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Tourists head for Himachal Pradesh after fresh snowfall

Snow experienced in Narkanda, Manali, Rohtang, Kullu, Kinnaur, Chamba and Lahaul-Spiti.

punjab Updated: Dec 14, 2017 13:39 IST
Saurabh Chauhan
Saurabh Chauhan
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Shimla,Himachal Pradesh,Winter
Occupancy in hotels at Manali has seen an increase of 10% to 20% in the past two days.(HT Photo)

After a fresh bout of snow in parts of Himachal Pradesh on Wednesday, tourists from plains have started rushing to the hill state.

Though heavy snowfall in higher reaches has intensified cold across the state, increasing bookings and queries have cheered up the tourism industry that eyes big profits.

Snowfall occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday at Narkanda, Manali, Rohtang and other tourist resorts in Himachal.

The Met department had predicted snow in advance, but hotels have seen rise in bookings only after the fresh snowfall.

Occupancy in hotels at Manali has seen an increase of 10% to 20% in the past two days.

Tourists are preferring Manali over Shimla as it did not snow in the capital town even as snowfall was recorded in other parts of district.

However, hotels beyond Shimla towards Narkanda and Kufri have seen a marginal increase in occupancy.

In Manali, a large number of tourists have been arriving after heavy snowfall at Rohtang and surrounding areas.

“Tourist rush has increased and more tourists are expected in next few days,” said Manali Hotelier Association President Gajender Thakur.

He added, “Tourists have been enquiring about accommodation. The occupancy at hotels in Manali has already reached 70%.”

In Shimla district, less number of tourists have reached Kufri and Narkanda since these places received a mild snowfall.

“Tourist arrival is more than that of the last week but not as per our expectations,” said Hari Das, a tourism business operator.

Jeet Ram, a taxi operator, said, “Tourists have been enquiring about snow and preferring Manali over Shimla and surrounding places.”

Mandeep Singh, a tourist from Ludhiana, said, “Earlier we had planned to visit Shimla, but since more snowfall occurred in Manali region, we changed our plan.”

Harjinder Kohli from Amritsar said, “We booked hotels online. We are hopeful that more snowfall will occur tomorrow in Manali town.”

Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation deputy general manager BS Chauhan said, “After snowfall, the enquiries have increased. The occupancy rate has gone up to 60% to 70%.”

COLD INTENSIFIES

Meanwhile, heavy snowfall in higher reaches has intensified cold across the hill state. Several roads are blocked while some areas are facing power outage due to snowfall.

During the past 24 hours, Gondla in Lahaul and Spiti recorded 32cm snowfall, Kalpa (Kinnaur) 10 cm and Keylong (Lahaul-Spiti) 9 cm.

In Shimla, Narkanda recorded 6 cm snowfall. The heavy snowfall in higher reaches led to power outage in some areas of Tikkar, Jubbal and Chaupal of Shimla.

Meanwhile, rain lashed several parts of the hill state. Sarkaghat (Mandi) received 58mm of rainfall, Pandoh (Mandi) 39mm, Palampur (Kangra) 33mm, Chamba 28 mm, Dharamshala (Kangra) 27mm, Baijnath (Kangra) 25mm, Kotkhai (Shimla) and Nurpur (Kangra) 20 mm each and Mandi 19 mm.

Residents of Shimla also woke up to a rainy morning and the town was engulfed in dense fog later in the day.

The night temperature has fallen by few notches in higher and mid reaches of the state.

Shimla meteorological centre has forecast more snow and rain in the next 24 hours at some places at higher reaches in the state.

Centre director Manmohan Singh said, “Snow is likely to occur at some places in Chamba, Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur, Mandi and Shimla districts”.

During the past 24 hours, Keylong recorded a minimum temperature of -4.9 degrees Celsius, Kalpa -1 degree, Dalhousie -0.2 degrees, Manali 0 degree and Shimla 3.4 degrees.

Shimla deputy commissioner Rohan Chand Thakur said, “An advisory has been issued, asking tourists visiting Shimla to come well-prepared in the wake of snowfall and intensified cold.”

First Published: Dec 14, 2017 13:39 IST