Friday, 30 November 2012

Tourists enjoy fresh snowfall in Manali

Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI: Hundreds of tourists on Thursday thronged Gulaba, 22km from Manali towards Rohtang pass, to enjoy the fresh snowfall. Though administration has advised tourists not to go beyond Kothi, but it was tourists’ craziness to see snow that they managed to reach here putting themselves in danger.
Gulaba is experiencing snowfall since Thursday morning and over 10cm fresh snow has accumulated here. As soon as tourists had news about snowfall, they made a beeline towards Rohtang pass. According to sources, many tourists tried to reach Rohtang pass but could not drive beyond Gulaba due to slippery snow on the highway. Finally, they made Gulaba their fun-spot for the day where they enjoyed every moment playing with snow.
“We had visited Rohtang pass on Wednesday but my children and wife insisted on going here one more time to see the fresh snowfall. However we cannot reach there but luckily got to see fresh snowfall,” a tourist from West Bengal, Harish Chattopadhyay, said. He said that it was too cold there and they were drenching soon so decided to come back only after couple of hours.
Nandini and Priyanshu, a newlywed couple from Patiala, said they got a surprise gift from Manali as fresh snowfall. “We had already planned to visit Rohtang pass but we had never imagined to see fresh flakes of snow showering from the sky. We have no regrets that we would not see Rohtang pass. Both of us have seen snowfall for the first time in our lives,” Nandini said.
Heavy snowfall around Manali has generated hopes to draw more tourists in coming days. According to hoteliers, now Manali has enough snow to entertain the tourists till New Year’s Eve and snow would definitely force tourists to visit Manali. “Snowfall has rejuvenated our tourism industry. Now hoteliers are ready to give a warm welcome to our guests in cold climate and beautiful backdrop of snow laden mountains. Hotel occupancy would definitely grow in December,” Manali hoteliers’association president Anup Thakur said.

28 panchayats of Lahaul-Spiti cut off from rest country

Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI/ KEYLONG: With blocking of the Rohtang pass after heavy snowfall, 28 panchayats of Lahaul valley of Himachal has gone cut off from rest of the country on Thursday. Though, depending on weather conditions, Lahaul-Spiti district administration has decided to restore the highway in December, but the final decision rests with unpredictable weather of Rohtang pass.
Snowfall in Lahaul valley of Himachal
According to sources, there are strong possibilities to keep the Manali-Keylong (Lahaul) highway open despite heavy snowfall till the end of December. But, residents of Lahaul have already made all preparations to get locked inside cage of snow for next six months. The residents would not get vegetables to eat and newspaper to read until the highway is not opened in summer season next year. Helicopter would be the only source of transportation in emergency conditions.
Still there are many residents of Lahaul who had not imagined about heavy snowfall in November and they are residing outside the valley. Raju Telangba, resident of Telangbe village of Lahaul, said, “I was in Kullu for some important work and had planned to go back to village on Monday. I’m praying for sunny weather so that I could reach back home after restoration of the highway.”
Lahaul-Spiti deputy commissioner SS Guleria said Lahaul valley is ready to be cut off from rest of the country. “We have already made all arrangements to deal with the problems during winters. Essential commodities like medicines, ration, fuel and firewood have already been stocked. Weather of Lahaul, especially Rohtang pass is unpredictable; still we have requested Border Roads Organization (BRO) to clear the highway to Lahaul one more time,” he said.
According to sources, BRO has decided to clear snow from Manali-Keylong highway till the end of December in a move to help continue the boring of Rohtang tunnel from north portal in Lahaul. Also, the organization has continued working on maintenance of highway on Rohtang pass. According to an official, they shall keep clearing the internal highways of Lahaul even after heavy snowfall.

Heavy snowfall in Kullu-Manali, Lahaul-Spiti

Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI/ KEYLONG: The real cold and snowy winter season has kicked off with heavy snowfall in Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti districts of Himachal on Thursday. The entire Lahaul valley is reeling under severe cold after heavy snowfall while the snow has descended down close to Manali town.
Fresh snowfall on mounatains near Manali in Himachal Pradesh
Bringing cheers to Manali tourism, Rohtang pass has received over 60cm fresh snows. Tourist spot Gulaba, near Manali, has received 10cm snow while snow accumulation at Marhi is over 30cm. Keylong, district headquarters of Lahaul-Spiti district has recorded 12cm fresh snow since morning. Baralacha-la in Lahaul experienced over 50cm snowfall. Meanwhile, the traffic on Manali-Keylong-Leh highway has come to complete standstill. Given the safety of the people, vehicles are not being allowed to go towards Rohtang pass.
“It’s snowing heavily here and weather is extremely cold,” resident of Jahlama village in Lahaul, Amar Dushi, said. He said fog has covered entire valley and movement of vehicular traffic has been stopped.
Breaking a long dry spell, lower parts of Kullu district received moderate showers of rain. The minimum temperatures of both the districts have risen by 1 to 2 degrees Celsius due to decrease in atmospheric pressure but the maximum temperature has decreased.
According to Lahaul-Spiti deputy commissioner SS Guleria, the entire Lahaul valley is receiving snowfall since Thursday morning. “Residents are advised not to venture close to isolated mountains,” he said.

