After much delay, the Himachal Pradesh capital on Sunday experienced snowfall, leading to a surge of tourists out to enjoy the snow-covered landscape.
Another picturesque tourist resort Manali had snow on the second day. There are chances of more rain and snow in the state till Wednesday, weather officials said.
“Shimla and its nearby areas have been experiencing snowfall and this was the season’s high snowfall in Shimla town,” an official of the Meteorological Department told IANS.
Manali and the hills overlooking it experienced moderate snow. “There are chances of more snow in the state till January 11,” he added.
Places near to Shimla such as Kufri and Narkanda have also been experiencing snowfall, turning the tourist destinations more picturesque. Even Dalhousie in Chamba district and McLeodganj, the abode of Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in Kangra district, had snowfall.
As news of the snowfall spread, tourists flocked to Shimla, known for the imperial grandeur of its buildings that were once institutions of power when the town served as the summer capital of British India.
The picturesque Kothi, near Manali, recorded a fair amount of snow.
Shimla residents shivered as icy winds brought down the minimum temperature to 1.7 degrees Celsius. The maximum stayed at 3.7 degrees, a fall by 4.9 degrees from Saturday’s.
Kalpa, about 250 km from the state capital, experienced 13 cm of snow. It recorded a low of minus 3.8 degree Celsius.
“High-altitude areas of Lahaul-Spiti, Chamba, Mandi, Kullu, Kinnaur and Shimla districts have been experiencing intermittent snow since Friday,” the official said.
Rains lashed towns in lower hills in Himachal Pradesh such as Dharamsala, Palampur, Solan, Nahan, Bilaspur, Una, Hamirpur and Mandi, pushing down the mercury.
Dharamsala recorded 21.8 mm of rain, the highest in the state.
Peaks overlooking popular tourist sites like Shimla, Dharamsala and Palampur also got snow.
“We are hopeful of getting more tourists in Manali with this spell of snow, a hotelier told IANS on phone.
Officials said bad weather had affected road network in the higher reaches of Kinnaur, Shimla, Chamba, Mandi, Kullu and Sirmaur districts and efforts were being made to reopen them.
The Met said another western disturbance — storm systems originating from Caspian Sea and moving across the Afghanistan-Pakistan region — are likely to hit the western Himalayan region on January 8 and 9, bringing isolated to scattered precipitation till January 11.