My next rendezvous was Auli – probably the most popular skiing destination of India. I had to catch a bus from Rishikesh to Joshimath, and then take a cable car to Auli.
The most painful thing about travelling is journeys. You would like to be up there in your destination, enjoying your time but you will have to go through the trouble of reaching there. You have to willingly submit to be herded like a sheep into crampy tin boxes, where you are allotted 2 feet by 1 feet space and you are confined to it for several hours, surrendering yourself to claustrophobic moments and hoping that it is just a nightmare and you will soon wake up to the joys of your destination.
On the way to Auli, you have no choice but to take small buses, whose seats are cleverly designed to seat two persons where just one can sit comfortably. The leg room is probably sufficient for someone under 5 feet. The 12-hour journey is entirely on the mountain roads and is usually driven so badly that you keep holding on to some support all the time. Add to all that, the bus stops everywhere on request, and there seems to be no concept of designated bus stops. On many occasions we stopped at 20-meter intervals to pick up more passengers. And in the towns on the way, people would use the bus like a city service!
Admittedly, you have beautiful views out of the window. The road is built along the valley of Ganges all the way from Rishikesh to Joshimath. You can see many streams merging with the Ganga along the way, including the confluence of Mandakini and Alaknanda at Devprayag to form the Ganga. But after a couple of hours, the journey does feel monotonous and you will be looking forward to reaching Joshimath soon.
The bus driver said we should make it by 4pm. It was 7pm by the time we reached there. The cable car to Auli stops operating after 5pm, so I was stuck. I ended up staying in Joshimath for that night.
Also see more about Auli in paintedstork.com
Visit to Auli in 2005
* Images from Auli(plenty of snow)
* Trip report
Visit to Auli in 2006
* Images from Auli(little snow)
* A back-breaking journey: from Rishikesh to Auli
* First Day at Auli
* The days of Skiing
* Spending time in Auli
* Trekking and walking around
* About Auli