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After a long 12 hour bumpy drive from Rishikesh through steep and winding roads, I was so rundown when I arrived at Auli. And I was contemplating calling it a day and sliding into the comfort of my bed.
However, when I headed to my room, I was in for a surprise. There were no fans in the rooms and the ceiling somehow looked eerie and empty. I know it sounds silly now, but hailing from a coastal region, having a fan was not just a mere accessory but a total necessity all the time. Traveling to a distinctive location with a nip in the air all year round was not something I was used to! After a while, I got around the idea of having an empty ceiling. I then stuffed myself in layers of clothes and headed out for a quick night stroll.
The stroll was chilly, characteristic of a night in May surrounded by snow clad mountains at an altitude of 3000m. And, we fiddled around with the camera taking pictures of the moon and the stars. It was a full moon night then, so we suspended the idea of milky way photography for a later time.
Even in the obscurity of the night, I could see the snow-covered peaks at eye level beckoning me. It seemed so close, yet so far!
Some facts about Auli
Perched in the northern state of Uttarakhand, India – Auli is a picturesque little town at an altitude of around 2500m. It’s quite close to Badrinath Temple, a popular Hindu pilgrimage site, and Valley of Flowers national park – home to alpine flowers, and snow leopards. Ever since Uttarakhand formed a new state, Auli is being marketed as a ski destination. It’s one of the best places to ski in India and attracts ski enthusiasts from all over the country.
Skiing – Things to do in Auli
Flanked by coniferous and pine forests, the lush slopes of Auli makes it ideal for skiing, beginners and advanced skiers alike. Certificate and non-certificate courses are provided ranging from 4 days to 14 days. Skiing courses are conducted between January and March annually.
Experience the thrill of swish-swashing the slopes of Auli through this video:[yotuwp type=”videos” id=”LkmNtaBk10U” column=”1″]
I’ve also jotted down a detailed guide on skiing in Auli for your benefit. Check it out!
Apart from skiing, there are other things to do in Auli as well.
Cable car ride – Things to do in Auli
The second longest ropeway in Asia, the cable car covers 4kms from Joshimath to Auli. And, offers a stunning vista of the majestic Himalayan ranges. Amounts to Rs. 750/- per person.
Fun fact – Gulmarg Gondola in Kashmir, India is Asia’s longest ropeway covering an aerial distance of 5.10 km.
You can also visit the highest altitude artificial lake here. Also, used to create artificial snow during Winter Games if there is not enough snow.
Tapovan Hot Water Spring – Things to do in Auli
There’s nothing more exciting than soaking in the warm rejuvenating waters amidst the wintry weather in cold places. Thankfully, Auli has just a place for you. Tapovan Hot water spring is just a short drive from the main lodges and could make for a refreshing day out.
Aadi Shankaracharya Math and Cave
A lot of people are not aware that one of Shankaracharya’s Math was founded right in Joshimath – a short distance from Auli. Pilgrims on their way to Badrinath stop by at the Math. There is a 2500-year-old Kalpavrish tree where Shankaracharya attained enlightenment. Narasimha temple in Joshimath is another attraction for pilgrims. Lord Badrinath is brought and worshipped in winters here till he is taken back.
Kuari Pass trek – Things to do from Auli
The surrounding panoramic views of Mana Parbat, Nanda Devi, Dronagriri, Nilkanth, Beethartoli, Ghori Parbat and Hathi Parbat will enthrall and captivate you right from the start. It sure set the tone for the Kuari Pass trek and there was no looking back.
With views of the highest peaks of the Garhwal region including Nanda Devi peak (7800m), Kuari Pass trek comes up with the right amount of challenge for trekkers, making it a well-rounded trail. The vista changes from green to snowy pristine white during Spring offering a treat to the eyes. However, during winters, the Pangarchulla peak hike is on the technical side(with gears and harnesses). Amounts to around Rs. 9000/- per person.
Also, find day trekking from Auli to Gordon (around 7 km ), Tali (around 6 km), Khulara(around 12 km) and Tapovan (around 9 km ).
Events & Festivals in Auli, Uttarakhand
January to March is attractive with skiing festivals and National Championships of snow skiing. On the other hand, if you are looking for a cultural trip, you might want to visit during the Mata Mruti Ka Mela festival held in September, in nearby Badarinath.
