Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Snowfall brings tourists’ crowd to Manali

Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI: Who cares about biting cold when it’s bringing hot revenue to the tourism industry with thousands of tourists spending generously on their tour to snow covered Manali. Tourists, mostly newlywed couples, are enjoying their first romance with snow and hoteliers are busy in counting the cash.
Tourists on Mall Road, Manali
According to data from green tax barrier, the gateway to Manali, number of tourist vehicles entering the town has doubled in a week. Majority of visitors are honeymooners. Though few of them had booked their tours in advance, but most of the tourists are heading to mountains after listening to the news of snowfall. Hoteliers, who were disappointed by lean tourism season between August and November, are now happy with rising business.
Hotel occupancy rate which was below 20 per cent before December 10 has now increased to 50 to 60 per cent and is likely to go beyond 90 per cent after December 23. According to general manager of hotel Beas View, MS Sharma, hotel industry had a bad time till November but the snowfall has brought smiles back on the faces. “Many honeymooners want to see snowfall. And high chances of snowfall are drawing more and more newlyweds to Manali. We are expecting house full after December 20,” he said.
Sant Ram, manager in hotel Mountain Top, said, “Many tourists are visiting Manali with unplanned itinerary which means they just wanted to see the snow. We are hoping to recover our losses of last four months in next three winter months. No doubt snow is the backbone of tourism industry of Manali.”
Tourists’ crowd in Manali has also cheered hundreds of restaurant owners and shopkeepers who were suffering the slowdown. “I was selling maximum of 15 shawls a month till November. Now this number has increased to 10 to 20 shawls a day. We are hoping for more snowfall in Manali,” said Mohammad Maqbool, a shawl seller.
Tourist spots like Rohtang, Beas Nullah, Marhi and Gulaba have been closed for tourists after heavy snowfall. Thousands of tourists are now enjoying skiing, snow scooter ride, horse riding and paragliding at Solang valley.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Shimla and Manali receive first snowfall of the season

Himachal Vacation Travel News
SHIMLA/ MANALI/ DHARAMSHALA: Tourists dancing on the rhythm of fresh snowfall on the famous Ridge of Shimla and The Mall Road of Manali, hoteliers attending unprecedented inquiry phone calls from tourists, traffic moving with snail’s pace on several highways and farmers thanking almighty, this is how Himachal celebrated its first snowfall of season in lower regions on Tuesday.

Tourists enjoy snowfall on Mall Road, Manali
Snowfall in Shimla that started at 8.15am lasted only for 15 minutes, but tourists enjoyed first snowfall of Manali town all the day. Earlier in the morning hundreds of tourists thronged Solang valley to see snowfall. Later at 12pm when it started snowing in Manali town, tourists returned back to their hotel rooms. They enjoyed snowfall right from their room’s window while some excited enthusiasts were spotted making snowmen, snowballs and trying to eat the snowflakes.

Surjit and Pratibha, newlywed couple from Chandigarh, said: “We celebrated Christmas in advance. We are feeling like being in Antarctica.” According to the couple, they had an idea from weather forecast that Manali may witness snowfall this week and their decision of being here proved blessing for them.

Another tourist from Chennai, Rajan Sivakumar, said he had never imagined that he would say goodbye to 2012 with such beautiful memories. “We have no time to have our lunch. It is the miracle of beauty of snowfall that we are feeling no cold. Beautiful snowflakes have filled our body with warmth. I wish if I could stay here for some more days.”
Shimla after snowfall
According to hoteliers, snowfall has rejuvenated the tourism industry of the state. “We were desperately waiting for this moment. Finally snow has descended down the mountains and touched the towns. Inquiries are pouring in from across the country. More snowfall would definitely make our Christmas and New Year memorable,” said Vivek Kapoor, an hotelier.
Dhauladhar mountain ranges in Dharamshala also experienced moderate snowfall. Triund, above McLeod Ganj and Kufri, famous tourist spot of Shimla, received 5cm fresh snow. Manali recorded 8cm snowfall while Rohtang and Solang received 40cm and 15cm fresh snow respectively. Movement of tourists was strictly prohibited beyond Palchan towards Gulaba. Jalori pass, which connects Kullu with Anni and Nirmad sub-divisions, received 25cm fresh snow and the highway was blocked for vehicles.
Administration was monitoring the movement of tourists in Manali as lured by snowfall usually they put themselves in trouble. “We are keeping a close watch on tourists and locals too. People are advised not to venture close to the isolated areas and drive carefully on slippery snow,” Manali sub-divisional magistrate Balbir Thakur said.
More snowfall in store for Himachal
SHIMLA: High hills of Himachal would experience more snowfall in next five days. According to a bulletin released by meteorological department, Shimla, high hills of Himachal would received heavy snowfall while mid and lower hills would receive rains with thunderstorms in next five days.

Upper Manali (near Nehru Kund) after fresh snowfall

The vigorous western disturbances generating from Mediterranean Sea and advancing over the Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir are showing their effects in Himachal Pradesh. High hills of the state have received up to 60cm snow in last 15 hours. Maximum temperature has decreased by 1 to 2 degrees Celsius in last 24 hours while no change was noticed in minimum temperature.
With minimum temperature of -2.9 degrees Celsius, Keylong was the coldest place in Himachal followed by Kalpa (-1.2) and Manali (2). Minimum temperature of Shimla, Sundernagar, Bhuntar, Dharamshala, Una, Mandi, Nahan, Palampur and Solan was settling at 3.6, 6.1, 8.4, 6.4, 8.6, 3.7, 8.3, 9 and 3.5 degrees Celsius respectively.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Snowfall rejuvenates tourism industry, sets slopes for skiing

Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI: First spell of snowfall in Manali has proved boon for the tourism industry as thousands of ski lovers are heading to the hill town in December. Meanwhile, Manali based Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (ABVIMAS) has announced skiing courses from January 11, 2013.
Skiing in Manali, Himachal Pradesh, India
Though the ski  slopes above Solang valley are covered with very thin layer of snow which is inadequate for professional skiing, but the skiers are heading towards Fatru and Gulaba to find the new slopes. Nowadays, hundreds of tourists carrying rented skis are reaching the various slopes to enjoy the skiing. After five months of rest, over one hundred local ski instructors are also back to their job.
“More snow on slopes means more fun and more money,” an instructor Sandeep Kumar said, adding that the snowfall has ensured pleasant time for skiing till June next year. “Over 50% of the tourists visiting Manali definitely try their hands on skiing. Our livelihood is totally dependent on snowfall.”
According to ABVIMAS director Randir Singh Salhuria, people from many states are already booking for the skiing courses that are beginning from January 11. “We are hoping for good snowfall in January when short and long term ski courses in various categories would be started at Solang. Special ski courses would be conducted between January 11 and 27, February 11 and 27, March 14 and 29. Six 14-days basic courses and two intermediate skiing courses would also be organized,” he said.
Apart from the fixed courses, institute organizes special ski course on request if a group of 20 or more skiers demands for it. Jawans of Indian Air Force, Indian Navy, NSS and other national institutions also learn the skiing techniques from the institute between January and April. Apart from the courses for newbie, the institute organizes a 21-days method of instruction skiing course which is specially designed for the instructors. Salhuria said that interested people from any part of the world can apply for any of the courses.
Harish Thakur, another ski instructor in Manali said, “The temperature is quite favourable for skiing. Inquiries are pouring in for ski courses. Our mountains have enough snow for skiing till the next spell of snowfall. Apart from generating sources of income for us, snow is thrilling the tourists.”