Monday, 26 November 2012

1.5 lakh weddings in 3 days cheer hoteliers in Manali

Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI: After three months of slowdown in tourism industry of Manali, over 1.5 lakh weddings in country only in three days have brought cheer to hoteliers who are getting good bookings for honeymoon tours for next month.
Planetary positions being perfect for auspicious marriages from Saturday to Monday, Delhi alone is hosting over 25 thousand marriages. According to sources, about 10 lakh couples from Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh, UP, Rajasthan and Gujarat have tied knots in November and a large part of them is expected to visitManali for their honeymoon in December. Most of the office goers plan their honeymoon during Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
Hoteliers are confident that all 20,018 rooms of 610 registered hotels would remain fully occupied for two weeks after December 20. According to them, nearly 300 couples are visiting Manali everyday and the number is increasing regularly. Though number of newlyweds visiting Manali in November is nearly 50% less than the last year but thousands of inquiries are pouring in for December.
Hoteliers are all set to woo the honeymooners with attractive offers and discounts. Besides advertisements, discounts up to 50% and many free services are being offered to attract more and more newlyweds. Marketing manager of hotel Chander Palace, Ankush Bhardwaj, said thousands of marriages are going to pay off in December as inquiries have gone up by 50%. “We are expecting full occupancy after December 20,” he said.
Ravi Thakur, owner of The Manali Lodge, said all the inquiries he gets are for honeymoon tours and most of the customers are from Delhi. “This time Kashmir is our competitor but marriages too are more than that in last years’. No doubt honeymoonseason would heal our wounds that we had in three months.”
According to travel agents, frequent snowfall in Manali is doing wonders on honeymooners who want to make their tour even romantic with fresh snow. “Honeymooners are asking for status of snowfall in Kashmir, Manali and Shimla. They ask for possibility of snowfall during their visit and most of them want to visit the hill station where possibilities are maximum,” a travel agent, Vicky Ahuja, said.
Meanwhile, hotels in Manali are preparing for bonfires, couple games and discos to entertain the expected honeymooners. Manali police are also preparing to tackle the increased traffic during Christmas and New Year week.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Manali-Leh highway officially closed till next summers, Admn to set up rescue posts from Nov 15

Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI: Given the possibilities of heavy snowfall along Manali-Leh highway, Border Roads Organization (BRO) has decided to officiallyclose the highway from Sunday. Now the organization would not be responsible for safe movement of the traffic on this route, an official said.

Rohtang pass on Saturday experienced fresh snowfall while there are strong chances of more snowfall in coming days. As hundreds of people put their lives in danger after driving in inclement weather of Rohtang every year, BRO has announced to close the highway officially on Saturday.
Fresh snowfall on Rohtang mountain ranges near Manali
“Given the circumstances on Rohtang pass, the highway has been closed officially,” BRO commander at 38BRTF Colonel Yogesh Nair said, adding that BRO would continue the widening and metalling of the highway until snowfall would block the highway permanently. Now the administration would be responsible for all activities occurring on Manali-Rohtang highway.

Despite snowfall, Manali-Keylong highway remained operational all the day on Saturday. Hundreds of residents of Lahaul crossed Rohtang pass safely. Fearing early closure of highway, people of Lahaul are reaching their homes from all parts of the state while students and those residing outside the Lahaul valley are leaving the valley.

>>Rescue posts on both sides of Rohtang pass from November 15

Manali: After declaration of official closure of Rohtang pass, administration has decided to set up rescue posts on both sides of the Rohtang pass from November 15, an official said here on Saturday.

With weather conditions turning hostile on Rohtang pass, two rescue posts -- one at Marhi and another at Koksar -- would be installed for the safe movement of vehicles and pedestrians.

Manali based Atal Bihari Vajpayee institute of mountaineering and allied sports (ABVIMAS) installs posts in two phases from November 15 to December 15 and then March 15 to May 15 every year. Each post would include police, medical team, rescue experts and wireless operator. After setting up of the posts, travellers using this route would have to register themselves at both the posts to ensure safe passage.

