Widespread rain in Himachal Pradesh on Friday brought cheer to tourists who have thronged the hill stations to escape the heat wave in the northern plains.
Most of the prominent tourist places in mid and high hills saw a good spell of showers early morning on Friday, giving a relief from unusually high temperatures.
"Shimla and its nearby places received significant rain and hailstorm after days of dry spell. This was the first good rainfall of the season in almost the entire district," said Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological office in Shimla.
He said other popular tourist resorts like Kasauli, Manali, Palampur, Dharamsala, Chamba and Dalhousie also experienced rain.
"Chances of another spell of rain in the state are good again on Friday due to active western disturbances," Singh added.
Renu Sharma, a tourist from Gurgaon said, "The rain in Shimla is really a welcome relief from the scorching heat. When we reached on Thursday, it was terribly hot. But the morning cool breeze after the rain was really refreshing and soothing."
G.S Gill, a tourist in Manali said, "The cool climes after the rain really made us happy. We hope to see more spells of rain."
According to the Met office, the maximum temperatures across the state are likely to plummet by five to six degrees on Friday.
Shimla recorded a maximum temperature of 32.4 degrees Celsius on Thursday, making it the warmest day the state capital has seen since 2004.
Sundernagar in Mandi district recorded a maximum of 41.3 degrees, Bhuntar in Kullu district saw 38.6 degrees, Dharamsala in Kangra district saw 38.2 degrees and Kalpa in Kinnaur district marked a high of 25 degrees.
However, Shimla recorded a minimum of 17.1 degrees on Friday against Thursday's low of 21.2 degrees. Kalpa recorded a low of 6.5 degrees against Thursday's 10 degrees.
According to the representatives of the hospitality industry, more than 50,000 tourists are expected to reach various destinations in the state by this weekend.
"We are hopeful that the good spell of rain will attract more weekend tourists," Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation General Manager Yogesh Behl said.
He said the last two weekends were quite bad as the arrival of tourists dropped due to the unusually warm weather in the hills.
Rajeshwar Goel, District Tourism Development Officer at Manali said, "Most of the hotels in Manali are packed to capacity well in advance. More than 20,000 tourists are expected to reach the town this weekend."