not try our feet at skiing since there wasn’t enough snow for that. 

How to Reach: To reach Joshimath, one can take train to Haridwar and from there bus or taxi can be taken to Joshimath. It’s a long journey, so it’s better to take a break at Haridwar and then move further. 

Where to Stay: There are many hotels in Joshimath to choose as per one’s budget. At Auli, GMVN runs a resort and also provides skiing facilities.

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