RENDEZVOUS WITH FIRST SNOWFALL IN AULI – CHRISTMAS SURPRISE
“Please, make it happen. Are we so unlucky to be witnessing Auli without a hint of snowfall?” – Infinite times did I grumble the same to my new found friends. Cursing, grumpily I stepped outside my hotel room in Joshimath, staring at the nearby tea stall, exchanged glanced with the towering Himalayan range in front of me, praying to spread the sheet of white.
It was 25th December, with itchy feet & mountain smitten mind, Auli was the perfect destination to feel the joy of the season. For a place popular for skiing, it was barren & clumsy, with no hints of snowfall. It was a long wait of months before embarking on the journey to experience snow – I was hopeful, of snow & joy. The next day had its itinerary planned for a 4 day trek to Kuari Pass and all I had was 25th December, to explore Auli having reached Joshimath a day earlier.
Now, unlike previous years, snowfall wasn’t happy to shower the town with white flakes at earliest. It wasn’t until afternoon of Christmas, snowfall flashed down on whim and stirred a whirlpool of rejoice in us. I had my share of rendezvous with snowfall after nearly 15 years, Rohtang Pass gladly happened during my school. The feel of fresh snow made my heart skip a zillion times, I was hypnotised by the mellow feel of snow on my skin, my senses awakened by the honesty of moment.
SPENDING CHRISTMAS IN AULI
Auli, nestled in the charming state of Uttarakhand is the ski paradise, untouched by the urban hustle bustle. Auli was initially not my Christmas plan, but I am glad it happened. A cancelled trek to Har Ki Dun opened my doorway to Kuari Pass trek, Joshimath being the base camp – that’s how, I planned my way to Auli, meeting some amazing friends who happened to be also my trek mates. We – let me introduce the nomads – Arijit, Pankaj, Minesh and Varad – started our journey from Haridwar, drooling in with beauty until we reached Joshimath, after dusk.
(I HAVE WRITTEN A COMPLETE BLOG ABOUT MY JOURNEY TO JOSHIMATH – HOW TO TRAVEL, COST INCLUDED, IDYLLIC ROAD TRIP AND ACCOMMODATION PRICING).
Read the blog on journey – JOURNEY TO DEVBHOOMI – HARIDWAR TO JOSHIMATH
Auli is a gorgeous landscape surrounded by the colossal Himalayas, with nip in the air & avalanche of natural bounty, the feeling of awe never escaped. I was in the zone of boundless euphoria staring at the snow capped peaks from such amicable distance. Although Joshimath barely gave us any hope of snow but I did not renounce my hope.
TRAVELLING TO AULI FROM JOSHIMATH
The best and most convenient way of exploring wilderness of Auli is via cable car from Joshimath. The cable car journey is an epic one – You definitely should not miss staring the sprinkled snow on rooftops and pine trees while the cable car slowly moves up to Auli. The to and fro journey standard rates is Rs 750/- with the last cable car leaving from Auli to Joshimath at 4.30pm.
The distance from Joshimath to Auli is around 40kms and it can be covered by road as well. The motorable road however ends at one point; you need to climb for few minutes to reach Auli crossing the artificial Auli lake.
“MERRY CHRISTMAS” – THE SURPRISE WE HAD BEEN LONGING FOR 🙂 🙂
It was 1.15 pm, no snow still but the weather did break loose, as we felt rain droplets tickling our skin. I did not scale up my hopes, not at all getting ambitious but heart silently prayed for glimpse of snow. As we climbed in the cable car and slowly made an ascent, leaving behind houses & roads in Joshimath, we got closer to pine trees. The cable car was packed with people – young couples, recent graduates & then it was us – the synchronised hoot was the happiest cry I ever heard. Yes, as we moved up the first flush of fresh snow slapped the window panes of the cable car, on our face and the cold was tempting. 🙂 🙂
I still could not believe the sorcery that just happened – Witnessing & Experiencing the first snowfall of the season in Auli. All the grumbles went into lyrical mode with the snow fall embracing the land in its smooth, silky white blanket. The snow, gently mushroom the barren lands, trees & fallen barks, Auli welcomed us to the beautiful escapade we longed to see.
As we stepped out of our cable car, the cold breeze gently brushed us but it was a delight. The snow unfurled like carpet and it was an incredible moment to satiate my wanderlust desires. Stepping out into open, hands froze beneath gloves but the sumptuous taste and feel of hot soup and Maggie was magical saviour. It took near about 3 cups of tea to get some heat inside my body. The cold however, could not stop me from exploring the place.
Auli has the skiing grounds which wasn’t apt for skiing at the time I was there due to no snowfall in the previous days. I don’t have much detail about the skiing part but information is readily available on internet. Auli opens into beautiful snow laden meadows with pine trees – mammoth of gorgeous landscapes to explored as you walk far & beyond. Just when you think – “I am not going any further”, the landscapes changes its spectacle & you are lured to walk into its sheer embracement, farthest you can. 🙂 🙂
I learnt one thing that day for sure – “Life unfolds its ripest fruits only when you believe in magic & sorcery. Magic lies in little moments, treasuring people you are cherishing the moments with & keeping little space for surprises & whims.” 🙂 🙂 It was a complete surprise to be seeing the first snowfall in Auli, like it had been waiting forever for us to show its first glimpses, it was an exhilarating moment to be standing under the open skies amidst the raw feeling of snowfall. It was the perfect Christmas – spending in the lap of Himalayas, experience first snowfall, meeting some amazing insane people & hours of laughing it out, the voice might still be lurking in the woods of Auli. 🙂 🙂