Snowfall eludes tourists in Himachal

January 24th, 2009 - 6:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghShimla, Jan 24 (IANS) Balmy days and relatively high night temperatures in the hills of Himachal Pradesh have once again dashed hopes of thousands of tourists visiting the state to see snowfall.According to the meteorological office here, the “warm” weather would continue till Jan 26.

“The minimum temperature is almost seven to eight degrees above average these days. After Jan 26, the night temperature will start dipping,” Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological office in Shimla, told IANS.

“This morning (Saturday) the minimum temperature in this town was 12.7 degrees Celsius, which is the highest record in this month,” Singh said.

While the minimum temperature of Shimla was 12.1 degrees Celsius, the maximum was 20.4 degrees Friday.

The weatherman attributed the rise in minimum temperature to cloudy conditions.

“This time again, the tourists have to return disappointed as chances of snowfall in this high temperature are remote,” he said.

Similarly, in Bhuntar near Kullu and Dharamsala, the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile, the minimum temperature Saturday was 8 degrees Celsius and 10.1 degrees respectively.

This season, Shimla, Manali and Dalhousie had received the season’s first snowfall in the first week of this month, but it was scanty and melted within hours.

Meanwhile, thousands of tourists, mainly from northern states, thronged popular tourist spots Saturday to celebrate the extended weekend holiday bonanza. Apart from the weekend, Monday is a Republic Day holiday.

“For the next two days, the occupancy in most of the hotels in Shimla is 100 percent,” said Harnam Kukreja, president of Shimla Hoteliers and Restaurants Association.

“We are advising our guests to visit nearby snow-bound places like Narkanda if they are really keen to enjoy ‘white holidays’,” said Raj Kumar Uday Singh of Woodville Palace Resorts, a heritage hotel in Shimla.

Popular tourist spots like Manali, Chamba and Dalhousie also recorded high minimum temperatures.

“If the weather obliged us (the tourism industry) with a good spell of snow, then there are chances that tourists extend their weekend by two to three days,” Mehar Chand Thakur, a prominent travel agent in Manali, said.

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