Travel Story Book

Travel stories by a nature lover – stories about nature and life

Garhwal: Khirsu-Ukimath-Auli-Haridwar

December 2009

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Khirsu Ukimath Auli Haridwar Map Information 

Chopta and towards Joshimath

The next morning we were on our way to Joshimath, from where we planned to visit Auli. The initial plan was to stay at Auli. But accommodation in Auli was expensive and with the very little chances of snow, we decided to save some money by staying at Joshimath. The entire route from Ukimath till Chopta was breathtaking. With the entire mountain range standing mightily along the route, we had a journey worth remembering. The scenery was so tempting, that in between we made a brief stop at Makki Dhan to take pictures. The atmosphere was calm and quiet and with no other vehicles in sight, it was tempting to just sit there and sip some hot tea. However, our driver Mangal Singh promised more such breathtaking views ahead of us and we moved on.

Chopta, Garhwal Himalayas

Chopta, Garhwal Himalayas

Our next halt was at Chopta, the mini Switzerland of India. Normally at this time of the year, its supposed to be snow covered, but for the last 2 years, snow has been delayed. But all the shops were closed except a solitary tea and food stall in the main bazaar. The entire area was deserted baring two other parked vehicles and there drivers. The occupants of the car were on their way towards Tunganath. We dropped the idea of going to Tunganath as everybody was a bit tired after the trip to Deoriatal the day before. Also, the concrete paved walking road was to some extent repulsive to me and instead we settled down for some breakfast. Tables and chairs were laid down almost in the middle of the road as we gorged on alu paratahas and garam chai. The shop owner tried to make us comfortable in every possible way – from making extra large parathas, providing hot water to wash our hands and extra glasses of steaming tea. But let me not divert the topic to food and let me come back to Chopta. Chopta is beautiful – with the undulating mountain ranges, the snow clad peaks and the large open sloping valleys. No wonder it is known as mini Switzerland. We spent a good two hours at Chopta, walking around before proceeding towards Joshimath.
En route Joshimath, Garhwal

En route Joshimath, Garhwal

En route we stopped on the banks of Garuda Ganga at our drivers insistence. It is believed that if you collect the pebbles from this river and keep it in your room, snakes will never enter your room. Its not that we have snakes loitering around our houses in the cities, but we still respected his faith and collected some pebbles to carry back to our homes. By this time two things had happened once we crossed Chamoli. The roads had become wider and cars were moving at high speed. So less time to reach Joshimath. And the mountains had become barren and brown in color. As we moved on, they seemed bigger and bigger and seemed to look down upon us from the top.
Joshimath was a big market, the GMVN accommodation was bad – it was a mundane place without any characteristics of its own. It was a big contrast to the earlier places that we had been visiting. Later I realized that Joshimath was a major transit town to a number of destinations – Kedarnath, Hemkund Sahib and the Valley of Flowers. However we explored the eateries and the local shops before settling down for some momos and noodles in a shop. It was cold, really cold now and all our jackets and gloves were heaped on us. But the biggest disappointment for us was the cable car to Auli – it was under maintenance and not operational. It meant that we had to use the road to reach Auli, which was the last thing in our minds. At this point, the driver sensing business opportunity, asked for extra money to travel to Auli. Being at the receiving end, we agreed after some extent of bargaining.


