Snow in Shimla, Manali cheers hoteliers

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Shimla, March 10 (IANS) After a long break, Himachal Pradesh capital Shimla on Friday witnessed a snowfall, dipping the mercury by several notches and bringing cheer to the hoteliers.

Likewise, Manali and its nearby Solang ski slopes and Kalpa, 250 km from here, also saw spells of snowfall, the weather office here said.

Hoteliers, however, cheered up in the hope that tourists will converge in large numbers during the three-day weekend that ends with Holi on Monday.

Tourist spots near Shimla like the honeymooners’ paradise Kufri, Fagu, Narkanda and Chail experienced moderate snowfall, turning the hill stations even more picturesque.

“High altitude areas of Lahaul-Spiti, Kullu, Kinnaur, Chamba, Sirmaur and Shimla districts have been experiencing moderate snow since Tuesday,” a Met Office official said.

Lower areas in the state, including Dharamsala, Palampur, Solan, Nahan, Bilaspur, Una, Hamirpur and Mandi towns, meanwhile, received moderate to heavy rain, bringing a considerable fall in temperature.

Tourism industry representatives are happy with the fresh snowfall.

“This weekend we are expecting a spike in footfall of tourists in Shimla and nearby hills after this snowfall,” D.P. Bhatia, liaison officer with the Oberoi Group of hotels, told IANS.

The minimum temperature in Shimla was recorded at 0.4 degree Celsius, whereas the maximum was 7.6 degrees. The capital saw 7.7 cm of snow.

Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district was the coldest place in the state at minus 5.2 degrees Celsius.

It was 8.8 degrees Celsius in Dharamsala, minus 2.8 degrees Celsius in Kalpa and minus 0.8 degree Celsius in Manali.

The Meteorological Department’s forecast said a western disturbance — storm system originating in the Caspian Sea and moving across the Afghanistan-Pakistan region which brings rain or snowfall in te northwest region of the subcontinent– would remain active till Saturday.

–IANS

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