I believe ‘when the mountains beckon, just leave everything and go’.
It was time for our annual family holiday and there were a host of destinations that crossed our minds. Over dinner, my daughter, Vedo, suggested: “Let’s go to a hill station in the north”. While I didn’t mind the idea, I wasn’t too keen to explore the tourist-swarmed hill stations. That’s when Manjo, suggested ‘Auli’. One of his friend had been there recently and had mentioned that Auli was breath-taking.
For those unaware, Auli is one of the lesser-explored hill stations in India. Standing at an elevated height of 2500 meters above sea level, the hill station offers panoramic views of snow-clad mountains that will arouse the senses of a nature enthusiast, adventure-seeker and travel buff alike.
Here’s how our trip looked like!
Escaping the Mumbai heat, we landed into Dehradun which was 15 degrees Celsius. Strong winds blew our face which made us feel absolutely refreshed. After grabbing a quick bite at a dhaba, we decided to kill some time and explore this scenic town. I was keen to check out the Baggit store in Pacific Mall. It was heart-warming to see the tourists shop at our outlet.
Few hours later, we were on the road to paradise (Auli). The drive was beautiful and serene and as we ascended the ghats, the winds started getting cooler. In the words of Alexander McQueen, ‘There is no better designer than nature’. The sight of the breath-taking hills dotted with pine trees and apple orchards, snow-capped mountains and little road-side stalls made me so content.
After an arduous journey, we finally reached Auli which was -1 degree. We checked into Mountain Rover Hotel, put on our winter coats, had a simple meal and retired for the day.
Learning: Road trips helps us realize the beauty of nature. Remembering the words of Guruji, there is nowhere to reach, no rush, just enjoy the road trip!
Our stay at Mountain Rover was nothing short of beautiful. I woke up to the sound of birds chirping, uninterrupted views of the Himalayan peaks and fog-engulfed mountains. I sat in my balcony staring at the many hats Mother Nature wears. Everything around was literally a sight to sore eyes. Escaping the everyday city life, this was the blissful solitude I needed. We spent the day getting in tune with the weather, eating mouth-watering ‘pahadi’ food and gearing up for our first skiing expedition.
Learning: Trying to learn skiing & falling off for various reasons! And seeing them all as different fears that I have in my mind!
Aptly christened ‘The Skier’s Paradise’, the glittering ski slopes of Auli literally promise ‘love at first sight’. Skiing against the strong gush of winds is every thrill-seeker’s dream come true. Though it may look easy, there’s a lot of technicality that goes into it. Before starting, it’s important to listen to the instructions given by the local ski operator.
Within a short while, Manjo and Vedo were skiing. It was exciting to see Manjo and Vedo do so well at skiing and I’m glad that my camera captured those memories.
Learning: While skiing, I realised that nothing in life comes easy. To get anywhere, you need immense hard work and determination.
To be contd……….