People go to Switzerland to experience ski & snow clad mountains but they forget that India too has its own famous ski destination. Overlooking second highest peaks of India, Nanda Devi, Auli is indeed a white world with adrenaline pumping ski tracks.
Enroute to Auli
Auli lies in the state of Uttarakhand, which is called the land of Gods, well known for religious places like Badrinath and Rishikesh. A visit there will almost make you certainly feel that this is one of the most beautiful places on Earth and if God would want to live somewhere, he would definitely chose this place. One needs to go to Joshimath which comes on your way to Badrinath for heading towards Auli. The best way to travel is either from Dehradun (if arriving by flight) or Haridwar (Train or road). From Dehradun/Haridhwar the road towards Badrinath will take you to Joshimath. Enroute places like Rishikesh and Devprayag will mesmerise your mind. The drive to Joshimath is as beautiful as the destination as on one side of the road, you have the mighty and graceful river Ganga flowing with you. The drive offers a very good opportunity to photography enthusiasts and will keep them busy with their camera all along. From Joshimath, there is road which will leads to Auli. Once at Joshimath, one needs to take a chair car to reach Auli. The ride on the chair car is particularly scenic, as you will see the snow-clad mountain peaks all around and few of them beneath your feet too!
Glass House on way to Clifftop Ski Resort
Auli is not only a beautiful and scenic mountain where you can experience snowfall and heaps of ice, but also a breath-taking ski destination. In winters, the ice cover can go up to 3-4 feet and snowfall is very common. There are only few hotels available in Auli. The road way will take you to GMVN. It is government operated facility which provides not just bed and breakfast but also ski lessons and equipment. There is another hotel name Devi Darshan Lodge. All these hotels are good and affordable. Since the location of Auli is such that these hotels are nothing like 4 or 5 star hotels.
Clifftop Ski Resort, Auli
Best place to stay and expensive is one which is on the top, name Clifftop Ski Resort. You will be surprised to see the Nanda Devi peak right from the window of your room and ice all around your resort. Stepping out in winters would mean stepping into at least 2 feet of ice and an opportunity to do all the winter activities that you can think of. From GMVN, a chair car (Operate till 4pm) will take you to Clifftop. Being the hotel on top, charges of Clifftop are as high as Auli’s altitude above sea level. Those people who have membership with RCI can get great deal as they have tied up with Clifftop and provide very much affordable rates.
Nanda Devi peak
If one thinks of visiting Auli, they can’t say no to Ski and Snow boarding. Auli offers some of the best opportunities to enjoy the winter in a way, which is almost European. Playing with the ice, experiencing snowfall, skiing, snow boarding, Ice treks, Sledges etc are just to name a few. Auli is also known for its ski tracks. Many foreigners visit during winters to experience the amazing ski track. When I say winter it doesn’t mean November-December. This are the month when there will be snow fall. Ski is done once snow covered the land and is approximately 3 ft of height. Ideal time for Ski is January and February as once there is enough ice, one can take ski lessons and enjoy a snow-clad ambiance. Ski might sound exciting but doing is damn tiring but totally worth it.
View from the room
Those who want to visit Auli but not in winters or for Ski (which is unlikely) you can also visit during summer. The land instead of white carpet will feature green carpet. Even without snow it is lush green and covered in bed of flowers.