What is the best time to visit Auli? Actually anytime, except during the monsoons.
There are two reasons for visiting Auli. One is for the magnificient view of the high peaks of the inner Himalayas. If the weather is clear you get an astounding panoramic view of famous peaks such as Nanda Devi, Dronagiri, Ghoda Parvat, Haathi Parvet, Mana Peak, Kamet etc. If you trek higher up from Auli to the Gorson Bugyal and right up to the highest point, the Gorson Top, the view is even better. So if the monsoon clouds are going to block your view of these peaks, it is understandable that the whole point of going to Auli gets lost.
Nanda Devi peak as seen from Auli
In fact the best time for viewing and photography of the surrounding peaks from Auli is in September and October, immediately after the monsoons. By this time of the year the monsoon rains have cleaned up the atmosphere of haze and dust, thus giving us the ideal conditions for viewing of the distant peaks.
The other good reason for visiting Auli is for skiing. Auli and Gulmarg have the best skii slopes in India. In the case of Auli the best time for skiing is from mid-January till early March. You can just play around in the snow and get some good photographs, or if you are a serious enthusiast, you can opt for ski courses that can vary from 3 days to a fortnight. Ordinarily you can drive right up to Auli, but if the snow on the ground makes that difficult, the other option is to reach Auli by the cable-car, or Ropeway as the locals call it.
Badrinath and Kedarnath temples closing dates for 2018 announced
The Badrinath – Kedarnath Temple Committee has announced the winter closing dates for the main temples in Uttarakhand.
According to the announcement Badrinath temple will close on 19 November while the temples of Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri will close on 21 October. Therefore if you are planning a visit, please keep these dates in mind.
Considering the tourist traffic to the Garhwal Himalayas, and specially to the Char-Dham pilgrimage circuit, it is surprising how little information is available in the public domain about the various transportation options available to visitors. The Haridwar-Joshimath-Badrinath route is the most travelled route in this sector and we keep getting telephonic calls seeking advice on travelling on this route by public transport. Hence the idea for this blog-post.
Travelling by your own vehicle
If you are travelling by your own vehicle, all you need to do is be aware of road conditions, specially during the monsoons. Ordinarily one should be able to cover the distance from Delhi to Haridwar in about 5 hours, and the Haridwar to Joshimath trip in another 8 to 9 hours. The other precaution to be taken is to try to reach your destination by 8pm, because sometime the police do not allow traffic at night for safety reasons. This more so during the monsoons. Otherwise you are free to travel according to your own convenience.
Travelling by public transport
For the person planning to travel by public transport things are not so simple. A particular regime or time-table needs to be followed to reach Joshimath conveniently, as we shall explain below.
First and foremost, it must be kept in mind that almost all the public transport vehicles for Joshimath leave between 5am to 6am from Haridwar, Rishikesh and Dehradun. This is true for both buses and shared taxis. Thus all your planning must be focused on ensuring that you are in place at the correct bus station to catch these early morning buses and taxis.
So, the best way is to arrive in Haridwar early morning by 5 am. This is possible by rail as well as by some of the regular night-bus services from Delhi. Schedules are available on the internet.
Where to find the public transport
Very near to the Haridwar railway station is the Rishikul Chowk from where the buses and shared taxis for Joshimath and Badrinath usually depart. There is the “Vishwanath” bus service which operates from there. Shared taxis also operate from here.
If you are in Rishikesh, there are the Uttarakhand transport Corporation buses which leave for Joshimath from the main bus station at 6.10 and 6.30am. Shared taxis will also be available here.