After a failed attempt to complete Satopanth Lake trek, on my own, I was literally not ready for another follow-the-unknown-trail challenge. It was time to find a place which offered me a comfortable camping site, and some rest. A good flat space and easy food options – was all I was thinking. And then the wind said “Auli”.
I loved Auli. Not because it offered sights that were unimaginably beautiful. Neither was I excited about a riveting ski experience. Some people suggest that Auli has India’s best ski resorts, and the convenience and excitement of long cable rides makes it even more popular. But I was excited about neither of them.
I visited Auli for another reason, to explore another side of it – much beautiful and less known for its praises. And I happened to explore it as I reached the town in the month of May.
The sun was shining, and snow was far gone. Each gaze beheld a sight of nothing more than dead and glorious mountains – a few patches of grass, however, gave the entire mountain a greenish tinge. I loved how Auli for its placement. Its setting was beholding.
The town of Auli gives you two chair cars running parallel to each other. From high-end resorts to a couple of luxury campsites, everything seemed flawlessly placed around a blue superficial lake. No wonder, Auli is perfect for a brief weekend holiday. Even a wine shop was close.
I did not find Auli a place where backpackers would want to frequent. But then again, this place was not meant for them anyway. It was me who went astray. And I was happy that I did.
Auli, during the months of summer, looked different. And the experience was different too. There were few tourists. Cable cars were not operating. Local people also seemed lazy, and to be blissfully relaxing. I was happy that I experienced a different side of Auli, as I came across a group of horse busy grazing summer pastures and not disturbed.
At an altitude of nearly 3000m above the sea level, Auli’s naked slopes were flanked by coniferous and oak forests. The place offered a panoramic view of the Himalayas – with only their top being covered in snow as if they were wearing a crown. A blue lake only made it a little more unreal.
Auli, as I said, in not meant for backpacking. You don’t find that vibe here. It took me a couple of hours to explore it through, and realising I might want to leave tomorrow. Things looked a little commercialized. Everything was designed for city tourists – and the size of hotels and resorts only made my point clear. I mean afterall, in a place so beautiful like this, there is no need for an Artifical Lake, unless the idea was always to lure commercial tourists.
Trekking is the most popular activity in summer in Auli, as it provides a wonderful opportunity to explore the Garhwal Himalayas. Its perfectly positioned meadows – making camping an easy deal in the entire region – complements the idea even more. Locals told me that trekking business, in the recent year, is quickly picking up.
Dinner happened in a local campsite, and with a group of tour-guides who were taking a few teenagers, from Mumbai, to Gursan-Auli trek. They were leaving the next morning.
“Simple food is always the best,” I remember claiming, as I finished what was served to me on the plate.
And here’s a Good Reader tip: If you’re on a shoestring budget, Auli isn’t a place for you. Because even in summer, when the hotels are least expensive, you will not find anything for less than 1000 Rupees a night.
In that case, find this guy (Pradeep, he’s called, I think) running a shop right opposite to GMVN guest house. He can arrange you something cheaper. If nothing helps, ask him about renting tents and sleeping bags and do your own camping.
Have you been to Auli? Which season was it? Let me know in comments.
If you’er visiting Auli, do not forget to give Badrinath: one of the four pilgrimage sites in Uttarakhand. Read More: Char Dham Yatra In Uttarakhand