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Himachal hills may get snow, rain this week

IANS | Shimla |

If want to holiday in the hills of Himachal Pradesh amidst snowy landscape, wait for a few days more as the Met Office here on Sunday forecast chances of snowfall in the state after a long gap on January 23.

Currently, the state has been experiencing a marginal rise in the temperatures due to prevailing dry weather.

“There are chances of rainfall and snowfall in the state on January 23,” an official at the meteorological office told IANS.

He said the western disturbances – storm systems originating from Caspian Sea and moving across the Afghanistan-Pakistan region – would be active in the region till January 24.

Some of the prominent tourist towns like Narkanda, Kalpa, Manali and Dalhousie may witness mild to moderate snowfall, he said.

Rains may lash towns in lower hills such as Dharamsala, Palampur, Solan, Nahan, Bilaspur, Una, Hamirpur and Mandi that will push down the mercury.

The state capital Shimla is yet to receive the season’s first snowfall.

Picturesque town Manali, some 250 km from Shimla, had experienced a mild spell of snow on December 11 last year and after that there no snowfall at all.

Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district was the coldest place in the state on Sunday with a low of minus 6.8 degrees Celsius.

Shimla recorded the minimum temperature at 7.6 degrees, five degrees above average.

Kalpa in Kinnaur district recorded a low of three degrees, while it was 6.8 degrees at Dharamsala, which is the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile and where the Dalai Lama lives when in India, minus 0.6 degree in Manali and 9.8 degrees in Dalhousie.

Thousands of holidaymakers are expected to make their way up to Himachal Pradesh for a long weekend starting on Republic Day on Friday, say members of the hospitality industry.

Snow is a big draw for tourists, especially from the plains of northern India.

“We will definitely extend our stay in Manali or nearby hills if there is snowfall as predicted by the Met office,” corporate executive Gagan Gill from Chandigarh told IANS.

The mountain peaks viewed from Shimla’s historic Ridge have been wrapped in a thick white blanket of snow.