Is Auli is expensive?
For a sleepy little town in the Himalayas, Auli is quite pricey. That’s because most of the items including food are transported from the nearby town Joshimath. For instance, a bowl of Maggi costs around Rs. 50.
Also, the majority of the locals you see in Auli, usually walk to Auli which is 1.5 hours away.
ATM in Auli
There are a few ATM’s operating in Joshimath. I would suggest withdrawing cash in Dehradun or Rishikesh to avoid being cash strapped in Auli.
Where to stay in Auli
Himalayan Eco lodges – Cozy cottage stay with the backdrop of the Himalayan ranges. I loved my stay here. The best part is the panoramic views right when you walk out of your cottage.
Staying in Auli isn’t cheap though. If you are looking for budget accommodations, then making your base at Joshimath would be a good idea. You can then travel by Auli Ropeway to reach Auli.
The Sleeping Beauty – Located in Joshimath, Sleeping Beauty hotel is easily accessible to skiing and other activities. It has a shared lounge and an in-house restaurant. They serve Indian Breakfast every morning. Top rated, and value for money hotels in Auli. Book your stay at The Sleeping Beauty now!
Xra Cottage – It is conveniently located as well. And offers continental breakfast in the morning. Each room has it’s own private balcony and is a good value for money cottages in Auli. Book your stay at Xra Cottage now!
How to reach Auli
Owing to treacherous and deep roads, driving overnight is not an option. However, most parts of the drive were along the Ganga and Alaknanda rivers. Enroute you will cross the holy towns of Devprayag and Rudraprayag. Plan to spend two days traveling to and from Auli. More often than not, difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations and Auli is no exception.
To get to Auli, you first need to reach Joshimath. From Joshimath, you can get to Auli, either via road (a drive of 15 km) or through cable car ropeway (about 4-km long). The road usually remains closed during winter months (January to March) due to heavy snowfall, so you are left only with a cable car option to reach the Auli skiing resort.
How to reach Auli from Dehradun
The nearest airport about 279km from Auli is Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun. Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is a domestic airport located about 20 km away from the city center of Dehradun. Taxi cabs are available from Dehradun airport to Auli.
In Uttarakhand, Rishikesh, Haridwar, and Dehradun all have railway Stations. For those heading to Auli, the best possible way is to catch the Dehradun Shatabdi Express to reach Rishikesh or Haridwar early in the morning.
How to reach Auli from Delhi
Alternatively, land at Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi, about 500kms from here. Take the overnight bus to Rishikesh. If you can spare, spend a couple of nights in Rishikesh doing yoga, rafting, and bungee jumping.
How to reach Auli from Rishikesh
Buses or taxis operate from Rishikesh to Auli valley or Joshimath.
How to reach Auli By Bus
State transport and Union buses run regularly between Joshimath and Rishikesh. It usually takes about 12 hours covering about 250kms by road. From Joshimath onwards, both bus and taxi services are available for Auli.
Travel tip: Since Auli ropeway will be closed after dusk, reach Joshimath (on the Badrinath route) by 4 PM. From Joshimath, you can use Auli ropeway to reach Auli.
Best time to visit Auli
You can visit this picturesque destination throughout the year. The skiing season is usually from the November to the end of March.
Auli has a cool climate all through the seasons. Summers (March to June) are pleasant with a moderate climate, with average around 15°C. Summers are ideal for all sightseeing, skiing and also for visiting nearby attractions. Monsoons (July to October) are accompanied with scanty rains and also temperature drops down to 12°C. Winters (November to February) are chilly days with average minimum touching near 4°C. The minimum can touch sub zero levels (-8°C). Snow falling is often witnessed during winters. For travelers who prefer chilly winters, this would be a preferable time to visit.
In general, for travelers looking for better weather, April is a good month to visit Auli. It has moderately cold weather and temperature varies from 7 to 17°C. Check out the latest weather updates here
I knew I had stumbled onto a gem of a location when I discovered Auli in the lap of Himalayas, even when it was a mere stopover during my maiden Himalaya trek. And it still tugs at my heartstrings. So, I bid adieu to Auli promising to make a rendezvous soon.
Update: I visited Auli again in March 2019 to learn skiing. Find the full post here.
Do you have any interesting things to do in Auli, Uttarakhand? Let me know in the comments below.