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75 tourists stranded in Himachal

india Updated: Sep 15, 2009 13:41 IST

IANS
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Around 75 tourists, including 50 foreigners, are still stranded in Himachal Pradesh's Spiti Valley after the closure of roads due to landslides triggered by rains and snowfall last week, police said on Tuesday.

"Around 75 tourists are still stuck at different locations in and around Kaza town in the Spiti Valley after the closure of roads due to landslides," Superintendent of Police S R Rana said.

The administration is in contact with them and all of them are fine, he added.

"The domestic tourists are mostly from West Bengal, whereas the foreign tourists are from France, Germany, Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Israel and the US," Rana said.

According to him, the Spiti Valley is out of bounds as both the highways -- Kaza-Manali and Kaza-Kinnaur -- linking the valley with the rest of the world have been closed for traffic.

"From the Manali side, the highway is closed near Kunzum Pass (4,551 metre). And from Kinnaur, it is closed near Nako. Work is on to clear the landslides. The highways will be re-opened to traffic in the next few days," he said.

The picturesque Spiti Valley in Lahaul and Spiti district is frequently visited by tourists.

The trans-Himalayan Buddhist-dominated district has a rich treasure of monasteries. It attracts globe-trotters not only for nature-based activities but also for exploring ancient monasteries like Tabo, which is over 1,000 years old, Dhankar, Gungri, Lidang, Hikkam, Sagnam and Nako.

The entire district, populated mainly by tribals, remains cut off from the rest of the country for more than six months in the year owing to heavy snowfall. Much of the valley is part of a cold desert.