Manali sub-divisional magistrate Balbir Thakur said that administration is keeping an eye on the activities of tourists and local residents on Rohtang pass. “Rescue posts would be set up for the convenience of public on November 15,” he said. Officials at posts have been trained to work wisely according to the situations. They may prevent any vehicle or person from crossing the pass for safety purpose.

>>BRO to continue working on Rohtang pass

Manali: Despite snowfall and sub-zero temperatures on Rohtang pass, BRO has decided to continue working on the Manali-Rohtang highway until heavy snowfall blocks it permanently.

BRO official said that their men and machinery are engaged in metalling on the highway with ultra modern technique so that it would have no effect of the extreme weather conditions even at 13,000 feet height. BRO has a target to widen the highway till 11 metres and are working between Marhi and Rohtang pass. However the highway has been declared officially closed for civilian vehicles, BRO would face the light snowfalls and cold weather here.

“Work has been completed at Baralacha-la (16,050 feet) and now we are working on Rohtang pass. Hard work of the jawans in extreme weather would provide pleasant journey to Rohtang to tourists and locals after winter season in over,” BRO commander Colonel Yogesh Nair said.

The landslides on Manali-Rohtang highway had made the journey miserable in last three years. The 51km journey between Manali and Rohtang was taking three to five hours. But the condition of highway has been improved and the journey is taking only one hour.

>>Snowfall brings down temperature, cheers tourists

Manali: The fresh snowfall in higher reaches of Kullu and Lahaul-Spiti has brought down the temperature on Saturday.

Rohtang pass has received 10cm fresh snow. The adjoining peaks at height of over 12,000 feet also experienced moderate snowfall in the evening. Hundreds of tourists thronged Rohtang to witness the fresh snowfall on Saturday. Snowfall has triggered cold waves in the lower regions.

The crystal clear sunny sky changed its colour suddenly Saturday afternoon. The dark clouds hovering over the mountains started showering snowflakes but lower hills didn’t experience the rain. Tourism industry of Manali is hoping for a good time ahead due to abundance of snow at Rohtang.

The minimum temperature in Manali was recorded 2 degrees Celsius and it was -2.1 degrees Celsius in Keylong, the district headquarter of Lahaul-Spiti. Maximum temperature in Keylong was only 8.8 degrees Celsius in last 24 hours.

Local meteorological department has alerted of entering western disturbances in western Himalayas after November 13.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Miraculous ice Shiva lingam draws tourists to Anjani Mahadev temple

Himachal Vacation Travels News
MANALI: Those devotees of lord Shiva who could not visit Amarnath this year can have a ‘darshan’ of ice lingam at Anjani Mahadev temple near Solang in Manali. The ice lingam here has started forming its shape due to the instant freezing of seeping water in extremely cold climate.
Ice Shiva lingam at Anjani Mahadev temple near Solang
in Manali
Hundreds of devotees including tourists have thronged Anjani Mahadev temple to see the miracle of the nature. The night temperature here has dropped below the freezing point. Lingam gets its shape after drops of water from mountain fall on earth and freeze instantly. Ice lingam would continue rising till March and would attain its height upto 25 feet. According to nearby villagers, the lingam was discovered by a saint some 25 years back and has a same importance for them as has the Amarnath lingam.
“The mysterious lingam was so close to us but it remained out of our sight for years. Now when it has been discovered, it is the most divine place for us and thousands of tourists who visit this temple,” resident of Burua village, Hira Lal, said. According to him, the saint with the help of villagers has built a small temple here and is the only Shiva temple of nine villages of upper Manali. “We celebrate the unique Shivaratri here after pouring milk and Gangajal over the ice lingam,” he added.

Unlike Amarnath where devotees climb for hours, Anjani Mahadev is accessible only after 2km trek from Solang, 13km from Manali. Devotees may see lingam till mid April and then it melts away. Anjani Mahadev has become a popular tourist destination for thousands of tourists. “We got to know only after reaching Manali that Solang has an ice lingam similar to that in Amarnath and could not resist ourselves reaching here. It is amazing, beautiful and divine,” a tourist from Delhi, Vijay Shukla, said.
As the ice lingam is attracting thousands of tourists every year, dozens of villagers are earning good money after providing horse ride between Solang and Anjani Mahadev temple. Now the temple has been included in must see tourist spots of the Manali while villagers can be seen praying lingam all the day. The place is slowly being renowned as “chhota Amarnath”.