Auli – perfect skiing destination in Uttarakhand

Auli – regarded as honeymooner’s paradise is an important ski destination as well. Blessed with the breathtaking panoramic view of the lofty peaks of the Himalayan mountain ranges, the high altitude ski resort of Auli is a place to enjoy the feats and grandeur of nature.

It’s a fact that Auli is a lesser known ski destination than Shimla, Gulmarg and Manali, but in recent years after the formation of the new state of Uttarakhand, Auli is fast creating a niche place for itself and turning out to be the first choice among tourists and adventure sports lovers. The secludedness of the place coupled with panoramic vistas of the nature makes Auli extremely popular among honeymooning and newly married couples.

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Auli surrounded with snow covered peaks

Where is Auli?

The mountain resort of Auli is located in the Chamoli district of the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is on the way to one of the famous Hindu pilgrimage destination of Badrinath at an altitude of about 3000 m above sea level.

About Auli

Auli – known as ‘Bugyal’ in the regional language (meaning meadow) is nestled in the lap of snow-capped peaks of Garhwal Himalayas. The unspoiled ambiance, harsh frosty storms, the sylvan peaks and the long stretch of snowy valleys and idyllic surroundings makes Auli an ideal place to enjoy the close proximity of Mother Nature.

Auli is indeed a perfect skiing destination where skiers can enjoy almost 20 km of virgin slopes, which provide excellent opportunities for cross-country, slalom and down-hill skiing events. A 500 m long ski-lift and an 800 m long chair-lift link the upper and lower slopes, while snow beaters and snow-packing machines maintain the smoothness of the slopes, making it a perfect place for ski lovers. In fact some of the French and Australian skiing experts consider Auli to be one of the best ski resorts in the world. The Auli slopes, descending from 3049 to 2915 m are flanked by stately conifers and oaks, cutting wind velocity to the minimum. Adding to the thrill of skiing is a 180 degree view of Himalayan peaks, which include Nanda Devi (7817 m), Kamet (7756 m), Mana Parvat (7273 m) and Dunagiri (7066 m), seemingly only at a snowball throw away.

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Auli – ideal skiing destination

For adventure lovers, especially skiers, late November to March is the ideal time to visit Auli. The Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Limited (GMVNL), a government agency in charge of maintenance of this ski resort, provides courses for beginners and professionals at Auli, which are held for 7 to 14 days from December to March. Today it also hosts National Championships, under the aegis of Winter Games Federation of India, in the months of February and March. Skiing events of the 1st South Asian Winter Games were held in January 2011, in Auli. While its slopes beckon daring and gallant skiing enthusiasts, it is also a training ground for those aspiring to ski skillfully with the help of some expert guidance.

Even if you are not a lover of adventure sports let your eyes feast on the breathtaking view of snow-capped peaks all around you, savour nature in its purest form or just throw snowballs at each other. Walking through the misty slope provides one with the imposing spectacles of some of the lofty mountain ranges like Nanda Devi, Mana Paravat and Kamat Kamet. Besides these snowy miracles, the boulevards through the slopes offers marvelous views of gorgeous apple orchards and fine deodar trees, transforming it into a precious lifelong experience.

Auli Sightseeing

The panoramic vistas of Auli are enough to mesmerize you completely. The 270 degree view of the high snow covered peaks is enough to make you forget the long and tiring journey to reach Auli. The great views of the snow clad mountains as they keep changing colours every minute when the sun begins to go down will definitely make you spell bound. The feeling of solitude and oneness with God will do wonders to your mind and body to enlighten you.

Some of the prominent and popular sightseeing destinations in and around Auli are discussed below.

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Artificial lake of Auli

Artificial lake

The manmade lake at Auli is the world highest artificial lake and is a prime tourist attraction. Located just beside the private hotel, Clifftop Club, the state government has developed this lake with the view of creating artificial snow on the new ski slopes in the event of low snow fall. The water from this lake will be used to feed the snow guns stationed along the ski slopes and thus provide a good skiing surface and extend the ski season.

Gurso Bugyal

A rare feast for the eye, this huge meadow situated at a distance of just 3 Km from Auli is extremely popular among tourists. The meadow is sparsely covered with mixed forest of oaks and conifers. Spectacular vistas of the snow-capped mountains from here add to the charm and beauty of the place. An aura of freshness engulfs the mind and body on visiting the Gurso Bugyal.

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Huge Gurso Bugyal at Auli

Chittrakund, the sweet water lake in the middle of the forest is just a kilometer walk from Gurso Bugyal. Tourists often visit the lake on the trip to Gurso Bugyal adding up to the attraction of the place.

