Tourists flock to Shimla, Manali to hurl snowballs
Shimla: After much delay, the Himachal Pradesh capital witnessed the season's heaviest snowfall that snapped several internal road links and electricity and water supplies but tourists were seen making a merry by hurling snowballs at one another. So was another picturesque resort Manali.
"Shimla and its nearby areas like Kufri and Narkanda experienced heavy snowfall in the past 24 hours," an official of the meteorological department here told IANS.
As news of the snowfall spread, tourists flocked to Shimla, known for the imperial grandeur of its buildings that were once institutions of power when the town served as the summer capital of British India.
"We were lucky to witness the snow in February," said Nikita Gupta, a tourist from Delhi, who was in Shimla along with her friends.
Her friend Renuka Kaul added: "Earlier, we visited this hill station several times in December and January to witness the snow, but were not lucky like this time. Now we are planning to extend out holidays for two-three days more."
Shimla, which saw a low of minus one degree Celsius, recorded more than 57 cm of snowfall, while Kufri and Mashobra too recorded plentiful snowfall.
The snowy landscape in Shimla will stay this way for two-three days, an official of the MeT Office said.
Reports said several areas in Jubbal, Narkanda and Kharapathar in Shimla district experienced moderate to heavy snow.
Officials said roads in the higher reaches of Kinnaur, Shimla, Chamba, Mandi, Kullu and Sirmaur districts were severely hit by heavy snowfall and work was on to reopen them.
In the state capital, internal roads were too slippery for traffic as these were laden with snow. Even walking in the streets was risky.
Although the Shimla Municipal Corporation has cleared the snow on Cart Road and some VIP roads, most of the other roads have not been cleared yet.
Due to slippery conditions of the roads and pathways in Shimla, many pedestrians, most of them tourists, were getting injuries.
Tourists have been facing much difficulty in Shimla, Kufri, Kasauli and Manali as most of the parking lots are slippery and covered with a good quantity of snow.
Meanwhile, Manali, which saw 5 cm snow, experienced a low of zero degree Celsius. Kalpa, 250 km from the state capital, and Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district experienced snow.
These towns saw the night temperature fall to minus 4.3 degrees and minus 7.2 degrees Celsius respectively.