Hills near Shimla get season’s first snowfall

December 29th, 2010 - 8:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Shimla, Dec 29 (IANS) The hills near Shimla experienced the season’s first snowfall Wednesday, making them even more picturesque, while many popular hill station saw intermittent rain.”The Kufri hill slopes near Shimla and Narkanda received mild snowfall Wednesday evening,” Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological office here, told IANS.

He said the higher hills in Lahaul and Spiti, Chamba, Kinnaur and Kullu districts also experienced moderate snowfall.

The picturesque tourist destination Chitkul, a village close to the China border in Kinnaur district, and Dalhousie in Chamba district saw moderate snow, according to reports reaching here.

“There are chances of snowfall in the mid and higher hills, including Shimla and Manali,” Singh said.

Most of the hill stations, including Shimla, Kasauli, Dharamsala, Chamba and Dalhousie, were hit by intermittent rain throughout the day.

Singh said the western disturbances - storm systems originating from Caspian Sea and moving across the Afghanistan-Pakistan region - are likely to be active by New Year’s eve.

The Met department’s forecast has brought cheer to the state’s hospitality industry. They hope that Shimla will witness a white New Year’s eve after eight years.

Shimla, known for the imperial grandeur of buildings that were once institutions of power when it was the summer capital of British India, has remained devoid of any prominent snow cover in recent times.

Apart from a mild spell of snow (8.2 cm) Jan 13 this year, there was no snow at all in the Himachal Pradesh capital last winter.

Likewise, in 2009, the town saw just two mild spells of snowfall, and those flakes too melted within a few hours.

Shimla got snowfall on the last day of the year in 1990, 1995, 2000 and 2002.

“Snow is the biggest driving force for the tourists,” said Vijay Sharma, assistant general manager of Holiday Home Hotel, a government-run venture in Shimla.

Manali, the popular tourist resort in Kullu valley, about 250 km from Shimla, experienced its first spell of snow Oct 22.

The Rohtang Pass (13,050 feet), located 51 km from Manali, and Baralacha Pass (16,020 feet) have already experienced heavy snowfall.

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