Good Friday weekend drives tourists to Himachal

April 22nd, 2011 - 2:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Shimla/Manali, April 22 (IANS) With fresh snow on the higher reaches and a long weekend owing to Good Friday, Himachal Pradesh is teeming with tourists.

More than one lakh tourists, mainly from the plains of north India, are expected to throng the hill state during the three-day weekend, according to representatives of the hospitality industry.

“The response is marvellous. Most hotels have been booked well in advance,” Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corp general manager Yogesh Behl told IANS.

The most sought after destinations are Shimla, Narkanda, Sangla, Kasauli, Manali, Palampur, Dharamsala and Dalhousie, he said.

The HPTDC has 57 economy and high-end hotels across the state with 1,070 rooms that have 2,320-bed capacity. It also runs 60 restaurants and cafes.

According to tourism department estimates, more than 50,000 tourists are expected to reach Shimla and its nearby destinations.

Shimla’s meteorological director Manmohan Singh said the popular tourist destinations have been experiencing balmy days and chilly nights than most of the cities in the plains.

“Shimla has been recording a minimum temperature of around 9 degrees Celsius during the past one week,” he said.

Said Rahul Vaid, who was in the hills with his wife Pooja: “The weather is quite pleasant in Shimla.”

The mountain peaks viewed from Shimla’s historic Ridge are still wrapped in snow.

Manmohan Singh said that most of the higher reaches, including the Rohtang Pass in Kullu district that is located at 13,050 feet above sea level, experienced another spell of snow Thursday.

Manali, like always, remains a magnet for holidaymakers due to plentiful snow on its nearby hills.

Said Rajeshwar Goel, the district tourism officer at Manali: “Hills overlooking Manali still have plenty of snow where the tourists can enjoy skiing, snow scooter ride and hurl snowballs at each other.”

According to the Met office, the minimum temperature in Kinnaur, Chamba, Kullu and Lahaul and Spiti is close to sub-zero.

The weather office has advised the tourists to wear woollens and body warmers before venturing out in the higher hills.

Himachal Pradesh, whose economy is highly dependent on tourism, attracted 11.4 million tourists, including 400,583 foreigners, last year.

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