Shimla: Nearly 40,000 tourists are expected to make a beeline for the hills of Himachal Pradesh the coming weekend as the state is likely to see more rains and cooler weather.
"The temperatures will considerably come down ... with chances of more rain in the hills and snow in the higher reaches," Manmohan Singh, director of the met office here, told a news agency on Friday.
A moderate spell of rain Thursday led to the temperatures plummeting in most prominent tourist destinations.
According to tourism department estimates, around 40,000 tourists, mainly from Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi, are expected to reach Shimla and other tourist spots Saturday and Sunday. The summer festival of dance and music here would also be an added attraction.
"From the number of queries regarding hotel bookings, one can estimate that a large number of tourists will reach various destinations the coming weekend," Yogesh Behl, general manager of the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corp, told the enws agency.
Shimla Thursday recorded a high of 27.1 degrees Celsius, a fall by 3.4 degrees from the previous day. The minimum temperature was 16.6 degrees Celsius Friday.
Kalpa, a picturesque town 250 km from here, recorded a maximum temperature of 17.4 degrees Celsius and Dharamsala 30.4 degrees Celsius.
Tourist destinations like Shimla, Narkanda, Kufri, Kasauli, Dharamsala, McLeodganj, Sangla, Manali, Chamba and Dalhousie have been experiencing pleasant weather, Singh added.
A word of caution to those heading to the Queen of Hills - Shimla faces an acute water shortage.
Lack of snowfall in the last winter led to water scarcity, forcing civic authorities to curtail water supply.
"We have been supplying water on every alternate day. Even the supply timings have been curtailed," Shimla`s Assistant Municipal Commissioner KK Sharma told the agency.
Planned for a maximum population of 16,000, Shimla now supports more than 200,000 people. It has over 450 hotels, restaurants and guest houses.
However, picturesque Manali has sufficient water.
"There is no shortage of water in Manali and its nearby tourist places," said Rajeshwar Goel, the district tourism development officer at Manali.
The 13,050-foot-high Rohtang Pass, just 60 km from Manali, is a highlight for tourists who want to enjoy the snow.