I figured out an escape from the humdrum of everyday life after being a victim of abundant work in an office and the infamous smog that engulfed Delhi. When I started looking for some unexplored and uncrowded winter destination for Christmas weekend, the wind whispered “Auli” and I responded immediately with a big ‘Yes‘!
The Chamoli district in Uttarakhand is the proud owner of this apparently secretive destination. For skiers, this place is a heaven; for nature lovers, a bliss; and for devotes, a step closer to God.
Blessed with the best of nature, Auli is a must-visit place to explore the hidden treasure nature has bestowed it.
We booked the hotel and the cab well in advance to avoid a long weekend rush during the Christmas. Here are the details-
- Delhi to Rishikesh Volvo(~600 per head)
- Hotel Mount View Annexy in Joshimath- Rs 8450 (for 2 nights and 5 people)
- Renault Lodgy(Vansh Travels) for round trip from Rishikesh- Rs 9500
- Rishikesh to Delhi Volvo (~600 per head)
- Travel time: 14-16 hrs
- Road Quality: 6.5/10
- Distance : ~ 487 km
- Mood: Crazy
How to Reach Auli?
Airplane- The nearest airport is Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun, 268 km from Auli
Train- The nearest railway station to Auli is Rishikesh, 264 km
Auli is well connected by motorable roads to major destinations of Uttrakhand. State transport buses and taxi are readily available from Rishikesh, Dehradun, and Haridwar
|Volvo from Delhi to Rishikesh||3000||600 per person|
|Taxi for a round trip from Rishikesh to Auli||9500||Including night and driver allowances|
|Hotel at Joshimath||8450||For 2 days and 5 people|
|Chair Car||1500||300 per person|
|Volvo from Rishikesh to Delhi||3000||600 per person|
|Food items and 3 meals||4500||~300 per person per day|
|Total||30950||6190 per head|
Meet my travel buddies –
DELHI TO RISHIKESH
We all assembled near Kashmere Gate before the Volvo’s timing(10:15 PM). After roaming here and there, late night hunger pangs struck unexpectedly and we stopped near the egg vendor to stave off our craving. When the clock struck 10:30 pm and the Volvo started moving, everybody got excited about the most awaited girls trip of 2017. I was finally en route for Auli with my gang. Woo-hoo!!
At around 5:30 AM, we alighted, half asleep on the floor of Yoga capital of the world, Rishikesh. It was pitch-dark and a clear starry sky. The taxi driver came to pick us up; we dumped the luggage and crumbled inside the taxi to zonk ourselves out. The first rays of the sun started piercing the car window at around 6:15 AM and my eyes got the golden opportunity of beholding this aesthetic view of ‘Lakshman Jhula’.
The road from Rishikesh ran alongside the river Ganges up to Devaprayag, where the Alaknanda meets the Bhagirathi river to form the holy Ganga. The two rivers merge so gracefully amidst a perfect setting that one can’t take the eyes off from the picturesque confluence. Beyond the views, this brilliant emerald shade of water, in so tranquil a place stole my heart away.
The driver stopped the car and instructed us to have a breakfast. As I got off the car, there was a sense of calmness and bliss like some divine energies reverberating through the air.
As we started driving up-hills we could see the snow-capped mountains. A want to be there soon made the journey all the more enjoyable and captivating. Then, all of a sudden, the roads become narrower and some patches were even damaged. The journey was not so smooth but the sheer beauty of Uttarakhand never seized to amaze me with its charm. Time passed and Rudraprayag it was when the driver stopped the car for a lunch.
It was heavenly! Inviting! Serene! and what not? As the two rivers danced through their ways and merge into one, it produced the most dazzling sight. With a lot of excitement, we started the snap shooting.
The emerald colored water, white pebbles, the river flowing through the majestic Himalayas and the clear blue sky up above all made a tenacious bond with me which lasted throughout the journey.
On the way to Joshimath
These frightfully spiral roads make for the most scenic views but at the same time can make your head go la la la ♫ ♬ even if you’re sitting on the co-driver seat(shotgun) and I was no exception to it. I got a superb headache with a feeling of vomiting. Yuck!! A word of caution here -Add some distraction, music, for example, timely or take medicine at least half an hour before starting off your trip to prevent motion sickness.
This is the how the way to Joshimath looks like-(Well, you can try ignoring the music and our blabbering in the background)
We forgot all the bumps and the sharp hairpin turns after reaching Joshimath. Now, we could feel the most talked ‘Chillness‘ in the atmosphere.
Story Behind– As per local belief, the right hand of Lord Narsimha idol has become as thin as hair. On the day, when it will fall (end of Kalyug), the mountains Jay- Vijay shall become one and the way to Badrinath temple will disappear and re-appear at a new place called Bhavishya Badri which is around 20 kms from Joshimath.
This temple is dedicated to the fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu(Narsimha avatar), in the form of half man and half lion. We reached there at the right moment when the place was buzzing with people for the evening aarti. Furthermore, we attended the aarti to have that divine spiritual experience.
This place is also known as winter seat of Badrinath as the Idol of Lord Badri is kept here during the winters.
PS: Photography was prohibited inside the temple.
After the dinner, our hotel crew arranged bonfire on request and we sat around it and played classic songs on the portable speaker.
The Conversation started with teasing each other, and then someone in the group said: “Let’s dance”. As a result, we started with graceful dancing but ended up doing Nagin and all vulgar dances in the world 😀
A ripple of laughter ran through the circle and made the atmosphere more melodious. The starry night, the fire and the Moon had created the memorable experience to cherish forever.
Click here for the follow-up post on Auli, mini Switzerland
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
- Motion Sickness- Motion sickness is a really daunting experience. So, it is advisable to take front seats and take a respective medicine half an hour before the journey.
- Best time– Best Time to visit Auli is December– March to witness the snow-capped mountains. Also, this time is ideal for skiing.
- Snow boots- It is advisable to take snow boots on rent as the normal shoes will be quite slippery and will also get wet, especially if you are going to play amidst the snow.
- ATMs– ATMs are not easily available in Auli. Even if you manage to find one, chances are it is out of cash or out of order. There are few ATMs available in Joshimath. So carry enough cash for your trip.
- Pricing- The cable car goes from Joshimath till Auli at Rs 750 per person for the round trip and the chairlift goes from GVNM guest house till Auli meadows at Rs 300 per person for round trip
- Sking– Slopes covered with deodar and Oak forests helps skiers by reducing the velocity of chilling winds. Late December to mid of Feb is the perfect time for skiing
Kahin Beete Na Yeh Raaten
Kahin Beete Na Yeh Din
Gaata Rahe … Mera Dil
Auli meri Manzil
After traveling for straight 16 hours, I can hum this only 😛
I assure you that this stretch of drive through the lush green vegetation, scary roads, valley on one side and the mountains on the other would gonna be a memorable one for you as well!
This is the feeling you get after reaching the place. Hurrah !! Whoopee!!
Have you been to Auli? Which season was it? Are you still planning on it? Let us know by leaving a comment below!
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