Tucked away in the far corners of the Garhwal ranges of the Himalayas in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, Auli is a small skiing destination that gets lost amidst the popularity of its other Himalayan counterparts. Auli emerged as a tourist destination only recently, after the larger state of Uttar Pradesh was divided into Uttarakhand and present-day Uttar Pradesh in 2000.
Set at an altitude of about 3049 metres above sea-level, Auli is accessible to tourists by road. Car rentals are available in plentiful from Delhi, the country’s capital, which is about 500 kilometers away. These services, however, usually terminate at Joshimath which is at a distance of about 16 kilometers from Auli. To get to Auli, one would most likely have to hire a jeep from Joshimath since the terrain thereafter is unsuitable for other four wheelers. The most popular modes of transport between Joshimath and Auli, however, are the chair lifts and the ski lifts. The government also operates a cable car service which, at a distance of 4 kilometers, is Asia’s largest cable car.
As mentioned before, the potential of a tourism industry in these regions has only recently been discovered and therefore, there are only two tourist lodges that operate there, one being a government lodge by the name of Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Tourist Lodge and the other, a private enterprise called Cliff Top Club Resort which is situated about 4 kilometers above the main township.
The journey to Auli might be highly taxing due to the steep climb from Joshimath and a sudden drop of air pressure, but the panoramic beauty that surrounds you on your arrival is enough to make you stop complaining. The 270 degree view of the mountains is a treat to the eyes and one can spot peaks such as the Nanda Devi, which is the highest peak of the Himalayas in India. Skiers, novices and enthusiasts alike, find great pleasure skiing over about 10 to 20 kilometers of clean, snow-covered slopes.
A visit during the winter season that lasts from November to March is ideal if one wants to make full use of the snow covered slopes. Auli also boasts of the world’s highest man-made lake. Located beside the Cliff Top Club Resort, the lake was a work commissioned by the government to provide water for the creation of artificial snow in the event of inadequate snowfall.
If nothing else, Auli will successfully provide you with the ideal getaway from the hustle and bustle of the maddening city. The soothing effect of the natural landscape enthralls visitors as they spend hours whiling away their time, captivated by the raw and primal beauty of nature.