By- Shrabasti Anindita Mallik
About 270 km from Rishikesh, Auli is a snow-covered destination, most popular for skiing. Lying in the Garhwal region, the hill resort of Auli is among the best skiing grounds in the world. It is famed for its 3 km high-rise slopes, having a drop of 500 m, which are ideal for the sport. At such a height of 2800 m above sea level, the wind speed promotes a skier's movement, while the slopes balance the velocity. While the blankets of snow prove mesmerising for adventure-enthusiasts, the quieter side of Auli fascinates with its serenity. Speckled with apple orchards, ancient oak trees and elegant pines, Auli is nature's quaint canvas. Several trekking trails snake through the landscape, giving you the perfect opportunity to explore the hidden secrets of the Himalayas.
For photographers, Auli is the launching pad to capture such mountain ranges as Nanda Devi, Kamat Kamet and Mana Parvat. Focus your lens on the orange sun setting between snow-capped mountains, and the myriad hues scattered in the sky as if an artist's palette splattered across it. Auli presents picture-perfect opportunities at every turn. Feast your eyes on the uninterrupted splendour of nature and feel the peace of the landscape steal over you.
History and Spirituality
Auli is home to several religious sites. Many believe that it was once visited by Shankracharya in the 8th century AD. It is said that he visited Joshimath and built a temple there that exists to this day. The land of Auli was frequented by semi-nomadic tribes of the Bhotiyas, of the Mongolian progeny, for hundreds of years. They travelled with yaks, which carried goods and helped them in trading with Tibet. Before it was a full-fledged ski resort, Auli was the training ground of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force, which tested its strength and valour against the tough and unforgiving landscape and climate. The popular Trishul peak (23,490 feet) is the scene of an unusual expedition that took place here in 1958. It took the mountaineers almost four days to climb and about 90 minutes to ski down to the base.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Auli is from late November to March as the weather is perfect for skiing. The Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam organises 15-day and 7-day courses for beginners and experts, from December to March. If you are looking for accommodation options, the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Limited (GMVL) runs a ski resort and a ski rental shop.