Thursday, June 16, 2011

Auli - Land of peaks, forest and flowers

It was a clear day with sun rays warming our bodies that have gone numb due to the chill in the air. High snow clad peaks of Nanda Devi, Chaukhamba, Panch Chuli, Mana and Kamet bordered with Golden oak and deodar kissing the deep blue sky above, welcomed us to Auli.
After basking for a while on a natural green carpet, we started walking around.

High snow clad peaks bordered with Golden oak and deodar
kissing the deep blue sky above, welcomed us to Auli

Basking on a natural green carpet

An encounter with locals
Met Kunti devi, Lalita and Kuldeep on the way. Kunti, who lives in a nearby village, was going to deliver milk to families at Government quarters.  Far on the top we could see a potato farm that Kuldeep told us he is coming from.

Locals busy in daily chores

Not-at-all-camera-shy locals were all in for pictures

After spending some time talking to them we headed towards the ski resort of GMVN (Garhwal mandal).                

Golden Oak and Pine Forest
The resort looked like a labyrinth of stairs. On climbing to the top we discovered a car chair lift to the point where skiing is done in winters. There was an artificial lake constructed by GMVN to prepare snow for Skiing that Kuldeep had mentioned excitedly and told us not to miss. But for us city dwellers who live in artificiality day in and day out, it was not the attraction. We wanted go up and up and lose ourselves in the serene nature. So we decided to trek to the Golden Oak forest.
We trekked up further to reach the golden oak forest
Encircled by the snow-laden Himalayan peaks is a dense forest of Pine and golden oak, so serene and noiseless that you can hear the sound of rustling leaves under your feet. The unique thing about the forest was the carpet of purple lilies, the Sagebrush Buttercup and white daisies.

A glimpse of Nanda Devi National Park

After spending good two to three hours in the forest we had to return to GMVN as it started raining. Weather had changed its flavor, the sun has been engulfed by dark clouds and the sweet sun shine day had been turned into a harsh chilled breezy day. 
The water drops wetting us and cool breeze teasing by blowing even faster after the shower. Never before has rain felt so good.
Wet body, aching limbs and satisfied heart is what we came back with. After doing some photography here and there and teasing friends about the kind of place we are at, we drifted into the world of dreams.

Magical Sunrise
We woke up to a fresh morning and trekked towards a small temple on the top of one of the hills. It was still dark outside and not even a single soul was to be seen. We witnessed the first rays of the sun falling on majestic Himalayas.
Golden rays falling on snow laden mountain peaks

After sunrise at around 6.00am, some activity started. Few more wandering souls came out with their cameras, and some believers were out to offer their prayers and there was a lot of activity around the Indo Tibetan army base.

We came back with serenity of solitary forests, strength of Majestic Himalayas and simplicity of smiling locals.

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