Manali gets season’s first snowfall

Shimla: Picturesque tourist spot Manali in Himachal Pradesh on Thursday experienced season’s first snow. Nearby spots of Shimla too were wrapped in a blanket of snow cover, bringing cheer to tourists.

Some of the tourist spots in the upper Shimla district were cut off after snow piled on roads, officials said.

The ‘Queen of Hills’, as Shimla was fondly called by the erstwhile British rulers, got mild rains. It saw a minimum of 2.8 degrees Celsius.

As news of the snowfall spread, tourists started reaching Shimla’s nearby places like Kufri, Mashobra and Narkanda.

“This weekend we are expecting a good rush of tourists,” a Shimla-based hotelier said.

Hills overlooking Manali like Gulaba, Solang and Kothi have been experiencing moderate snow since late Wednesday, said the Meteorological Department official here. Manali, which saw a low of 1.8 degree, experienced more than four cm of snow.

“The higher reaches of Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur, Kullu, Shimla, Mandi, Sirmaur and Chamba districts have been experiencing snowfall, while mid and lower hills are experiencing rain,” the official said.

Kalpa in Kinnaur district and Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti have also experienced snowfall. They saw a low of minus 0.9 degrees and minus 3.9 degrees Celsius, respectively. Dharamsala recorded a low of 7.6 degrees Celsius.

Traffic movement beyond Dhalli, 10 km from Shimla, was suspended partially as a large stretch of the Hindustan-Tibet Road was under a thick blanket of snow.

The Met Office said a western disturbance — a storm system originating from the Mediterranean-Caspian Sea region and moving across the Afghanistan-Pakistan region — would remain active till Friday, bringing more rain and snow.

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