Even as snow eluded Shimla on Christmas eve, the erstwhile British summer capital attracted large number of tourists on Thursday. Heavy rush was witnessed on famous Mall road and Ridge in Shimla. Most of the hotels are jampacked and the city expects more tourists on January 1, the new year eve.
However, last week weather experts had predicted snow on Christmas eve but it didn't happen. Even then the rush of tourists made the tourism industry elated. After heavy snowfall on December 15, tourism business was almost hampered across the state but the clear weather now has boosted the tourism industry.
A tour operator, Ajay Sood, said till December 20 there were almost no enquiries but after that the business boomed across the state as the tourists had been thronging Shimla, Narkanda, Kufri and other parts of the state.
"Two week ago, the things were different in Kullu and Manali region, but now the things are gradually improving and heavy bookings are being reported in hotels for Christmas as well as new year eve," said Deepak Thakur, a Manali hotelier. Shimla Hotelier Association president Harnam Kukreja said more tourists are expected here on the occasion of new year.
Kufri, Narkanda, Manali and other tourist towns are covered with thick layer of snow. Chandigarh's Jayant Chadda, who is in Shimla to celebrate Christmas, said he was expecting snowfall on Thursday but even dry weather was also pleasant for all to rejoice. "Shimla is beautiful and to enjoy snow, I visited Kufri," he said.
It may be recalled that in 1991, a 49 cm thick cover of snow enveloped the city on December 24. Shimla also experienced snowfall on new year eve in 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2002.
Shimla on Thursday experienced a bright and sunny day and no significant change was witnessed in minimum and maximum temperature. The MeT department has predicted dry weather in Shimla and other tourist towns of the state.
Keylong coldest, Manali too shivers.
Cold wave intensified in the state as minimum temperature at Manali was recorded -3 degree Celsius and Shimla 3.7 degree Celsius. Night temperature at Dharamshala was recorded 5.2 degree Celsius.
Keylong remained coldest at -8.9 degree Celsius while Kalpa's temperature was -2.3 degree Celsius. Night temperature at Sundernagar was -0.3 degree Celsius while it was 0.2 degree Celsius in Bhuntar near Kullu.