Nestled amidst the snow-clad mountains of Garhwal Himalayan Range, Auli adds beauty and fascination to Uttarakhand tourism. With slopes and meadows flanked by dense vegetation of oak and coniferous , it is hard to describe the beauty of this hill station. Auli is a part of Chamoli district in Uttarakhand in North India and is famous world-wide as one of the best destinations for skiing in India.
Considered as a new entrant among the circles of beautiful hill stations in India, Auli is speedily catching the attention of honeymooners, peace-seekers and nature lovers apart from adventure lovers. Its elevationion ranges from 2,519 meters to 3,050 meters above sea level.
Known as 'bugyal' in the local dialect, Auli means meadow and hence is a place not to be missed during summer and spring seasons. Natural vistas, panoramic views of Himalayan peaks, lush wooded vegetation and pathways laden with wild flowers give Auli a colourful look.
Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN), an enterprise of Uttarakhand government, is the authorized body for looking after Auli tourism. GMVN not only provides accommodation facilities for visitors but also offers skiing courses for travelers who love to try a hand in skiing activity.
Apart from being home to many natural attractions, Auli also presents tourists enough opportunities to engage in fun and adventure activities. There are various recreational activities other than skiing that will keep you busy throughout your tour of Auli. Excursions to nearby places like Valley of Flowers, Nanda Devi Sanctuary and Gurso Bugyal are great sources of interest among travelers. Similarly, trekking expeditions from Auli can give visitors experiences for life long.
Hanuman Temple : It is a small shrine dedicated to the Hindu Monkey God. According to legends, the temple has been constructed on the place where Hanuman took rest while flying all the way from Lanka to Dronagiri Mountain in Himalaya to bring Sanjivani (life-restoring herb) for Lakshman, brother of Lord Ram.
Artificial Lake : Situated adjacent to Cliff top Club hotel in Auli, it is the highest manmade lake in the world. This artificial lake is developed by the government to create artificial snow on new ski slopes so that tourists can enjoy an extended skiing season.
Nanda Devi Peak : Named after Goddess Nanda (Bliss-Giving Goddess), Nanda Devi Peak is India's second highest mountain. With an elevation of 7,817 meters, the mountain is indeed a visual treat. Nanda Devi Peak is a part of Garhwal Himalayan Range and is surrounded by Nanda Devi National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Trishul Peak : Located at an elevation of around 23,490 feet above sea level, Trishul Peak is the kind of natural marvel that leaves you enamoured and fumbling for your camera. It is one of the most famous spots to enjoy skiing in Auli. There is also a lake named, Roopkund, situated at the base of Trishul Peak. Roopkund Lake is known for its mysterious background as around 600 skeletal remains of humans and horses were discovered here.
Tourist Places around Auli
Gurso Bugyal : Situated at a distance of 3 km from Auli, Gurso Bugyal is a beautiful meadow that transforms into an eye-catching green beauty during spring and wears a white look during winters. The place offers imposing views of Nanda Devi, Trishul and Dron Parbat peaks. Tourists can also trek down this lovely picnic spot from Auli.
Chenab Lake : It is an off-beaten destination that lies close to Dang Village, the last rural settlement of Joshimath. There is no motorable way to access the lake and that's what may have contributed towards Chenab Lake to be still deemed as a virgin territory with only few tourists heading to this picturesque waterbody.
Saildhar Tapovan : It is a small village located approximately 15 km from Auli on the way to Joshimath. The place is known for its hot-water springs.
Chattarkund : Among the various lakes located around Auli, Chattarkund is one of the most well-known sweet water lakes in the region. Enclosed by oak and coniferous forests, the lake offers picturesque settings to relax. Chattarkund is located 1 km ahead of Gurso Bugyal.
Nanda Devi National Park : Situated at a distance of around 36 km from Auli, Nanada Devi National Park is a must-see place for travelers visiting the hill station. Nanada Devi National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is spread over an area of 630 sq km. Tourists can see a large species of flora and fauna native to Himalayan region like bahral, snow leopards, chir pheasants and Himalayan black bears. One other way to access the park is by trekking (23 km) from Joshimath.
Vishnu Prayag : Positioned enroute Joshimath to Badrinath, Vishnuprayag is one of the five confluences (panch prayag) of River Alaknanda. Situated at the union of Dhauliganga and Alaknanda Rivers, it offers striking natural views. Auli is about 25 km from Vishnuprayag.
Joshimath : Situated about 15 km from Auli, Joshimath is the main stopover for tourists visiting Badrinath Dham. Joshimath is situated at an elevation of around 6,150 feet above sea level and is considered as the main gateway for various trekking trails and for mountain climbing expeditions in Garhwal Himalaya. Dotted with an array of temples, Joshimath also has a busy market place where travelers can shop for a number of items like woollen caps, blankets and shawls.
Badrinath : Travelers seeking for divine blessings can travel further to Badrinath, one of the four holy shrines of Char Dham Yatra. Located on National Highway 58 and around 60 km ahead of Joshimath, Badrinath is placed on the banks of Alaknanda River.
