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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Where to eat at Auli - 4

Because of Auli's proximity to the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, building and development is thankfully restricted to the GMVN complex and Cliff Top Club Resort. With no dosa / paratha / chowmein dhabas littering the slopes, be content with the fare at the two hotels. There are no bars in the vicinity so if you fancy a hot rum by the nonfire in the evening, carry your own bottle - with some discretion lest you offend the religious sensibilities of the many yatris around.

Around Auli:

Rudraprayag:

Jim Corbett may have put Rudraprayag's name on the world map for man-eating leopards, but it's difficult to imagine anything wilder than a tabby cat prowling around in the thin scrub covering the surrounding hills. What is of breathtaking magnificence though is the swirling confluence of the Alanknanda and Mandakini rivers, around which the town has grown.

A must-visit is the Koteshwar Mahadev Temple on the banks of the Alaknanda. Less temple than cave and adorned by ferns and moss, the devout can observe hundreds of spontaneously generated Shivlings cared out of rock by the patient dripping of water. It is a charming spot even for non-believers. Equally charming are the Rudranathji and Chamunda Devi mandirs, overlooking the confluence of the two rivers just across the bridge at Rudraprayag. Shri Rudranathji is famed to be the meditation place of the great mediator and troublemaker Narad Muni. Just below, the goddess watches over the union of the rivers from her modest temple. She is taken care of by a delightful old mataji - Prem Giri, of the Juna Akhara - who, if she is in the mood, can prove to be a veritable library of myth and folkore.

Rudraprayag is a food place to break your journey if you are driving up from Delhi, as it will limit the next day's driving to Auli to just 4 1/2 hours. Just off the Joshimath Road, 3 km after Rudraprayag Hotel Monal Resort (Tel. : 01364-233901-05; Tariff: Rs. 1,600 - 4, 000) is a new, large and pleasant hotel. Probably the best of its kind along the entire rishikesh-Auli NH58 route, it offers a children's playground, machan, and a restaurant.

The GMVN Resort (Tel.: 233347; Tariff: Rs. 110-1,100) is, at best, quite disappointing. A pity, since Uttaranchal is trying hard to attract tourists.

Getting at Auli:

Rail: Nearest railhead: Haridwar (320 km/ 7 hrs). Hire a Sumo (Rs. 250-350) from Haridwar. Bargain hard for Rs. 250.

Road: Auli is just 16 km off NH58 that connects Delhi to Badrinath. The highway is good, but it's a long drive. Break journey at Rudraprayag on the way up and at Rishikesh on the way down.

Time to Visit at Auli:

It is best between December and March when Auli is carpeted with snow, even if winter sees below zero temperatures.

Tourist Offices:

01. GMVN Skiing & Tourist Resort, Auli, Tel.: 01389-223208, 223305
02. GMVN, 102, Indraprakash Building, 21, Barakhamba Road, New Delhi, Tel.: 011-23350481; Fax: 23327713

Related Links :

01. Museums and Art Gallaries of India : A Survey - 1
02. Museums of Jammu and Kashmir : Sri Pratap Singh Museum Srinagar - 2
03. Art Gallery Jammu :Dogra Art Gallery - 3
04. Himachal Pradesh : The Library of Tibetan Works and Archives Dharmshala - 4
05. Himachal Pradesh : Bhuri Singh Museum, Shimla - 5
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07. The Nicholas Roerich Gallery, Shimla - 7
08. Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Summerhil, Shimla - 8
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