Auli, also known as AuliBugyal, in Garhwali means ‘meadow’ and is located in the Chamoli district in the Himalayan mountains of Uttarakhand, India. Auli is at an elevation of 2800 meters above sea level and is home to beautiful snow-capped mountains.
It is a hill station renowned for being the skiing destination of India and is blessed with dense apple orchards, oaks, deodars, and pine trees. The place is a perfect blend of impending snow-covered mountains and impeccable water bodies.
Here is a list of top 14 best places you can visit in Auli:
- Auli Ropeway
- Auli Artificial Lake
- Gorson Bugyal
- Chattrakund Lake
- Kwani Bugyal
- Chenab lake
- Narsingh Temple
- Auli Chair Lift
- Auli Ski Resort
- Valley of Flowers
- Kuari Pass
- Nanda Devi National Park
1. Auli Ropeway
After Gulmarg, Auli Ropeway is the highest and the longest ropeway in India. Locally known as Gondola, this sprawling ropeway covers 4 km connecting Auli with Joshimath. The Auli Ropeway starts from Joshimath and ends at Auli. The cable cars operate at an exhilarating height of 3010 meters and offer a spectacular panoramic view of the lush green meadows and snow-covered valleys. The place is also famous for paragliding. The nearest rail connectivity is at Dehradun (294 km) or Rishikesh railway station(256 km). However, Jolly Grant Airport at Dehradun is the only airport that leads to Joshimath.
2. Auli Artificial Lake
Auli Artificial lake in Uttarakhand is the highest man-made lake or reservoir in the world. The Government of Uttarakhand originally developed this lake for creating artificial snow on the new ski slopes for the seasons of low snowfall. This lake helps the tourism of Uttarakhand flourish during skiing festivals by extending the ski season.
3. Gorson Bugyal
This beautiful trekking region can be reached by either taking a ropeway from Joshimath or a cab from Joshimath to Auli. Gorson Bugyal is an easy 3 km trek from Auli and is the first camp for the Kuari Pass trek. It has a wide landscape covered with verdant, undulated meadows, dotted with wild flowering plants and provides a breathtaking view of the Nanda Devi massif. The Gorson Bugyal Trek from Auli begins from the spring season and continues till autumn. In winter, the region is coated with snow and is ideal for skiing.
4. Chattrakund Lake
Chattrakund Lake is a small lake of sweet crystal clear water, in the middle of a jungle. Due to it’s proximity to Auli (4 km)and Gorson Bugyal (3 km), it is a spot for trekkers and couples on honeymoon. The lake is at an altitude of 3300 meters and has a picturesque view. Chattrakund lake is exceptionally aesthetic and will leave you In awe. Tourists are often seen enjoying the view of the lofty Himalayas while resting on the banks of the lake, and admiring its flawless beauty.
5. Kwani Bugyal
Kwani Bugyal of Auli is also known as the trekker’s paradise. It is located at an elevation of 3380 meters and offers pristine views of snow-capped peaks. Kwani Bugyal is a popular meadow in the Himalayas known for its natural beauty. Camps can also be set up in this region. Kwani Bugyal also offers a spectacular view of Mt. Nanda Devi and Mt. Dunagiri as it is in close vicinity.
Joshimath, also known as Jyotirmath is a city and one of the four math(cardinal peethas) created by Adi Shankaracharya. It is located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand and is connected to Auli by the highest cable car in Asia. Joshimath is famed for being the gateway to various Himalayan mountain expeditions, trekking trails, and pilgrim centres like Badrinath. It is said to be the home of Lord Badri in winters and is considered to be a sacred place in Uttarakhand. The city of Joshimath has a number of temples like Narsimha and Gaurishankar which are visited by devotees all throughout the year, and hence is the most popular place among the Hindu pilgrims. Valley of flowers, a famous trekking destination in Uttarakhand is also easily accessible from here. To visit the sacred place of Hemkund Sahib, Joshimath has to be crossed. Joshimath is also the starting point for heading towards Auli, the skiing destination of India. This hill city offers spectacular views of the Himalayan Range and gives a chance to sight rich flora and fauna.
7. Chenab Lake
The Chenab lake is a relatively less popular tourist destination located near Dang village of the pilgrim town and the last village of Joshimath. It is a small crystalline water lake offering a calm and serene environment most suitable for relaxing. The Chenab lake is impeccably beautiful and is surrounded by lush greenery. Oak and deodar trees are found in abundance around this untouched water body. Due to the lack of proper road construction, the only way to reach the Chenab lake is through a trek to the Dang village. The meadow leading to this pristine lake is covered with beautiful flowers and the view is an out of the world experience.
8. Narsingh Temple
Narsingh Temple is one of the most famous temples of Joshimath among Hindu devotees. Located in the lower bazaar area of Joshimath, this place is often crowded with Hindu pilgrims who just wish to get a glimpse of the deity. The Narsingh temple is devoted to Lord Narsingh who is said to be the fourth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, in the form of half lion and half man. Local people believe that this temple used to be the home of Saint Shri Badrinath during winters back in the day. The statue of Lord Vishnu enshrined in this temple is shrinking day by day. Among popular beliefs, it is said that when the left wrist of the deity separates from its forearm, the road to Badrinath will be permanently blocked due to a landslide. Scientists have also backed this prophecy to an extent, declaring Joshimath as a landslide-prone area.
