Another dream comes true...
I dreamed that one day i would wake up and open the window and see the whole world covered in snow. And lo, it just came true...
Yes, i am talking about auli.
Auli is around 500-550 kms from New delhi. The way is from delhi to rishikesh via NH58, and from there to rudraprayag and to joshimath and from there to Auli. The way from delhi to rishikesh is around 200 kms and is plains - and the way ahead of rishikesh is all mountains.
We were 5 people in an innova and the driver was good at driving in hills. so we took around 12-14 hours for the drive. We started around 10 in the night on friday after diner. Actually we wanted to start early around 6, but we got the information that at 8 pm, the road ahead of rishikesh is closed and it is opened at around 5 am. Since the way from here to rishikesh is around 5-6 hours, we decided to start late and reach the road block at rishikesh at around 4 am. We had a halt at devprayag, half way from delhi to joshimath. But it was not required. Well, joshimath is a good place - small town with beautiful rivers flowing. It is the point of origin of The Ganga. Two rivers alaknanda and bhagirathi meet there and The Ganga is born. A very small town in the valley.
From devprayag around 2 hrs ahead is shrinagar a beautiful valley between all the hills. And before shrinagar is a very nice hotel to stay in - riverside. It is around 1 km from devprayag. We spent some time over there and moved ahead. By 7 in the evening, we reached joshimath the road from rudraprayag to joshimath is very bad - terrible seems a better word.
We spent the night in joshimath. And next morning we went to auli via cable car. The first cable car goes as early as 9:30 am. And if you miss it, you will have to wait untill there are atleast 15 person to travel in the cable car. Well, we missed the cable car and had to wait. You could hire gum boots from the same place at 50Rs/day.
The ride in the cable car was terrible. It was very crowded. I had the notion that since the requirement is minimum 15 people, it would be big, but it is a tiny place and if you have luggage - be prepared for some shoving and scolding. The cable car charges 400/- per person for to and fro. You can also take the road and it would be a better option if it is not snowing.
If you are travelling in cable-car, you would need to get down at tower no 8. And from there, you can either trek down or catch the chair car to gmvnl guest house. There are only 2 places to stay in auli, the gmvnl and the clifftop hotel. Clifftop is costly and the service is not that great. gmvnl is very good. Cheap and affordable. A ride in chair car is 200/- per person to and fro.
Clifftop hotel is very near to the tower no 8 of cable car. GMVNL has ski courses which is a 7 day course. And people from over the world come over here to learn to ski. Food was great. Avoid non-veg. They take too much time to cook non-veg and it is not that great - just ok. We used to be terribly hungry - maybe due to the cold and we used to eat a lot.
The cottages at gmvnl are either huts of deluxe cottages. Huts are very small and do not have central heating. Whereas the deluxe cottages are too good with central heating and all.
The good thing that happened is that it was snowing heavily when we reached Auli. For the first time in my life we saw snow.
All we did over there was play in the snow. It became terribly cold in the night. Even after central heating it was 7-8 degrees inside the room. Outside the temperature must have been -5 degrees or so.
Next morning was bright and clear. We enjoyed the sun and the snow and the clear skies. The people over there would try to make you ski - telling you that it is easy and you would learn in an hour. But dont fall for that. They would charge 200-300 rs/day for the ski and equipment. And you would say - thats great for 300 i can ski for the whole day.
But it is not possible to learn to ski in just 2-3 hours. You would need atleast 2 day practice to start skiing. And the ski equipment is very heavy. You would get tired in 1 hour max.
Return was ok. We felt we should have stayed for a day more. The driver drove at 60-70 kmph on the mountains and we were back in delhi at 2:30 in the morning.
Check out the pics at http://picasaweb.google.com/jayant7k/AuliJan08