Shimla gets season’s first snowfall; tourists rush

Shimla, Feb 1 – Himachal Pradesh’s capital Shimla received the season’s first snowfall on Thursday after a long gap, giving the resort a picturesque look.

Towns in upper Shimla district were cut off with heavy snow cover piled on roads, officials said here.

The season’s first snowfall froze the ‘Queen of Hills’, as Shimla was fondly called by the erstwhile British rulers.

As news of the snowfall spread, tourists started arriving in Shimla and its nearby places like Kufri, Mashobra and Narkanda that too wrapped in a thick blanket of snow.

Hills overlooking Manali like Gulaba, Solang and Kothi have been experiencing moderate snow since Wednesday, according to a meteorological official here. Manali town, however, too got snowfall.

Kothi, near Manali, got 50 cm snow, the highest in the state, followed by Koksar in Lahaul-Spiti district and Khadrala in Shimla district.

“The higher reaches of Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur, Kullu, Shimla, Sirmaur and Chamba districts have been experiencing snowfall since Wednesday and would continue till Friday,” the official said.

Kalpa in Kinnaur district and Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti also experienced snowfall.

Meanwhile, traffic movement beyond Dhalli, 10 km from Shimla, was suspended as a large stretch of the Hindustan-Tibet Road was under a thick blanket of snow.

The entire Kinnaur district and towns in Shimla district such as Narkanda, Jubbal, Kotkhai, Kumarsain, Kharapathar, Rohru and Chopal have been cut off due to heavy snow, a government official said.

Lower areas of the state including Dharamsala, Solan, Nahan and Mandi received moderate to heavy rain, bringing the temperature down considerably.

The Met Office said a Western disturbance — a storm system originating from the Mediterranean-Caspian Sea region and moving across the Afghanistan-Pakistan region — would remain active till Friday, bringing more rain and snow.

vg/uk

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