It`s snowing! Himachal readies its rooms with a view

Shimla: Fresh spell of snow in parts of Himachal Pradesh is making the state`s hospitality sector smile. After all, some good weather and pristine natural beauty in the Himayalan hills promises to draw in summer tourists in hordes.

Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) general manager Yogesh Behl said several hill stations have become more picture-perfect after fresh snowfall.

"We are advising tourists to come and enjoy the cool climes of the hill station and refresh their minds by watching snow-clad peaks from the hotel window," Behl told reporters.

Behl said most tourists, mainly from the northern states, have been heading towards Shimla, Narkanda, Manali, Dalhousie, Dharamsala, Palampur and Sangla in Kinnaur district.

More than 50,000 tourists were expected across the state this weekend.

Sudhir Khimta of Dwarika Residency, a tourist bungalow in the interiors of Shimla district, told reporters: "The Chansal Peak overlooking the bungalow is wrapped in a thick blanket of white. Though these peaks remain snow-clad round the year, a fresh spell of snow makes them more picturesque."

Likewise, the peaks overlooking the popular tourist resorts like Manali, Dharamsala and Palampur have got fresh snow.

"We are rather fortunate to come up here (Palampur) and see snow, though far away. It`s nice, refreshing and soothing," Charu Chibber, a tourist from Delhi, remarked while watching the majestic Dhauladhar range at Palampur.

Tek Chand Thakur, president of the Manali Hoteliers Association, said: "Hills atop this town abound with snow. One can easily enjoy the scenic beauty from this town or travel to Rohtang Pass (52 km from Manali) to enjoy the snow."

He said fresh rain and snow during peak summer are always an added attraction for the tourists.

Manmohan Singh, director of the meteorological department here, said popular tourist destinations like Shimla, Narkanda, Kufri and Dharamsala have been experiencing pleasant weather due to rain.

He said higher reaches in Kinnaur, Chamba, Kullu and Lahaul and Spiti experienced mild snow.

Shimla recorded a low of 13.2 degrees Celsius Saturday, whereas the maximum was 18.1 degrees Friday.

Likewise, Kalpa, a picturesque town 250 km from Shimla, recorded a minimum temperature of 4.6 degrees Celsius, Dharamsala in Kangra district recorded 12.5 degrees Celsius and Bhuntar in Kullu district registered 12 degrees.

The met department said western disturbances would be active in the region again May 11 and 12, with the possibility of more rains.

The state attracted 11.4 million tourists, including 400,583 foreigners, in 2009.