Hello to my lovely readers!! How many of you have experienced live snowfall? In the recent few years, the frequency of snowfall events has decreased drastically due to the global warming. On my journey to North Uttrakhand for 20 days in the month of January, I was expecting live snowfall for at least couple of days. But that wasn’t the case. It just occurred for a day. The day when I was at the beautiful Auli Hill Station!!
On way to Auli Hill station from Joshimath
Located in the Chamoli district of Uttrakhand and nestled in the snow-capped peaks of Garhwal Himalayas, Auli Hill Station is one of the top ski destinations in India. But the place is not just about skiing. Situated at an altitude of around 3000 meters, Auli provides breathtaking views of the Himalayan mountain peaks like Nanda Devi, Mana Parbat, Doonagiri, Trisul peak, Hathi Peak and Palki Peak.
Note: – There is another place named Auli in Himachal, so don’t get confused.
Sunset as seen from Joshimath near Auli
A Heaven for skiers and a delight for mountaineers, Auli is the perfect place to be at, in order to enjoy the live snowfall amidst huge Himalayan Mountains in the backdrop. What’s more delightful about this hill station is that it is less crowded compared to the touristy towns like Shimla, Manali, and Nainital. So looking for some peaceful days? Auli is the perfect place to be at.
Auli Hill Station covered with snow
How to reach Auli Hill Station
The cheapest and most convenient way to reach Auli Hill Station is via railways and bus/shared taxi. The nearest railway station to Auli is Haridwar (279 kms) and Rishikesh (259 kms). Train frequency to Rishikesh from other parts of the country is very low and hence one can take a train till Haridwar. You can also opt for the bus journey to reach Haridwar/Rishikesh.
From Haridwar and Rishikesh, regular buses and shared taxis ply for Joshimath (255 kms) and takes around 8-9 hours to reach Joshimath. The fare for the same is in range of 300-350 INR. From Joshimath, there are two options to reach Auli Hill station. A shared taxi will cost around INR 200 /round trip -10 kms one way (sometimes road might be closed if it snows heavily). The other exciting way to reach Auli is by the famous ropeway.
Auli ropeway details
The ropeway at Auli is one of the longest and highest ropeways in India with a total length of 4.15 kms. It takes around 22 minutes to cover this distance from Joshimath to Auli at an average speed of 3 m/ sec. The cart has a sitting capacity of around 25 passengers. The charge for the ropeway (as of 2018) is INR 750 for a return journey. Kids above the age of 5 years are charged a full ticket.
Timings: Summer (8:00 am – 5:10 pm), Winter (9:15 am – 4:20 pm)
Auli Hill station ropeway
If you do not want to take the full ride then at least take the shorter rides, the chairlift (800 m) and the Ski lift (500 m) as the views of the surrounding region from the ropeway are simply spectacular. The charges for the same are INR 300 and INR 100 respectively.
Amazing view of Auli hill station
My journey to Auli Hill Station
After spending a peaceful day at the much unheard of, yet beautiful village Khirsu, next on my list was Auli Hill station. On my way to Auli, I heard from a fellow passenger that it was raining in Auli. Hearing so, my anxiety turned into excitement to visit this town, as I knew the fact that it generally snows after the rains at this altitude.
Hairy dog at Auli Hill station
The distance between Khirsu and Joshimath (base village of Auli) is around 160 kms. It takes around 6 hours to reach the same. On the way, you come across the three out of the five Prayags, Rudraprayag, Karnaprayag and Nandaprayag. Mostly the bus/taxi driver takes a pit stop here. Watching the confluence of rivers at these Prayags brings in more delight to your journey. Also, the view of the huge mountains all along the way is simply breathtaking.
Man-made lake at Auli Hill station
I opted for a shared taxi from Joshimath to reach Auli in order to save few extra pennies. The road route didn’t disappoint me at all; as the surrounding region was entirely covered with snow. I could feel the cool breeze!! The view of the snow-covered valley with snow covered mountains in backdrop during the ride was simply outstanding.
Nanda Devi Peak as seen from Auli Hill Station
After a 25-30 minutes ride; the taxi driver dropped me to the taxi stand at Auli. I was stunned to see the entire uphill region being covered with deep snow. Without waiting for a second, I started trekking all my way up to a point where I could see few people doing skiing. I was not much interested in doing the same; I just wanted to feel the beauty of the place.
Skiing at Auli Hill Station
Once you hike a little higher from skiing zone, there is a beautiful man-made lake. It is used to create artificial snow during winter games in case if it does not snow enough. It is almost at this point you can enjoy a 180-degree Himalayan view, which includes the second highest peak of India – Nanda Devi (7816 meters).
Snow everywhere at Auli Hill Station
While I was enjoying the glimpses of the huge Himalayan peaks, suddenly the weather turned foggy and it started snowing. I must admit, I was lucky enough to enjoy the two aspects of Auli. The beautiful surrounding views in a clear weather and also the snowfall in a foggy weather.
Snowfall at Auli hill Station
Apart from adventure sports like skiing and snowboarding, there are few more things one can do in Auli. You can opt for a short yet adventurous trek to Gorson Bugyal and Chattrakund Lake (3 kms) and the valley of flowers trek. If you are looking for long treks, you may check out Auli to Tapovan trek (42 kms) covering Gorson, Tali, Chitrakantha Peak, Galigarh, Kuari Pass, and Khullara. Also one can visit Hanuman Temple, Shiva Temple, and the Jyotirmath.
New friends at Auli
I spent the entire day trekking and soaking the beauty of Auli. The splendid view of meadow covered in the blanket of snow and the towering Himalayan peaks in the backdrop will always remain embedded in my heart.
Best time to visit Auli Hill Station
The best time to visit Auli would entirely depend on the purpose of visit. If you want to experience snow and enjoy some skiing, plan your budget trip to Auli in months of December to March. If you looking to escape scorching heat prevalent in India in months of April to June, a visit to Auli will be a perfect option. You can enjoy longs treks with some clear views of the surroundings.
Joshimath to Auli road route
Stay option in Auli Hill station
The hill station is not commercialized yet and hence there are very few stay options available. Cliff Top club, Himalayan Ecolodge, Auli Resort and GMVN Tourist Guest House are the few I saw over there. All these stay options run full for the most part of the year and are expensive as well. You may try your luck at GMVN tourist guest house which is comparatively cheaper. It has a dormitory as well for which prices are around INR 300/bed.
Cliff club top Auli
What I would suggest is to stay at Joshimath and visit Auli on a day tour from there. You will easily find budget stay options at Joshimath. I stayed at Hotel Mount Elephant and charges was INR 400/night.
Are you looking for some essential travel gear? Check out my post on What’s in my Backpack.
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