Merry Christmas to all readers and here we are with some not so good tidings with this post. As you all are aware, the Joshimath-Auli ropeway, or cable-car is the only way to visit the ski slopes of Auli if snow and ice makes it impossible to travel to Auli by car in the winter months. Even otherwise, a ride on the ropeway to Auli is an experience which most visitors to Joshimath would not like to pass by.
Now the fact is that each ride of the ropeway accommodates between 20 to 25 passengers and the ride itself takes some 30 minutes. With this limitation, the ropeway system is able to ferry some 350 passengers each day.
The problem is that the actual number of visitors wanting to take a ride on this ropeway is much more than the capacity of the ropeway system. During the peak seasons in summer and winter there can be more than a thousand persons trying to get tickets for this ride every day. In summer this is not a problem because it is always possible to just drive to Auli if one is unable to secure a ticket. However, in winters this becomes a real problem if the road to Auli is blocked by snow, as it is these days.
For the past several days there has been a big rush for tickets on the ropeway. People have had to wait for hours in the queue in the cold to secure a ticket, and even then the latecomers have had to return disappointed. We have tried to help out the guests at our hotel by sending our boys to stand in the queue very early in the morning to get tickets for our guests. Even then, sometimes they have come back empty handed. The situation has become a kind of arms race because other hotels also adopted this method for their guests and now everyone has started standing in the queue earlier and earlier.
This situation is expected to continue another week till the Christmas – New Year tourist rush is over. Tourists who are unable to wait another day for the ropeway ride to Auli are able to tale local taxis to Auli these days because the road has been cleared to some extent and local taxis are being allowed to drive till Auli. However, out-station vehicles are not being allowed to drive to Auli. Thankfully the weather prediction does not expect fresh snowfall till 2nd January, so this option to drive to Auli should be available till this seasonal rush is over.
Our advice to prospective visitors is that if possible, you should schedule your visit to Joshimath and Auli sometime after 10 January 2020, by which time the main tourist rush would be over. The snow cover in Auli is expected to last till end February and so there is plenty of time to enjoy your visit at a more leisurely pace.
You may also like read this earlier post on the best time to visit Auli.