Shimla/Manali, Dec 31 (IANS) Heading to the hills of Himachal before the New Year dawns or wishing to enjoy precipitation falling from clouds as ice crystals? It’s better if you could extend your holidays this week.
For, the Met Office Wednesday forecast snow at some of the tourist destinations in the state January 3.
“There are chances of snowfall across the state as the western disturbances will be active in the state January 3. Till that time, dry weather will prevail,” an official with the meteorological office told IANS.
He said the probability of snowfall in Shimla, Kufri, Narkanda, Manali, Kalpa and Dalhousie is high.
Members of the hospitality industry say most of the tourist resorts are witnessing chock-a-block hotels due to revellers for the New Year’s Eve celebrations.
They say the upcoming five-day winter carnival in Manali, beginning January 2, is an added draw for the tourists who want to extend their stay.
The annual winter carnival in Manali would be an added attraction for the tourists to experience local culture, customs and traditions, State tourism director Mohan Chauhan told IANS.
He said most of the hotels have been offering 50 percent discount on accommodation in Kullu-Manali area during the winter carnival, besides bonfire at several places have also been arranged by hotel associations and the district administration.
Yogesh Behl, general manager of Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC), told IANS that the tourists’ response is overwhelming at most of the tourist destinations for the New Year Eve celebrations.
He said the number of tourists visiting Shimla, Kasauli, Narkanda, Manali, Chamba, Dalhousie, Dharamsala and Palampur was quite good.
“In any hill station, 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.
He said most of the guests have been enquiring about the possibility of snowfall in the coming days. “We are advising them to extend their stay as the Met predicted snow at some places in the next few days.”
Aadil and Riya Manchanda, tourists from Chandigarh, said they have decided to extend their New Year holidays.
“After bidding farewell to 2014 in Shimla hills, we will head straight to Manali where we will enjoy the first day of the next year. Of course, chances of snow in Manali are more as western disturbances are again approaching the region,” Riya said.
The mountain peaks viewed from Shimla, and the Dhauladhar peaks overlooking Tibetan Buddhist leader Dalai Lama’s official palace in McLeodganj near Dharamsala are covered literally by a white blanket.
Tourist arrivals in the hilly state every year surpasses the state’s population of about 6.5 million.
Kullu-Manali has emerged as a favourite tourist destination in the state, followed by Shimla and Dharamsala, according to the state tourism department’s surveys.