Namaskar Friends! Welcome to Visa2explore! This is your host, Harish Bali! We are in Auli right now. The weather is cold. We are wearing sweaters here. In Joshimath, the weather was not like this. For your information, travellers come to Auli in winters for skiing. Look at the magnificent scenic views! The snow-covered mountain peak that you can see in the distance is the Nanda Devi peak. Though, we are not able to see till quite far because the weather is not clear enough. We reached Auli about an hour ago. In the past one hour, we checked out a few accommodations for our stay tonight. We also checked the guest house of Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam. There, the accommodation facility was unavailable for today itself. It was full. In some Guest Houses, though accommodation was available, they didn’t have Garhwali food available. Our agenda is to find an accommodation facility where we can also get to eat Garhwali food for dinner. I think it will take us 30-45 minutes more…. …to explore a few more options. After that we will finalize our today’s dinner as well as a place to stay. We’ve come to a place right below the ITBP Camp in Auli. We’ve finalized a homestay for ourselves here. It is 5.15 in the evening right now. This gentleman lives in a house nearby. In a village nearby. And this young man is the cook of this homestay. I mean chef! We’ve been brainstorming for the past 30 minutes about what should be eaten for dinner. Because we’ve already eaten a lot of local dishes in the past fortnight or so. So here is what we’ve finalized after a lot of discussion. One is Gahat (horse gram) soup. Second is Kandali ka saag (local green vegetable). Sir will cook the Kandali ka saag at his home while this boy will cook the soup. And Bhatt Ki Churdkani. So, we will have these 3-4 dishes for dinner! And if we start cooking in another 30 minutes, we can have our dinner by 7 or 7.30 pm. Okay then! In another 30 or 60 minutes, we will see how they are going to cook our meal. After that, we will try to go to bed early tonight. This leafy vegetable is of multiple varieties and what they eat is a lighter variety. Don’t you need scissors of anything to pluck the leaves? Yes we do, but what to do, right now, I have to do it with hands. I happened to touch one of these plants a few days back and for many hours, I had to suffer the pain. That must be another variety, the harsh one, this one is milder. Alright1 It is a milder variety. It prickles, though, but not that harshly. Is it usually eaten during summers or winters? It is usually consumed during March-April. Alright! During May and June, this plant starts growing flowers like these. And its leaves are tender to eat. The Bichchu Ghaas (Stinging Nettle) is being boiled to make Kandali Ka Saag. The further process will be understood later on. After the ghaas is boiled, the water is drained from it. For tempering, jeera (cumin), salt and pepper is added to the ghaas and Kandali ki sabzi is ready. To cook Bhatt ki Churdkani,… … chopped onions are roasted in ghee in a pan. Once the onion turned brown…. ….he added wheat flour to it. As the flour is roasted along with onions in the pan, it emanates a sweet fragrance, coming from Choru. The fragrance is also party due to the roasted flour but I will show you what choru is when we eat our meal. This flour will be roasted for another 20-25 minutes on low flame but the fragrance here is amazing. You can see Kala Bhatt (black soybean) here. This has been soaked in water for about 2 hours. This softened soybean will be used to make Bhatt ki Churdkani now. After the flour is roasted enough, he added about 6-7 glasses of water to it. Now, a mistake has been committed. He had to use the water drained from soaked Bhatt in it. But he had thrown away that water by mistake. That is why, he had to add plain water to it now. Therefore, this dish may not have the actual authentic taste now. The Kala Bhatt, soaked in water, has not been added to the flour. Now, this dish will be cooked for another 30-45 minutes. Also, he is continuously adding water to it at regular intervals. That way, it will be cooked easily. Sir, while cooking Churdkani, you added one piece of this Choru! But can we add more of these since it has such a good flavor? No, you should not use more than is necessary. You must use it strictly as prescribed in the recipe. If you add more than recommended, the dish will turn bitter in taste. Alright! After the Churdkani cooked for another 15 minutes, he added salt and chili powder. They are also cooking sweet, red rice for me. Gur (jaggery) is melted. This is the red rice variety, which will be used to cook the sweet rice dish. To cook Chol Roti…. ….Kuttu (buckwheat) flour and water is mixed to make a runny batter. Separately, oil is heated over a griddle (tawa). And a ladle-full of that batter is put on the tawa. Till the rest of the meal is served, let us taste this Gahat soup, which is in front of us. It has dal inside and soup on the top. I am really liking the simplicity of this soup. It has salt and crushed ginger-garlic in it. So, it is beautifully simple and I’ve already told you about its health benefits. It can be called a ‘Power Soup.’ Drinking it gives you energy. Red rice with jaggeery! Bhatt ki Churdkani! Kandali ki sabzi! With that, the Kuttu roti is ready too! Now I am going to start eating it. You must understand that I am gaining new food experiences in this trip. If you eat any green leafy vegetable absolutely fresh…. …it would feel this fresh to eat. Second thing – this Kandali ki sabzi has a very juicy taste. Very tasty! If you are in this region, you will get to eat this dish everywhere. But only in the households, not on roadside eateries or restaurants. The reason being that restaurants in this region rarely serve Garhwali food. The colour or texture of the Bhatt ki Churdkani is similar to that of aate ka halwa or wheat pudding. In between the wheaty texture you can see the Bhatt. Bhatt is soybean! While cooking this dish, if the water in which the Bhatt was soaked, had been added to it,…. …instead of plain water, the colour of this dish would have been different. That is what he told me. The soybean water was drained away by mistake. While eating it, I feel that the Bhatt is slightly undercooked. That may be because it was soaked only for two hours and needed to soaked for more time. Second thing, since I’ve had a couple of bites of it,… …even the wheat flour hasn’t been roasted properly. The flour needed to be roasted a little longer. However, as a concept, I think this recipe is quite interesting. I will have to eat it a couple more times in order to understand this dish better. By the way, I love gur and rice cooked together. I don’t let go of a chance to eat this dish. The specialty of this dish is that red rice has been used to cook it. And red rice tastes totally different from the normal rice variety that we eat. The time just flew. It is 9.30 pm now. I’ve inquired about the temperature here right now. It is two degrees Celsius. The temperature here is 3-4 degrees lesser than that in Joshimath. If it is 2 degrees here, it must be…. ….about 5 degrees Celsius in Joshimath. Now let me finish this meal. After that we will eat jaggery rice at leisure. And our day will end after that. Last night, we stayed at a homestay near ITBP Camp in Auli. On double occupancy basis, we paid a tariff of Rs. 2500. If you are interested in trekking…. ….there are a lot of trekking routes originating from Auli. You will get that information in the description of this video. It is 8.30 in the morning. The sun is shining bright. We are going out for some local sightseeing. We will be spending first half of our day in Auli. From Joshimath, we came to Auli in a taxi. There was another option, that of the trolley, in which we could have travelled from Joshimath to Auli. Right now, we are standing near the Garhwal Mandal Guest House. From here, it will cost us Rs. 500 per person for a round journey to Joshimath. So, we will go one kilometer in chairlift. After that we will enjoy the sightseeing there. Look at the exclusive view from the chairlift. Wow! This is a 6 minute long journey from the Gharwal Mandal Guest House. One and a half kilometers, 6 minutes, Rs 500 ticket per person! If you take this chairlift from Joshimath, it will cost you Rs. 1000 for a round trip. Very awesome! And if you want to go by foot, there you can see the path you can take. If you take this chairlift from Joshimath, it will take you a further half a kilometer up this way. The tower that you can see on my right hand side, you will crossing from this tower like this…. …and there, in the distance, will be your destination. Our one and a half kilometer chairlift journey is about to end now. Very enjoyable! After getting down from the chairlift, we have hired a guide for our further journey. We have with us Mr. Bhatt. He is a resident of Auli. We have already walked for half an hour an for another half an hour, we’ve been sitting here. We are seated here, enjoying this beautiful view of Mother Nature. We just saw a trolley passing over our heads, carrying, what, 25 persons. And the trolley is back too! With that, let me also tell you that the weather is cold right now. And it is a pleasant experience to enjoy the sunshine sitting here. Near Auli Top Tower No. 10, there is a small restaurant. Sitting outside, you can have a meal while enjoying the scenic view too. Further from here, there is a forest area, to enter which you need to purchase a ticket for Rs. 20 per person. We’ve bought the ticket. We are going into the forest area now. We’ve conveyed to the restaurant manager that on our return, we would like to eat some Garhwali food. This jungle contains Golden Oak trees mostly. The wood from these trees is mostly used to make furniture items. Alright! Down the mountain, there are trees from another species of oak. The wood from those trees is mostly burned for fuel. Alright! Well, inside the jungle, one can feel the absolute purity and freshness in the air. Very nice! Which is the peak season to come to Auli, when the most number of tourists come here? From December 25 to February 25. Okay! That means advance booking is a must? Yes Sir! Okay! Important information! Is that a temple there? Yes, that is a temple! Alright! Padiyar devta! Right now, we are sitting in the base camp of Gulshan Baghiyal trek. This base camp has a circumference of about 5kms. Wow! This place is so beautiful! It is heaven! Though we’ve been sitting here for the past 30 minutes, but we don’t want to get up from here. Cool breeze is blowing about! I am feeling cold despite wearing a sweater. It is almost 12.15 in the afternoon. The sun is shining bright! Very awesome! Look at these