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Before we get into details about Auli, let’s first let you know that there are multiple Auli’s in India. The most common ones you will come across are the two shown in Uttarakhand in the map below.
If you are looking for the Auli that’s a popular skiing destination then it’s the one on the right on the map above. Now, with that cleared, let’s talk about everything you need to know about Auli through this Auli travel guide.
Auli is a small hill station in the Chamoli district in the Himalayan mountains of Uttarakhand. It is also known as Auli Bugyal, in Garhwali, which means “meadow”, and is located at an elevation of 2,800 meters (9,200 ft) above sea level. From June to October, the Auli valley becomes home to one of the highest number of flower species found anywhere in the world, with 520 species of high-altitude plants, 498 of which are flowering plants with significant populations of endangered species.
Surrounded by oak and other coniferous trees, Auli has always been marketed as a ski destination by the local government. GMVNL or The Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Limited runs a popular ski resort, a ski rental shop and the tourism department runs a cable car, a chairlift, and a ski lift, along with a maintained trek route.
Auli is one of the most picturesque hill stations, more so because it is relatively still unexploited and untouched by commercialization. The views of the snow-covered Himalayas combined with pristine lakes, dense forests, and lush green meadows are a treat to the eyes.
Our comprehensive Auli travel guide will give you detailed information about the best sites to see, places to stay along with information about skiing adventures in the serene hill destination. If you are planning a ride to Uttarakhand, you can check our amazing motorcycle tours here.
How to reach Auli
To get to Auli, you will first have to reach either Delhi or Dehradun as they are the best transit points to the hill station.
From Dehradun – The Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is the closest airport to Auli. Once you are at the airport, you can take a private cab to Auli. However, since Auli is about 300 kms from there, it will cost you a bomb to travel by cab. Alternatively, you can book a bus to Joshimath which is just 15 kms from Auli. Once you are there, you can hire a cab to get to Auli. Alternatively, you can board a bus or a shared cab to reach Auli from Dehradun.
If you are traveling by road then here are a couple of routes you can take.
Through Haridwar and Rishikesh
Delhi – Meerut – Haridwar – Rishikesh – Devprayag – Rudraprayag – Chamoli – Joshimath – Auli
Delhi – Meerut – Bijnor – Najibabad – Lansdowne – Khirsu – Srinagar – Rudraprayag – Chamoli – Joshimath – Auli
Cable car from Joshimath to Auli
Now, this is a truly unique and adventurous experience. You can travel to Auli from Joshimath by cable car that is the longest gondola ride in Asia. The ride will cost you INR 700 per person but it’s definitely worth the money!
How to travel inside Auli
Auli doesn’t have a public transportation system and since it’s an offbeat destination the app-based transportation services aren’t available as well. The only way to travel within Auli and to neighboring areas is via a private cab. There are a few cab providers in Auli and you can book their services with the help of your hotel.
Best places to visit in Auli
Situated at an altitude of 3,056 meters, Gorson Bugyal is an expansive green meadow surrounded by beautiful oak and coniferous trees. From Auli, you can reach there by a half-hour easy trek and will be awestruck by the magnificent views of the Himalayan range. However, if you want to keep exploring you can trek 1 km further towards Chattarkund which is famous for its sweet water and is located inside a dense forest.
As is with legends, sources say that Lord Hanuman took a break here during his quest for the Sanjeevani booti. The temple has stunning views of Mount Neelkanth from here and it’s a great spot to spend a couple of hours. If you are into religious tourism, then you could also explore many other temples located in and around Auli.
Did you know that the world’s highest man-made lake is located in Auli? Situated in the mountains the lake was developed to produce snow even during summers. The artificial snow is used to aid skiing and snowboarding sports all throughout the year.
Things to do in Auli
If developed the right way, Auli has the potential to become an Aspen like destination. But at this time, tourism in Auli is still in its nascent stages but attracting a lot of tourists at the same time. Facilities are at a bare minimum but you can enjoy the natural environments through some interesting activities. Our Auli travel guide highlights some of the must-do activities in Auli.
Trekking and hiking enthusiasts will love visiting Auli as this mountainous town has plenty of trails to offer. From breathtaking meadows to pristine lakes in forests – Auli has a magnitude of hidden beauties to explore. However, the most popular trekking spots in Auli are Chattrakund Lake, Gorson Bugyal, Tali, Kuari Pass, Khulara, and Tapovan.
However, if you crave something more challenging then you can book guided trekking tours to Nanda Devi, Kamet, Mana Parvat, Dunagiri, and Joshimath from Auli.
Auli is on track to become one of the top ski destinations in India and is slowly featuring on the world map as well. Each year Winter sports and skiing championships are organized which attracts lots of tourists not only from India but from all over the world. After the first snowfall of winter in December, skiing starts here. The skiing season lasts till March and you can book a resort with skiing facilities in Auli. Our Auli travel guide highlights where to get the skiing equipment along with details about travel, accommodation, and food for your ski trip.
