For a milder winter, go to the hillsJanuary 5th, 2010 - 3:42 pm ICT by IANS
By Vishal Gulati
Shimla, Jan 5 (IANS) If the damp chill of the north Indian plains are giving you the shivers, consider a break in the hills — it’s sunnier and warmer up there.
Popular tourist towns in the hill state like Shimla, Kasauli, Dharamsala, Chamba, Dalhousie and Manali are witnessing long sunny days with little wind.
Director of meteorological department Manmohan Singh told IANS that these places are warmer compared to the plains of northern India.
“It is a natural phenomenon. Fog accumulates when humidity level is 70 percent or more. In the plains, it is more. However, in the hills it’s less than 30 percent, so there the sky is clear resulting in sunny days that help to keep the maximum temperature on the higher side,” he said.
In Shimla, Singh said, the minimum temperature Tuesday morning was 5.6 degrees Celsius, five degrees above average. Similarly, in Una (located in the lower hills adjoining Punjab), the minimum was 2.7 degrees Celsius, 2 degrees above average.
The mid and low hills across the state Tuesday witnessed minimum temperature between 1.2 degrees Celsius and 5.6 degrees Celsius, which is quite above average.
Meenakshi Malik, a tourist from Punjab’s industrial town Ludhiana, said: “Shimla is warmer than the plains during this period. We come here every winter to enjoy the sunshine in the hills.”
“Even the night temperature here (Shimla) is quite bearable. When Ludhiana records a low of 5-8 degrees Celsius, this town, located at an altitude of 7,000, is warmer even if it records night temperature lower than 5 degrees Celsius,” her husband Deepak said.
The locals recall that winter in Shimla is not as harsh these days as it used to be till the late 1980s.
“Earlier, half of the population of Shimla used to migrate to the plains or lower hills with the onset of winter in December. The entire town looked like a ghost town. Now, people have stopped migrating,” T.R. Jaiswal, an octogenarian settled in this town since 1948, said.
“Now even the smoke-belching chimneys are a thing of past. You can hardy see the chimneys in the houses and offices. In the newly-built houses, there is no provision for chimneys. This shows that climate has changed much with the passage of time,” he added.
Forest Minister J.P. Nadda said that there has been a noticeable change in the climatic conditions in the state in the past 10-12 years.
“The hills are warming up faster, the snowline is declining and water channels are receding,” he said, attributing the rise in temperature to deforestation, increasing vehicular and industrial pollution and global warming.
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