small flowers, so beautiful looking! Brother, what is this small, yellow-coloured flower’s name? It is the flower of Istaberry! Okay! And this white one? The white one is Primanodenticular. Alright! Really magnificent! We will be going right upto that mountain top? Yes Sir! Right now, we are enjoying a very exclusive view. Along with being exclusive, the view is unique too! Just check the distance into which this Bugyal is spread. Grassland! Mountains! When it snows upto 8 or 10 feet here, this whole area turns white in colour. I am talking about the months of December, January and February. If you come to Joshimath, you must visit Auli too! And if you come to Auli, you must visit Gulshan Bugyal too! You can also trek further four kilometers from here, right upto that snow-peak but…. …to reach there, you will need to trek for another 2.5 to 3 hours. You can spend a couple of hours there and come back by the evening. Since we are short on time today, so we are not going further. But this is a must-visit place! You will enjoy it. Brother, you’ve made us Chainsoo, Aloo Thechwani and Mandua roti! So, please serve us our meal. Once you come here, you can enjoy Pahadi food in this canteen. Here I’ve understood that to cook Chainsoo, first of all urad dal is grounded into a coarse powder form. This powder is tempered in a pan. After a while, water is added and Chainsoo is ready to eat. This is the basic recipe. The second dish that you see in front of you is Aloo (potato) ki Thechwani. This dish also has a very unique recipe behind it. Raw, unpeeled potatoes are crushed like this. Obviously, the potatoes are transformed into little pieces. The potatoes are added to a tempering in a pan, water is added to them. And Aloo ki Thechwani is ready! Mandua ki roti you can see right there. We’ve been eating for quite some days now. I say this repeatedly, this roti is a power meal in itself. Mandua ki roti contains a lot of energy in it. Mandua is also known as ‘Ragi’ or ‘Naachni.’ Ohh wow! Really magnificent! By now, I am aware that a good Mandua roti must be soft too. I saw Chainsoo being cooked. In its tempering, they used Jeera (cumin). Actually, they should have used Jakhia (Mountain cumin) in place of Jeera, to lend a Pahadi taste. The person cooking it also told me that if this dish is made in ghee (clarified butter)…. ….it would taste even better but since ghee is finished, they had to cook it in mustard oil. While watching Chainsoo being cooked, I was trying to assume what it would taste like. To cook dal in powdered form like this. Trust me, it doesn’t feel like I am eating dal from any angle because…. ….the dal has been turned into powdered form but…. …it has a very different taste! No comparison with anything else. It is difficult to compare Chainsoo’s taste with any other dish. Though, I have to admit, it is a tasty dish. It is also delicious to eat! It makes for a great combination with Mandua ki roti! In the Thechwani, the main flavor is that of the potato skin. Usually we remove the skin while cooking potatoes. Once the potatoes are crushed, they acquire an uneven shape. Then the potatoes are cooked in a tempering for about 15-20 minutes. This results into a very beautiful tasting dish. So, these two dishes, in a way, are new experiences for me. A few days ago, I ate Aloo ki Thechwani at a place. But not this Chainsoo and now I’ve become a huge fan of this dish. Although, I can also see that instead of white butter, they’ve used Amul butter. But still I feel, they’ve done a good job of both these dishes. Well done! In the coming days, I will surely eat Chainsoo, at least, once more. I found it so tasty! And about this Mandua ki roti, if you eat four of these, like me, you can climb mountains. That is how energetic it is. That is what I am noticing for the past many days. We met him 9.30 am today. He accompanied us to the top. We spent 4-5 hours with him. It is 2.30 pm right now. We also saw this artificial lake here. Water storage tank! Right in front of us is the Cliff Top Hotel. This hotel is quite an old one. Now we will start our descent from here. We’ve already purchased our chairlift ticket for Rs. 500 for a round trip. So, from here, we will reach the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Guest House, where our taxi is already parked. So, brother, thanks a lot! He charges Rs. 800 for a trip like this. For Rs. 800, he spends 4-5 hours and for a full-day guide service, the charges are Rs. 1000/-. Okay Sir! When we come back here, we will meet you definitely. Sure Sir! Okay! Bye! So, we are on our chairlift. Really amazing experience! This journey is enjoyable both while going up and coming down! When you come to Auli, you must enjoy this beautiful journey on the chairlift, at least, once. It will be immensely enjoyable! This is Joshimath Crossing, from here, Badrinath Dham is 43kms away. Govind Ghat is 18 kms from here! We’ve reached down from Auli near Joshimath-Badrinath Stand! Now, we will roam around here in the local market. After that, we will leave here. We are going to spend tonight at Govind Ghat! Because tomorrow morning, we want to start our journey to Shri Hemkunt Sahib. Right now, we are near Gurudwara Govind Ghat! Tomorrow morning, we are going to begin our yatra to Shri Hemkunt Sahib from this place. You will see that journey in our next episode. Bye bye till then! Thanks for your time!