It was after a gap of eight years that queen of hills received snowfall on New Year's Eve. Season's first snowfall in Shimla shrouded the town with a picturesque coat of white. Starting from Thursday night, the town continued receiving snow at regular intervals through out the day on Friday.
According to Director Metereological department, Manmohan Singh, Shimla received about 17 cm snow till Friday evening and it is expected to continue throughout the night.
He said the town's commercial centre, Mall Road, the historic Ridge, the US Club and Jakhu hills received around four inches of snowfall.
"It's after a gap of eight years that Shimla has got snow on New Year's Eve. Last time it was in 2002 that snowfall was witnessed in the town," he said.
"But, it is after a long gap that town has received significant snow. It was in the year 1995 that major snow was witnessed at the hill station. It is after fifteen years that noticeable snowfall was there in the town," he said.
According to Met department all other major tourists places in Himachal saw moderate snow fall on Thursday night and Friday.
Rohtang pass and Solang Nala in Kullu district got 118 cm, 95 cm snow respectively till Friday morning. Kalpa and Keylong in Lahual & Spiti District got 64 cm and 40 cm snow on Friday.
Kufri and Narkanda, tourists places near Shimla saw more than one feet snow on Friday. Getting the news of heavy snowfall at places easily approachable from Shimla, many tourists rushed to these places to enjoy the white Near Year's Eve.
As the news of snowfall in Shimla reached the plains, tourists from places nearer to Shimla, thronged the town in large numbers.
It is pertinent to be mentioned that tourists were feeling dejected as there was no snow on Christmas. Those in the hospitality industry were taking the opportunity hand in hand as it was almost a hundred per cent occupancy at the hotels in town.
Tourists complain of shopkeepers selling goods at exorbitant prices
Many tourists have complained of shopkeepers selling things at much higher rates compared to price mentioned as Maximum Retail Price (MRP).
"Shopkeepers were selling the goods at rates higher than those mentioned as MRP," said one of the tourists who had come from New Delhi. He rued that he had to pay Rs 150 for a bottle of beer on Friday.
However district tourism officer Surinder Justa said that department was regularly conducting raids and on hotels and restaurants in and around Shimla so that the tourists are not harassed.