Bugyals are the meadows in the lower himalayan region- lush green, out of nowhere on the top of the mountain or on its edges, surrounded by heavy forest of pines and deodars. All of sudden tree-line ends and meadow begins. Uttarakhand has many of them in its higher reaches. Many of them are very popular and few quite obscure & less visited. Ali Bugyal perhaps lies in the later category.
Ali Bugyal is near Didina village in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. Said to be arguably the largest meadow in India, Ali has often remained forgotten to its nearest cousin the Bedini Bugyal, which is perhaps among the most popular meadows in India.
Locals also say term Ali is one of the most beautiful meadows in India and having seen it, I don’t doubt this claim. It is indeed very beautiful and charming.
Ali is very close to Bedini Bugyal. Bedini Bugyal is most popular and visited as it falls on one of the most challenging treks of Uttarakhand to Roopkund (the world famous mysterious skeleton lake). Ali is almost three kilometres from Bedini, very close indeed.
The only drawback Ali had over Bedini is that it is off route and secondly, it doesn’t have a natural source of water as Bedini has- a big pond right on the top. There are a few streams but quite downhill.
Ali Bugyal is said to be a skier’s paradise with vast and descent slopes. A potential yet to be explored here.
A view of various other hitherto unexplored bugyals nearby.
There goes another story related to fate of the Ali Bugyal. It is been said that actually all the facilities that Auli (near Joshimath) was handed over as a Ski resort were actually meant for Ali. But as both places are pronounced similarly, just a typo led everything to Auli instead of Ali. Hence Auli got developed as world famous resort and and Ali went into oblivion.
Some other images of the Ali Bugyal, its fascinating slopes and the bugyali horses-
On a clear day, Ali Bugyal, located at an altitude of about 13,000 feet gives some fascinating panoramic views of the nearby ranges and many far off places. But on any day, the view here is magical. See for yourself-