Happiness is our timeless goal.Since we have notion that anything pleasant or pleasurable to our senses would lead to happiness, our mind craves for such experiences. This craving for happiness drove me and my colleagues in the nature's lap to experience the lush green paddy fields, tall and slender pine deodar trees, which add to the serene and spiritual beauty of Auli.
Auli is situated in the heart of young fold Himalyan range which are only 10,000 years old and still 'growing' vertically.
Our journey began from Nizamuddin Rly station on 24th Jan when the clock struck 12 midnight. 14 ppl including me boarded the Dehradun Spl train which was going to be our return train as well. Early morning in the Brahm Kal we landed in the holy city of Haridwar and treated ourselves with hot cup of tea. Haridwar literally means 'The gateway to Hari' .
We continued our journey from Haridwar to Joshimath which would be our base camp. The journey from Haridwar to Joshimath was full of natural beauty with the river Alkhnanda flowing between the himalyan stalwarts, as though washing their feets. The river so pure and pious, I have never seen. The road carved from mountains were so narrow at some points that you can't believe your bus can pass through. The valley's were deep and bridges breathtaking.We reached Joshimath safely.
Next day we headed to Skier's Paradise, Auli. Auli is 14 kms from Joshimath by road but vertically it is 3000 meter above sea level and 1000 meter from Joshimath. The ropeway service from Joshimath to Auli is longest in Asia, stretching to a length of 4.15 Km supported by 10 cable posts. But before we started our journey it was cut short as cable cars' will be operating for only half day that day. But it did not deter us from reaching our destination and enjoying.
After getting down from the car we had trek for almost 2kms on the steep and slippery slope with our ski gear. This is was quite exhaustive but one glimpse of snow and thought of skiing was enough to forget it. We all wore our ski gear and given instructions about skiing. Ironically the first instruction was not how to ski successfully but how to fall without hurting self or others. We practiced skiing but half day was not enough and we decided to come back again the very next day. In the evening after we returned from Auli we went to see Hot water sulphur spring. The water was boiling and we were told that one could boil eggs. The water was so hot that it could peel of our skin, but the ladies who accompanied us were so determined to have the sulphur rich mud surrounding the spring that they risked themselves. The mud is supposed to be good for hairs and skin. The night at the hotel were equally eventful with events like leg-pulling and professional card playing as in casino.
The next day our enthusiasm for skiing was more than the first day. We took the second slot from Joshimath at 0950 hrs for Auli and we reached our ski spot at 1100 hrs with our ski gears. Today the sun was shining more brilliantly than the previous day and the ice capped peaks were shining like gold plated mountains. We started our ski lessons were we had left the previous day. We had more time to ski and learn how to accelerate, retard, control our direction etc. Personally I fell more the second day than the first day. No one was hurt seriously on either of the day while skiing but we were wet thouroughly. After 3 hrs of tireless skiing we let ourselves loose and went further above from ski spot, so we could have a panoramic view of the surrounding.We enjoyed our snow games.We captured the images of the picturesque snow-laden mountains. We descended by rolling down the slope. The evening was spent eating hot pakoras of aalo, pyaaz, gobi and bread with hot tea. The night was more eventful than the previous one with anecdotes and horror stories with usual leg-pulling activity.
Next morning we started our return journey back from Joshimath to Haridwar. After travelling for just one hour our bus broke down while we were still asleep and dreaming. Nevertheless we managed to reach Haridwar but we had missed the evening aarti of the holy Ganges at Har ki Pauri. We took dip in the holy river and sat at the bank with our legs immersed in water. The sound of the river flowing and hitting the banks was so soothing that it appeared to be like music to our ears. This was an all together a different experience.
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We had a nice supper and boarded our train. We reached safely and parted ways to our homes. The jouney had come to an end but the experience will never fade. The terrace farming lands,the green vegetation,the spiky pine tree leaves and the calm river flowing in the valley was all so enchanting that we had begun to feel a new aliveness, a new beauty within ourselves, a new intelligence which is not borrowed from anybody and which is still growing within.