Dayara Bugyal

This high altitude meadow situated at an elevation of about 3048 m is second to none in natural beauty. To enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view of the Himalayas, one has to trek to Dayara Bugyal as it is not accessible by road. Vehicles can go up to the village of Barsu from where one has to trek a distance of about 8 km to reach Dayara and other route is via village Raithal, from where one has to trek about 6 km to Dayara Bugyal.

During winter months time tourists from all over the country comes to Dayara Bugyal to enjoy adventure sports, especially skiing. There is a small lake in the area that provides an excellent camping site. In all trekking to Dayara Bugyal seems worthy as nature has bestowed all its beauty to decorate the place.

Josimath

The little hamlet town of Josimath is a well known Hindu pilgrimage destination of historical importance and is situated at a distance of about 16 Km from Auli. The great sage Adi Shankaracharya is supposed to have wandered into Joshimath and gained enlightenment here. It is home to one of the four centers of learning, or pithas established by Guru Adi Shankaracharya in India. Apart from the famous Shankaracharya temple, other places worthy of a visit at josimath includes, temple of Narshimsha (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu), Garuda temple and the Amar Kalp tree, which is believed to be over 2,500 years old.

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Panoramic view of Govindghat of Joshimath

The best way to reach Josimath from Auli is by ropeway. It is really a lifetime experience to travel by this highest ropeway of the country and enjoy the panoramic vistas of the surroundings. The travel time for this 4.15 Km long journey is approximately 25 minutes. It can carry around 25 passengers all in standing position and it moves at a speed of 3 meter per second. Ticket costs Rs 500 including the return journey to Auli.

Tapovan

Known for hot water spring, Tapovan is just 16 Km from Auli and is extremely popular among tourists. Situated on Josimath road, the place has quite a number of hot water fountains where the water is almost at a boiling point. There is also an old temple at Tapovan which also needs to be visited.

How to reach Auli ?

By Air

Jolly Grant Airport of Dehradun at a distance of about 280 Km is the nearest airport of Auli. This domestic airport is well connected to Delhi by a number of regular flights. Private vehicles are easily available from the airport to reach Auli. It takes roughly nine hours to reach Auli from the airport.

By Rail

Rishikesh railway station at a distance of about 260 Km is the nearest railhead of Auli. Rishikesh railway station is well connected by railway networks with all major cities of India. Auli is well connected by motorable roads with Rishikesh. Frequent private and state buses apart from private taxis are easily available from Rishikesh to reach Auli.

By Road

Auli is very well connected by good conditioned motorable roads with all major destinations of Uttarakhand and adjoining states. Auli is situated only 14kms from Joshimath lying on NH58.

During winter months (from end of December till mid March) the motor road from Joshimath to Auli is not operational due to heavy snowfall. Cable car is the only mode of transportation from during this period. The last trip of the cable car to the Auli leaves Joshimath at 4:20 pm during winters and 5:30 pm during summers. Tourists must reach Joshimath before the last trip of cable car. Tourists reaching late just have no option but to stay for the night in Joshimath.

Where to stay in Auli?

Auli being a comparatively new tourist destination and the complete area being under GMVN (Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam) there does not have much staying options. However it’s easy to find a number of quality private hotels that suits various budgets in Joshimath which is around 16 km from Auli.

Hotel Clifftop Club

For a comfortable stay Hotel Clifftop Club is the best and only staying option. The hotel Clifftop Club features huge well crafted rooms, modern bathrooms with all basic amenities and is very professionally managed. The resort provides a 270 degree clear view of the snow covered ranges of Nanda Devi, Dronagiri, Kamet, Trishul, Neelkanth, Mana, and Mukut.

For booking rooms in this hotel contact at 01389-223217, 09837058095. To know more and to avail its online booking facility, just click HERE.

GMVN Rest House

The next best staying option is GMVN Rest House. With well appointed deluxe double rooms and family rooms with standard furnishings and attached baths with hot shower this is indeed a very good budget staying option.

For booking rooms in this hotel contact at 01389-223208, 223305. To know more about GMVN rest houses and their booking details just click HERE.

You will also find small hotels and wooden huts that provide basic amenities with reasonable tariff.

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About the Author: Hi! friends, travelling is my passion and my only hobby. High mountains to deep seas, lush green forests to barren deserts, holy places to sites of historical importance, - every beautiful place attracts me the same way. I want everyone to feel the same and so through my writing I intend to take you all to a virtual trip to all those lovely places that I have visited.

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  1. Wow its an Awesome article about auli. Auli is one of my favorite hill station. last time when i gone here i really enjoyed it. The auli is famous for its nature and skiing. its very beautiful place.Thanks for sharing such a great information about auli. for more information you can go for resorts in auli.

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