9. Auli Chair lift
Auli Chair lift connects the beautiful snow-covered hill station of Auli with the skiing slopes. It is located near GMVN i.e the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam. If you are heading towards the destination by road, the Auli Chair lift is one of the best ways to reach the skiing slopes. The entry fee to this place is pretty reasonable and wouldn’t burn a hole in your pocket. The journey by the chair lift approximately takes two hours. There is no allotted schedule like the Auli Ropeway and the Chair lift runs every minute during their operational hours.
10. Auli Ski Resort
The snow-covered hill station of Auli is a perfect place for skiing in India. Every year hundreds of skiers all over the world travel to Auli for skiing competitions. Auli Ski Resort is a budget-friendly accommodation, located at a distance of 13 km from the Joshimath Bus stand. The resort has an on-site restaurant which makes it convenient for tourists to stay here. It is a two-storey property having a total number of 44 spacious and well maintained, clean rooms. Auli Ski Resort provides the boarders with basic amenities and certain specific room services as well. The resort has a gaming room as well as a parking space within the property premises. Places like Narsingh Temple, Joshimath, and Valley of Flowers National Park Uttarakhand are easily accessible from this resort. Front desk services are also provided by the resort during specific hours.
Vishnuprayag is one of the Panch Prayag of Alaknanda River and is at a distance of 32 km for Badrinath and 11 km for Joshimath. It is a sacred place that lies at the confluence of two rivers, the Alaknanda and Dhauli Ganga, in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Vishnuprayag derives its name from Lord Vishnu, who appeared at this place to sage Narada. The average elevation of the place is 1372 meters and it is near Kagbhusandi Lake. The place is usually covered in snow during winters and the weather is exceptionally cold. Vishnuprayag has innumerable temples, ashrams, rivers, and mountains that help in attaining the spiritual healing of the mind and soul. The temple of Vishnuprayag has proper rituals that are followed religiously by the devotees and are popular among Hindu pilgrims. The pilgrims usually take a dip in the nearby Vishnu Kund before entering the temple, as it is not allowed to take dips in the confluence for heavy water currents. However, Vishnuprayag offers various adventure sports like trekking, white water river rafting, hiking around the mountains, canoeing and much more.
12. Valley of Flowers
Valley of flowers is a paradise for any nature lover or an ardent botanist. It is located in North Chamoli, in the state of Uttarakhand and is an Indian National Park. The valley on one side is covered with beautiful flowers and tall cliffs, and the other side is adorned with snow-clad mountains. Pushpavati river glides through the middle of this valley and makes the setting even more heavenly. The trek to the Valley of Flowers is one of the most talked treks in India and has stories of trekkers falling unconscious due to the strong fragrance of the wildflowers. The flowers in this valley keep changing from time to time. The trek is a four-day long trek and is ideal to be taken in and around July, August, and September. The flowers bloom the best during monsoons giving this place a spectacular view. The valley boasts of a wide array of flowers; namely Meadow Geranium, Snake Foil, Hooked Stick Seed, Himalayan Rose, Blue Poppy, River Anemone, and others. The wildlife includes lime butterfly, gray langur, flying squirrel, Himalayan black bear, red fox, and Himalayan weasel.
13. Kuari Pass
The Kuari Pass trek, also known as the Lord Curzon trek, is an easy and moderate trek for beginners and is also one of the best Himalayan treks, to begin with. The trek starts from Joshimath and moves further towards Gulling top via Dakh. Snow clad mountains are visible in this trek from the very first day as Mt Nanda Devi and Mt. Dronagiri are right in front. Kuari Pass has ancient forest trails, filled with mostly oaks and rhododendrons. The forest here is neither too thick nor thin and one can clearly see through the distance and enjoy a perfect overview of the forest. This trek is a perfect blend of forests and meadows; you step out of the forest into a meadow, only to get back to the forest in the end. The Kuari Pass trek not only offers a spectacular landscape but also has camping sites. A trek automatically becomes better if one has a camping experience. This trek allows tourists to camp in the middle of the forest at Chitrakantha campsite, as well as in the backdrop of Mt. Dronagiri at the Khullara campsite. Nanda Ghunti, Hathi Ghoda Parbat, Neelkanth, Mukut Parbat, Mana, Rishi Pahad, and Changbang are some of the peaks that can be seen from this place. In winters, the Kuari Pass appears totally different as it gets covered with snow and the lakes are frozen.
14. Nanda Devi National Park
The Nanda Devi National Park, also going by the name of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve is located around the peak of Nanda Devi. It is one of the best Himalayan treks in India and the National Park is well protected, due to the limited access. The biodiversity of this region is a treat to the eyes and acts as a home to globally endangered species like the snow leopard, Himalayan musk deer, and various plant species. Joshimath is the nearest place where one can stay while visiting the Nanda Devi National Park. The Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam (GMVN) guest house is one of the best Nanda Devi National Park hotels in the area.
The hill station of Auli has something for everyone, whether you are someone who likes adventure sports or is more of a laid-back kind; it is one of those rare places that would leave you wanting for more.