Auli just happened!
It was not in the itinerary at all. Interaction with the locals, taxi drivers, acclimatizing to sudden temperature differences, change in food, bedding etc began to take its toll in the form of stress and fatigue as the trip to Shri Badrinath began to roll out. So to beat the mental fatigue, it was decided by me that I and my spouse will go to Auli, just 18kms away from Joshimath for a break. In fact, I wanted him to take the ropeway from Joshimath to Auli as I had done three years back to enjoy the diverse and new type of experience. Though it was shut down due to maintenance work, it was a blessing in disguise because this unforgettable experience came as a boon to both of us.
In fact, Auli was far, far more enriching and inspirational than I had imagined because when I went to Auli by road on 10th May morning instead of the rope way, I got to see God’s nature without any hindrances. I saw everything through my eyes and fingers and not through the glass doors of the rope way as before. Never have I soaked in nature so passionately with all my senses in full usage, nor have I tried to deposit each breath taking moment so avidly in my memory before!!
Auli is a perfect heaven for tourists, for skiing and of course for resting; complete resting and rejuvenation of our mind. Just after 20 minutes or so after we left, my eyes were dancing with joy when we began our journey because of such breath taking scenic beauties in the white mountains with the blue sky and white fluffy clouds floating as the background. The soft blue colour of sky was reflecting on the white snow covered mountains making them look so innocent and pure because of the cloud’s blue tint over them. Oh! What calming effects on my senses and mind.
The belt of 3 to 4 kilometres of green forest with thick foliage of Deodar, Oaks, Pine, Conifers and so many other varieties took me to Paradise. There was a sudden spurt of energy in my brain because of so much oxygen in the atmosphere and the moment we left the main city Joshimath, the singing and twittering of hordes of birds all along made my heart flutter and hop with seamless joy. Neither have I heard so many birds singing nor ever heard their joyous singing for such prolonged period. Their chorus amidst silence of the forest was a sweet symphony to my soul and as I passed through the forest, I wished that it should never stop….
Going upwards to Auli
We reach Auli amidst vast green meadows, gentle tall trees and cold, indomitable snowy mountains
We return back
While returning my heart soared with ecstasy when our driver, who was a quiet man found a baby maple tree. Sensing my love for nature, he stopped the taxi to show me Chinar or Maple leaves and young trees. I tried extremely hard to recall if I had ever seen this beautiful, nascent, shiny leaf apart from seeing them on the internet and in glossy books. All I could remember was that maybe I have seen them as dried, fallen dusty leaves in Kashmir when I went there at the age of 11 or 12; it is quite forgotten. Such was its magical effect by its touch on my palm that I wanted to bring them home, grow them near my home and make them mine!
The forest area comes mid -way, before we actually reach the skiing or car rope way. Except for a foreigner couple who was walking down, there was nobody. I got my answer-as people were not living around this place, the trees managed to survive and grow into adults. The driver told me, who belonged from nearby Chamoli that he has seen Chinar after so many years. They don’t get to see them anymore…..
I saw the kind gesture of my Guru Shri Babaji who hinted silently not to miss Auli the previous evening. I truly felt blessed and invoked God throughout out of gratitude because I got to see virgin forest and nature in noiseless state and compacted with only beauty, silence and joy gifted by God without denomination which is unknown to us !! My soul found so much peace in the still atmosphere and my mind became very tranquil all of a sudden. All the way, I was connected to God through stillness, harmony, peace and serenity….
As a token of thanksgiving, a pink rose from Auli hills for you my benevolent Shri Mahavatar Babaji….thank you for everything that you do for me.