The Auli ropeway and cable car is one of the major attractions in the mountain town and offers a panoramic view of the Himalayas. It is the second-highest and longest ropeway after Gulmarg Gondola Cable Car in Asia. You can get on it from either Auli or Joshimath and travel 4 kms. The cost of the ticket is INR 500 to INR 1000 per person for a round trip.
Where to rent Ski equipment in Auli
Inside Auli, there are many places where you can rent ski equipment and our Auli travel guide highlights some of these options below.
GMVNL ski resort in Auli is a winter ski resort that has an integrated ski equipment rental shop as well. The shop is inside the GMVNL campus and you will need to rent the complete set from them. For the complete set, the pricing is around INR 1,200 per day and it includes the ski with bindings, boots, and ski poles.
Another option is to rent the equipment from Auli Ski and Snowboarding school. You can pick up the equipment from their shop in Auli and make an advance booking online as well. This is a great option since during peak season it’s difficult to find spare equipment. There are a few local shops in Joshimath and Auli that rent out skiing equipment. However, while renting from them do check their quality and fitment.
What to eat in Auli
The Garhwali cuisine isn’t as popular as other Himalayan foods but it has its own distinct flavor and needs to be experienced. But the food options in Auli are very limited and chances are that the restaurants won’t serve local food. As is the case with every tourist destination in India, most of the food will be geared towards North Indian cuisines.
However, there are a few homestays and local restaurants that serve Garhwali food. Garhwali cuisine comprises of dals, leafy vegetables, and rice. Some of the local delicacies include Kachmauli (stuffed goat with oil and spice), Bal Mithai, Singhori (a cone-shaped sweet wrapped in Malu Leaf), and many other delicacies.
Mobile network in Auli
With the advancement of technology and multiple players entering the market, there is no dearth of mobile connectivity in Auli. All major mobile network providers have good connectivity in Auli. However, if you go into the skiing areas, you might face low network coverage or no network at all. Most of the top hotels and resorts provide Wi-Fi coverage so you should be connected at all times.
ATM’s in Auli
Auli doesn’t have an ATM network yet so it is advisable to carry plenty of cash or make online payments. However, if you are in dire need of cash, then you will need to drive to Joshimath to use the ATMs.
Best time to visit Auli
Since it’s a hill station, Auli can be visited anytime during the year. However, most travelers come to see white Auli, covered in snow therefore it is better to visit during the winter season. But if there is excessive snowfall or landslides then getting here in the winters can be a bit challenging. So do your research and read our Auli travel guide before you book a winter vacation there.
Summers: From March till June, Auli experiences is summer season. The absence of snow will reveal the barren side of the mountains that look like mounds of dirt! But the weather is ideal for outdoor activities as you can spend the whole day out in cool 15-degree temperatures. Many trekking enthusiasts flock to Auli during summers to explore trekking routes in the valley.
Monsoon: The rainy season lasts from July to October in Auli. During this time, the temperature falls a little further and might go down to 10 degrees. It can rain quite a bit in Auli so if you plan to spend maximum time outdoors then this isn’t the best time to be there. Hence, I would recommend that you avoid traveling here during the rainy season.
Winters: The weather starts to cool down further from November onwards and the winter season continues till the beginning of March. Snowfall is a common occurrence during this time, attracting hordes of tourists from all over India. Auli is famous for being a skiing destination and winters are the ideal time to enjoy this thrilling sport.
Festivals in Auli
Mata Murti Ka Mela
Celebrated in the month of September, the Mata Murti Ka Mela is a religious festival for the Hindus. On this day, Shri Badrinath’s mother is worshipped and a large procession is held at the Badrinath temple. According to legends, the holy river Ganges descended on earth from heaven. In Auli, this festival is celebrated with much fervor.
Auli Winter Carnival
During peak winters, Auli comes to life as it celebrates its snow day in January or February. The icy slopes in Auli start to buzz with skiers and snowboarders allowing them to indulge in this extremely fun sport. The main attraction of the winter games celebration is the skiing demonstration by the ITBP. This is usually the opening ceremony post which the skiing championship begins. People from different age groups and skill levels can take part in the competition. And if you are a spectator, you can enjoy the snowboarding challenge where participants from all over the world compete.
Hotels in Auli
Auli aims to be a world-class ski destination and travelers from all over the world come here to experience its ski slopes. Due to the influx of ski tourists, the hotel infrastructure has been built accordingly. Hotel prices in Auli aren’t as economical as other Himalayan destinations across India and average room prices are between INR 2,500 to INR 5,000 for two people. This is exclusive of meals and for 3 meals you will have to shell out INR 1,000 per person. For hotels and B&Bs in Auli, you can visit sites like Booking, MMT, ClearTrip, Yatra, and Airbnb, etc.
However, if you do want to stay money on accommodation, you can camp in Auli. The best way to do so would be to tie up with a camping service provider who will take care of tent stay and food for your camping adventure.
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