Uttarakhand is known for its natural talent of producing some of the most breathtaking hill stations. Among tourists, the lovely hill stations of Uttarakhand are the best places to escape from the sultry summer heat. For me, Uttarakhand is the perfect way to enjoy both the refreshing cool breeze, especially when the rest of India is boiling hot, and the fun treks and adventure activities that have popped up in various cities in Uttarakhand.
Auli in Uttarakhandis one such town, which is popular for both its marvellous beauty and the adventure sport that takes place there. In this case, the adventure sport that dominates Auli is- Skiing. Auli is said to be one of the most scenic looking skiing slopes in Asia. With its vibrant valleys and amazing wildflowers, it has managed to wow the tourists every single time they visit here.
My trip to this lovely place in the peak of Garhwal hills was more than the usual relaxing and occasional skiing kind of a trip.
I travelled to Auli to experience the wonderful treks and the other hill stations that add allure to Auli and to Uttarakhand.
Before I recount my personal experiences at Auli and the other towns, here is a little more on the skiing part of Auli.
Auli attracts are a large number of tourists who come here just for skiing. There is a lovely skiing resort located called the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam, which is wholly dedicated I’m promoting Auli as a skiing destination.
The skiing region is absolutely marvellous to look at. Flanked with clear blue skies and a vertical drop of 500 metres, Auli offers the perfect place to enjoy both the skiing and the natural beauty that surrounds it. Auli has all the required facilities needed for skiing, and the arrangement is absolutely top notch.
From gloves to goggles, you will find everything at a fee. There are also skiing lessons that novice ski enthusiasts can take.
The moment I had laid my eyes on this skiing destination, I instantly realised that this place as more than just a simple skiing destination. I was captivated immediately by the view that lay ahead of me. The mighty Himalayan peaks, which are wrapped around a blanket of white snow, followed by the little green hills that are dotted with apple orchards and pine trees, giving it the needed colour and vibrancy.
Auli is relatively unknown, and most people come here to experience skiing. Yet, the fact that the rest of Auli is hidden from the maddening crowd, is a blessing in disguise. This remote location has helped keep Auli pollution free and absolutely pristine.
Auli is bipolar. Which means, that there are two different sides of this hill stations, depending on when you visit. If you choose to visit Auli in the freezing winters, then you will be met with a white blanket of pristine snow.
But, if you visit in the Summer months, you will see a different Auli. Every hill and neighbouring mountains are covered with lush green meadows filled with green conifers. It is very difficult to find a trace of snow at this time.
The wondrous hills of Auli are commented to the Joshimath, which comes en route to Auli, through a ropeway. While one can drive from Joshimath to Auli, the far better way to travel is through the ropeway. It is the second longest and highest ropeway in Asia, and it is absolutely enchanting. The ropeway provides some of the scintillating views of the snowy Himalayas during the winters, whereas you can see a wondrous lush green Himalayas during the summers.
I was left astounded by the rows of oak and pine trees as I rode above the clouds in my little cable car.
What really lifts Auli up, and makes it one of the most scenic places to travel to- are the amazing panoramic views of the formidable Himalayan peaks like – Nanda Devi peak (2nd highest mountain of India), Kamet Kamat, Garhwal mountain range and Mana Parbat. The views of these mountains peaks are so charming and magnetic, that you will be in awe for a long time. It is difficult to get that image of the beautiful Nanda Devi peak standing proudly out of your mind.
Another major attraction in Auli is the artificial lake that was created in the misdealt of Auli’s mountains. While the reason for creating this lake is purely scientific – it was created to produce synthetic artificial sow during the international skiing season, yet this lake has added so much. The clean blue lake is situated right in the middle of the green grassy meadows, which makes it ever the more charming and heavenly.
My exploration took me to Trishul Peak- which is located at 23,490 feet above sea level. Trishul Peak is Auli’s most ski friendly resort- for me, it was another magnificent placed filled to the brim with natural beauty.
Auli and Trishul peak were not always developed as ski destinations- prior to the advent of Skiing, both these places were training grounds for men of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force. I had been to Trishul Peak before in order to visit the mysterious Roopkund lake– the lake is said to have over 600 skeletal remains of humans and horses. But this time I was there to truly appreciate the beauty of Trishul peak and experience what it has to offer.
This wonderful peak is filled with large meadows, resplendent landscapes and magnificent ponds, all of which work in a sort of harmony to make Trishul Peak as beautiful as it is.
My final few days in Auli were spent by attempting to trek to Nanda Devi National Park, which is located at about 41 km from Auli.
This rich national park offers some of the most diverse flora and fauna. It is a biome in itself that have given several, birds, plants and animals a home to stay. What makes the park absolutely magnificent is the immense natural beauty, enhanced by the Peak Nanda Devi (second highest peak in India ) which rises to over 7,800 m. Imagine walking around this dense forest path with the second highest mountain peak in India as a backdrop!
The trek to here is extremely difficult, and it took me quite some time to master it and finally get a hang of it. While the trek is hard, it is certainly worth it. This trek is the epitome of the saying- Anything that is worthwhile doesn’t come easy in life.
You will need a permit to enter this park.
Per day only six people are allowed to ensure here, including the accompanying staff. All this is done to keep the surrounding absolutely clean, pollution free and not overburdened with the people.
The terrain of this area is extremely hilly and rough, and only experienced trekkers should attempt this. My own journey was met with several stoppages, at times I even thought I would turn back, but as I finally reached my destination I realised the amazing reward that awaited me.