Auli, a small hill station in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, is a ski lover’s paradise. Unlike other hill stations of the state, Auli is not spread across a very large area. In fact, the skiing area of Auli is only about 5-7 km. However, what makes this tiny hill station give the Giants a run for their money is its pristine location. Auli is located on a high altitude ranging between 9,500 ft and 10,500 ft and this is the primary factor that contributes to the scenic beauty of this hill station.
Image Source: Praveen Raj (Flickr)
Locally known as Auli Bugyal (meaning meadow in Garhwali), Auli is one of the prominent spots on the way to the popular Hindu pilgrimage destination – Badrinath. The hill station is popular amongst tourists for being the perfect destination for winter sports, which are conducted by the Uttarakhand Tourism Department every year.
Image Source: Kebi (Flickr)
The high-altitude location of Auli lets it command a panoramic view of the Himalayan peaks that go as high as 23,000 feet. The journey to Auli is as magnificent as the place itself. A 4-km long cable car ride from Joshimath to Auli gives visitors an opportunity to enjoy the clear blue skies, the enchanting aroma of surrounding pine and oak trees in the air and a breathtaking view of the snow-clad mountain slopes.
Location & How To Reach:
Located at an elevation of 9,500 ft, reaching Auli can be a task for some travelers. To save some time and energy, take a train to Haridwar, Rishikesh, Kotdwar or Dehradun. Buses to Joshimath ply regularly from these stations. From there, the tourists can either take a bus ride or a 4-km cable car ride to Auli.
Nearest Railway Station: Haridhwar Railway Station (275 km away from Joshimath)
Nearest Airport: Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun (269 km away from Joshimath)
Distance From Nearby Cities:
Auli to Chandigarh: 305 kms (6 hrs)
Auli to Badrinath: 55 kms ( 1hr)
Aulito Nainital: 337 kms (7 hrs)
Auli to Shimla: 404 kms (9 hrs)
Auli to Rishikesh: 292 kms (6 hrs)
Getting Around in the Town
Auli lacks a local bus network. Thus, getting around town by private taxis is the most convenient option. Cabs are easily available in the town with drivers who also serve as tour guides for tourists. You can also rent a car if you want to. But, the uneven and treacherous terrain makes chauffeur-driven cars a more convenient and safer option.
Things to See & Do In Auli
Auli is the perfect destination for holiday-makers, adventure-seekers, honeymooners and nature-lovers alike. Unlike most hill stations in the state, Auli has the perfect blend of picturesque locations and adventure-led activities that can excite your inner thrill seeker.
Auli Artificial Lake
This artificial lake is one of the highest manmade lakes in the world and was built with an idea of creating everlasting artificial ski slopes for adventure-seekers who frequent Auli. Interestingly, the water from this lake is used to fuel snow guns stationed around the ski slopes, which play a key role in extending the season of skiing even during low snowfall conditions.
Image Source – naturalholidaysindia (Flickr)
Popularly known as the ‘Gondola’, the ropeway connecting Auli with Joshimath is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the hill station. Providing breathtaking views of the valley and its green pastures, the cable car ride travels at a height of 3,010 m above sea level.
Image Source – Sanjay Kaparawan (Flickr)
From January to March, skiing certification courses are organized by Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam every year offering two types of courses – a 7-day non-certificate and a 14-day certificate course. The fee for a 7-day course is Rs. 8,400 for Indians (below 18 years) and 9,200 for adults. Foreigners must pay Rs. 11,550 for this course. Charges for a 14-day certificate course are Rs. 16,840 for kids below 18 years and Rs, 18,525 for adults. The same course costs Rs. 23,155 for a foreign national. These prices were accurate at the time of publication and may vary with time.
Located at an altitude of 3056 mts from sea level, Gorson Bugyal is only a 3-km trek from Auli. Upon reaching here, trekkers can find a vast green piece of land which is adorned by large oak trees and coniferous forests. This is the perfect spot to just bask in the glory of bountiful nature.
Image Source – Partha Chowdhury (Flickr)
A mere 1-km trek from Auli, Chattarkund is known for being in the middle of a forest and for its sweet water. Local people or guides are the best navigators to reach Chattarkund.
Located near Joshimath, the small crystalline water lake is an attraction for many tourists. To reach here, one needs to cross Dang village, the last village in Joshimath.
The large green meadow of Kwani Bugyal is a 13 km trek from Auli. The trek to this scenic meadow is every trekker’s dream. It provides a breathtaking view of snowcapped Himalayan peaks such as Nandadevi and Dunagiri.
Best Time to Visit
For people who are seeking some snow adventure, the months between January and March are the best time to visit. The temperature drops below freezing and slopes are blanketed by snow, making it a perfect time to ski. However, if you are not a fan of the freezing cold, visit Auli in April. The temperature starts to rise around this time and you can enjoy the green pastures and snow-clad Himalayan peaks in the surrounding town. The climate of Auli varies between moderate and extreme cold throughout the year.
Not many luxury stay options are available in Auli. However, a couple of properties can be found offering a lavish stay at about Rs. 6-7,000 a night in Auli.
Almost all the other hotels in Auli offer a stay at a cost of Rs. 2-5,000 on an average. That said, the prices can vary during peak tourist season.
Where to Head Next? (50-300 kms)
The trek to Kuari Pass is considered to be easy to moderate one, thus it is the perfect Himalayan trek for beginners. The 4-day trek from Auli takes you through Gorson, Tali, and Chitrakantha, giving panoramic views of the majestic Himalayas all along.
Image Source – Places For Tourist (Flickr)
The holy town of Badrinath is only 55 km from Auli and can be reached via road from Joshimath. After the 25-minute ropeway ride to Joshimath from Auli, private taxis and buses are easily available for Badrinath which take about a little more than an hour to reach.
Image Source: vijaymverma (flickr)
Located in the Chamoli district, Mana Village is the last Indian village from the Indo-China border. The village is located just 3 kms from Badrinath and is situated on the banks of river Saraswati.
Image Source: Himanshu Dutt (Flickr)