Thursday, 7 February 2013

Despite havoc, tourists throng Himachal to enjoy snowfall

SHIMLA: Despite paralyzed roads, power, water supply and communication facilities, the glittering snow has continued attracting thousands of tourists to Himachal Pradesh who are ready to pay any cost to enjoy this precious gift from almighty.
These days this is common view on roads of Himachal when tourists are pushing their cars that have stuck in snow or couples walking on blocked roads to reach their destinations with luggage in hands. Most of the hotels have no heating arrangements and taxi drivers are charging huge fares. But the number of tourists arriving in state is not decreasing despite very heavy snowfall since Monday. Not only honeymooners, but hundreds of families and winter sports lovers from plains are rushing to Shimla, Manali, Dalhousie and other tourist resorts of the state. Very few are complaining of problems that they are facing but others are enjoying cold and white nectar to the full extent.
Heavy snowfall in Himachal. Pic: Manali-Rohtang highway
“Closure of roads and power failure is common on hill stations after heavy snowfall. Contrary to complaining, we should understand the situation and enjoy the weather,” a tourist from Noida, Manshu Ahuja, said, who himself had to walk to reach his hotel in Manali on Wednesday. Another tourist from Chandigarh, Sumit Kumar, who stuck in traffic jam for whole day to reach Manali, said, “We are here to see snowfall and not the traffic jams. Authorities should arrange for proper machineries to remove the snow fast and appropriately.”
According to sources, in addition to over 700 tourist vehicles, including 30 Volvo and other tourist buses, many private cars wearing non-Himachali registration number are entering Shimla, Manali, Dalhousie and Dharamshala every day. However its off season in Himachal, but constant arrival of tourists is keeping hoteliers’ chin up.
Tourists from neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi have thronged Shimla to see the snowfall. Shimla has received 15cm snow since last 24 hours. Snowfall continued on Wednesday and tourists congregated on the Ridge to enjoy it. Tourists are enjoying snowfall in Dalhousie, but hoteliers in Khajjiar were not happy as tourists are avoiding this beautiful place due to weak infrastructure and chances of road blockade.
As according to forecast, weather would be pleasant after Friday, hotel occupancy in Shimla, Manali and Dalhousie is likely to increase by 10 to 20 per cent. “Even more tourists from neighbouring states would throng Himachal after two days when weather would be dry. We expect numbers of tourist to be double by the next week,” a hotelier, Roop Singh Negi, said.
Meanwhile, denying the reports by national TV channels and newspapers that dozens of ski trainees have been stranded in Solang Valley near Manali, director of AtalBihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports, Randhir Singh Salhuria, said all students are safe and having fun in fresh snow. “Parents of these trainees are concerned about their children. Some irresponsible persons have published these fake reports. Children are safe in their hostels at Solang,” he added.

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