Himalayan Excursion : Auli Tour

Auli is one of the less explore hill stations in India. Auli, located in the northern state of Uttarakhand, is a new entrant in the tourist map of India. Located in the cradle of snow-capped mountains, Auli is one of the very few places in India where skiing is a major pastime. Gradually Auli is growing like other hill stations in India. The bitter cold winds, the vast snow-covered landscape, the sylvan mountains, all add up to make Auli a skier’s paradise. Representing man’s constant endeavor to triumph over nature, Auli proves to be an ideal locale for the daring.Auli will also be hosting SAF Winter Games in Feb 2009

Location of Auli
Auli is towards the north of the Uttarakhand state and forms a part of the Garhwal mountain range. It is at a distance of 13 km from Joshimath. The slopes, which are as high as 9000 feet above sea level, are covered with dense deodar and oak forests and this often reduces the velocity of the chilly winds to the minimum. The slopes offer a panoramic view of many a famous Himalayan peaks like Nanda Devi, Kamet, Mana Parvat and Dunagiri.

What to see in Auli?
Gurso Bugyal: 3 kms from Auli, Gurso Bugyal (high altitude alpine grass lands or meadows) is a huge meadow spread amidst a mixed forest of oaks and conifers. It offers a closer look of the some of the heighest Himalayan peaks like Nanda Devi and Trishul parvat. While Gurso Bugyal offers green pastureland during the summers, its snow covered land during winters offer a challenging trek to the adventure lovers.

Its a small lake 1 km from Gurso Bugyal, in the middle of the jungle. This place can be visited when visiting Gurso Bugyal.

What to do in Auli?
Skiing, Skiing, Skiing and Trekking! Skiers are naturally provided with clean stretches of 10-20 km of snow-covered mountain slopes. Besides, there is a descent of 500 m from the ridge over a stretch of 3 km. The forests on the slopes also seem to help the skiers by reducing the wind velocity. In the months of February and March, Auli often hosts the National Winter Games. In a planned move, the Government and local authorities have involved the local Garhwali people to explore the slopes that rightfully belong to them.
By eight in the morning, one can see the first of the skiers and other adventure seekers. Until about four o’clock in the evening, when it gets chilly, cold and dark, the skiers make most of the slopes. For the best part of the winter season, Auli is blessed by an unusually large number of sunny days, but there are times when it snows heavily. In the evenings, the activity shifts from the slopes to the bukhari-warmed huts and resorts (bukhari: a quaint, wooden stove). People then generally pass their time listening to folklore and reveling in the local music of Garhwal in the lamp-lit rooms or besides the bonfires.

Excursions from Auli:
A trek to Gurso Bugyal (open meadows) which is just 3km trek from Auli uphill is not to miss destination. The limitless spread of the Bugyal offers a green pastureland to the cattles in summer while its a trekker’s paradise in the winters when the Bugyal is covered with snow. A closer encounter with some of the highest Himalayan peaks like Nanda Devi, Trishul, Dron Parvat from the heights of Gurso Bugyal is breathtaking.

Accomodation selection in Auli:
GMVN offers attracting accomodation options with the smaller huts and a dormitory. Another good option to stay is Cliff Top Club hotel

Best season to visit Auli:
The best time to visit Auli is during winters (Dec-Feb). This is the time when one can enjoy the snowfall in Auli.Auli will also host the SAF winter games in Feb 2009

How to reach Auli:
By Road: Regular road services are available from Delhi, Dehradun, Rishikesh and Haridwar to Joshimath. Auli is 13 km drive from Joshimath. You can either hire jeeps to Auli or trek the five kilometer between Joshimath and Auli.The another exciting option to reach Auli from Joshimath is through the 4km long ropeway.

By Rail:
Rishikesh, about 235 km away, is the nearest railhead.

By Air:
The nearest airport is Dehradun, about 298 km away.