The setting sun bathed the majestic Dhauladhar ranges, turning its snow peaks into an expanse of orange. A gentle breeze blew across the town, providing perfect conditions for scores of winter tourists who roamed the main market on Thursday evening.
All eyes are on how the weather
will behave at the weekend as Dharamsala gears up to stage its first match involving the national cricket team, the last ODI against England, to be played on Sunday.
There had been concerns over the last few days whether the match would go ahead at all. But such doubts were farthest from everyone's mind on Thursday as groundsmen were busy at work with the mountains forming a grand backdrop to the stadium, one of the smallest cricket stadiums in India with a capacity of around 21,000.
While jute covers were spread over most of the square, groundsmen were busy spraying the area, which an organising official explained was to prevent the heavy dew that sets at night from 'burning' the grass. "We also treat the ground to repel insects that are an issue in these parts," he added.
According to the curator, the wicket is one where the ball will come on to the bat. There was some apprehension, particularly in the England camp, because of the weather but organisers are hoping to have a full game. Unlike the previous games that started at noon to prevent the dew from playing havoc with team tactics, this tie will start at 9 am and finish before it gets too cold.
The last snowfall on the Dhauladhar ranges was a week ago. That also saw the stadium receive a few flakes. That does not seem to have affected the outfield, which had uniform green grass.
According to the weather forecast, the temperature will vary between 8 degrees Celsius to -1 degrees Celsius until Sunday. On match day, the maximum temperature is expected to be a relatively balmy 10 degree Celsius, with some cloud cover. Organisers still have their fingers crossed, hoping that the fickle Himalayan weather stays benevolent.