Activities in Auli
Besides the many attractions in and around Auli, it also offers travelers a number of exciting activities to indulge in, especially adventure activities. Most of the activities in Auli are full of excitement and can increase your heart beats. Some of the most famous activities to do in Auli are listed below:
Skiing : Enclosed by snow-clad mountains of Garhwal Himalyan Range, Auli is a paradise for skiing lovers. It doesn't matter whether you are a beginner or an experienced skier, skiing in Auli is one activity that continues to fascinate tourists from all over the world. Glide down its gentle snowy slopes endowed with the beauty of dense coniferous and oak forests and feel the thrill in your veins. The skiing slopes in Auli are divided into four categories- Composite Slopes (3.1 km), Temple Track (red) (400 meters and meant for beginners), 8 No. Track (blue) (800 meters) and 10 No. Slope (white) (900 meters).
GMVN offers both certificate and non-certificate skiing courses of minimum 4 days and maximum 14 days. The courses include everything from accommodation to dining and from ski gears to guides.
Cable Car Rides : Experience the breathtaking views of valley on one side and snow peaks on the other while enjoying cable car rides in Auli. The hill station has Asia's longest cable car of 4 km. Tourists can enjoy the dazzling beauty of Nanda Devi, Trishul, Dron Parvat and Chhang Bhang.
Trekking : It is not only skiing that attracts adventure seekers to this little paradise of Chamoli district. Auli provides excellent base for several trekking trails. Some of the popular trekking trails in Auli are Auli – Gorson (7 km), Gorson – Tali (6 km), Tali - Kuari Pass (11 km), Kuari Pass - Khulara (12 km), and Khulara - Tapovan (9 km).
Shopping : In the snowy wilderness of Auli, there is no place for shopping. But tourists can find a busy market area in Joshimath, at a distance of around 15 km away from Auli. Tourists can buy a wide array of goods like woolen caps, shawls, blankets, beautiful gift items and souvenirs.
Hotels in Auli
Despite its elevated location, there is no shortage of hotels in Auli, ranging from luxury resorts to budget hotels. Tourists can easily choose an accommodation that perfectly suit their needs and taste. Apart from having a large number of accommodation facilities offered by private entities, Auli also has excellent tourist guesthouses owned and maintained by GMVN. Most of the hotels in Auli are well-maintained and equipped with modern amenities. Whether it is summer or winter, there is always a rush for hotel booking in Auli because of the growing popularity of this exotic hill station of Uttarakhand. Feel close to nature and get a sense of comfort offered by Auli hotels. Some of the well-known names are Cliff Top Club, GMVN Skiing & Tourist Resort, The Royal Village and Devi Darshan Lodge.
The weather of Auli can range from pleasant to extreme but there is something to look forward to in each season. Each season brings with it a distinct charm colouring the region in its hues.
Summer season in Auli (March- June) is marked by enjoyable climatic conditions with average temperature around 15° Celsius. Summers in Auli is considered to be the best time to enjoy sightseeing and go on excursions to nearby places like Mana village, Badrinath, Valley of Flowers National Park, Hemkund Sahib and Gopeshwar.
The period from July to October is marked by cloudy sky and scanty rains. With temperature dropping to 12°C, monsoon in Auli is mostly an off-season period as tourists prefer to stay away and it is also good not to visit the place during this time because of high risk of landslides.
The months from November to February transform the green look of monsoon-drenched Auli into a white carpet of snow. The conditions become extremely cold with the mercury touching 0°C, and it can go even lower. Keep heavy warm clothes along with you.
Winter season in Auli witnesses a high influx of adventure seekers who want to test their skiing skills. Its gentle slopes covered under layers of snow and the spine-chilling breeze will definitely give tourists an adrenaline rush.
Best Time to Visit Auli
Auli, the picturesque hill station of Uttarakhand, is a round-the-year destination. If you like to glide down snow-covered slopes in extreme chilly conditions then winter (December to February) is the best time to visit Auli. It is one of the best skiing destinations in India.
For those who want to rejuvenate in the beauty and tranquility of nature, summer (March to June) is the best time to visit Auli. Pleasant weather conditions, clear views of the surrounding beauty and wonderful trekking and hiking trails make Auli a perfect destination to beat the sultry summers of plains.
How to Reach Auli
Air : The nearest airport from Auli is Jolly Grant domestic airport in Dehradun and it lies around 279 km from the hill station. From the airport, travelers can take taxis and cabs to reach Auli. Flights are available on a daily basis from Delhi International Airport to Jolly Grant airport.
Rail : Haridwar, at a distance of around 280 km, is the nearest major rail head from Auli and is connected with various major cities from all over the country. The next nearest railway station is in Dehradun and it is well-connected to all the major cities of India as well.
Road : Visitors can easily access Auli via road from Joshimath, which is the nearest city and situated at a distance of about 15 km from the hill station. Regular taxis and bus service are also available from Joshimath.
Note* During winters, travelers can reach Auli only through cable car as the route from Joshimath is out of operation because of heavy snowfall. The last cable car departs for the hill station at around 4:20 pm.