Skiing at Auli, Garhwal

Skiing at Auli, Garhwal

The road till GMVN Auli was wonderfully maintained, but beyond that for some unknown reason, it was a nightmare. Is it trying to force Clifftop, the hotel at the topmost point of Auli, out of business? Just joking :-)
The first view of Auli was both awesome and disappointing!! Awesome, because of its height, nearness of the giant peaks, close view of the mighty Nandadevi, the barrenness all around. Disappointing, because of snow only on the higher slopes and a man made pool of water in the otherwise natural territory. It was almost a 30 minutes walk up the gentle slopes of Auli to the pine trees where there was some snow. By the time we walked past the non-functional cable car towers and cable car station and its adjacent coffee shop, several local ski-guides and trainers approached us for availing their services. Aheli was definitely skiing while I was not – the snow was too little. There was the usual haggling over the prices till it was finalized at Rs 300, way down from the initial quote of Rs 500. After that, the next one hour was pure fun. People were falling on the snow in their attempts of first-time skiing. My daughter was one of them, but she also enjoyed – her initial fear, gliding over the snow and falling flat on her back!! But after an hour and a half, we were freezing in the cold wind of the upper slopes and it was time for some hot hot coffee. A downhill walk to the lower part and very soon we were in the coffee shop sipping hot coffee, or tea of having steaming Maggi noddles.
Although I had planned to stay back till evening to catch the sunset in the backdrop of Nandadevi peak, it was dropped for two reasons. Other members of my group were not very enthusiastic about it and around three in the afternoon Nandadevi was enveloped in the white clouds. We returned to Joshimath around evening and spend the remaining hours exploring the market and the bus stand.


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Next Page >>> Haridwar

Khirsu Ukimath Auli Haridwar Map Information


  1. Deoria Tal | Travel Story Book said:

    [...] Tal was a part of my trip to Garhwal: Khirsu-Ukimath-Auli-Haridwar. But without a separate trip report for Deoria Tal, it would be sheer injustice to the beauty of [...]

    Posted on April 13th, 2010 at 4:26 pm

  2. kulwant singh said:

    this is very nice place.

    kulwant singh pundir
    Village Bhughani Pauri Garhwal

    Posted on July 8th, 2011 at 12:51 pm

  3. Deoriatal – Trekking | said:

    [...] practice is to stay at the nearest places of prominence – Ukimath or Chopta. [Refer to my post on Garhwal for staying options at Ukimath]. One can stay at any of these places and make a day trip to Deoria [...]

    Posted on December 13th, 2011 at 5:15 am

  4. Savana said:

    Nice artlcie… It’s a pretty much upcoming trend. The only bad thing I feel about this is that there is too much of chaos and too many choices. Someone should come up with something different and convenient. In that sense, deal space is a nice attempt…

    Posted on February 5th, 2012 at 8:03 am

  5. Volni said:

    Oh, so wonderful to hear from you again Tina. We are also etixed about your travel to Dharamsala. Since four years we have about five people from our base living there and they are running a cafe and working with children in a refugee camp.Who knows you will bump into them!!We do hope you are well and healthy, but it seems like it reading your blog. Your travel friend who traveled with you from the beginning is now with you again?Roel and Astrid and I are in a few hours travelling to Uppsala. We will be with Harald and Anna-Karin and the kids for the weekens. Astrid is still working so we will only go at three. Hopefully she is not too tired as she can also take part of the driving.Well dear niece, we are still praying daily for you!Have you stopped reading the Bible after you got scared by Deuteronomy? Why not read the gospel of John! God truly loves you soooo much!And me too.LoveRosalie

    Posted on October 23rd, 2012 at 9:05 am

  6. Reham said:

    I think it’s foolish to start so many hydel prceojt in the state and clearing the forest area for this thing,Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) are very right in their point.This whole thing will lead to considerable amount of forest loss, which is not right.Don’t destroy the ecosystem.Preserve nature for preserving humankind

    Posted on October 23rd, 2012 at 5:03 pm

  7. Cattye said:

    i am looking at the eforft that went into taking this picture.The long days of train, bus & foot journeys, the sleeping in local rooms, and what all not ..joshi n v u u resemble a spirit full of freedom .. and the pic .. brilliant composition.

    Posted on October 23rd, 2012 at 8:59 pm

  8. Cindy said:

    Da! Beautiful snap! I have always weatnd to visit Hridwar. Lucky guy! There was a beautiful documentary of the ganges in Discovery travel and living. Beautiful take macha!

    Posted on October 25th, 2012 at 5:10 am

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