MANALI: Cold waves are likely to break records of last many years in Himachal as even rivers and lakes have started to freeze at many parts of the state under intense cold conditions. If you want to experience the winters of Himachal, this is the right time to visit.
Chandra and Bhaga rivers of Lahaul, which gives birth to Chenab river, have frozen under extreme cold conditions. A layer of ice has covered most of the surface of the Chandra river and edges of Chenab too have covered with ice. Miyar river, tributary of Chenab too has started to freeze. The waterfalls in Lahaul and upper areas of Manali, Kinnaur and Chamba have turned hanging icicles. High altitude lakes including Chandertal, Surajtal, Deepak Tal, Rani Sui, Dashaur and Bhrigu had frozen in November. Unfortunately, most of these places including Lahaul valley have become inaccessible for tourists in winters. Now that temperature is dipping fast, water sources in lower areas are freezing where tourists can experience the winter season.
Keylong, district headquarters of Lahaul-Spiti district, recorded minimum temperature of minus 11.1 degrees C on Wednesday, the lowest in the state. Kalpa in Kinnaur recorded minimum temperature of minus 4 degrees C. Manali too recorded the lowest temperature of the season at minus 3.4 degrees C. Night temperature of Shimla settled at 2.7 degrees C. Both minimum and maximum temperatures in state are 1 to 3 degrees below normal temperature during this time of the season.
“Waterfalls in Lahaul have frozen. Edges of Chandra-Bhaga rivers are covered with ice. Waters of Chenab is carrying ice with it. The cold is biting residents. Even the sun has no warmth. January and February will surely bring record cold this season,” a resident Sudarshan said.
Temperature in some parts of Spiti valley is expected to have dipped below minus 15 degrees C. Spiti river has frozen and hard layer of ice on surface has become walkable at some places. The source of Beas river near Rohtang has also frozen. Many nullahs and small tributaries have dried up as their sources have completely frozen. Freezing of the sources of the rivers and their tributaries have resulted in decrease in water level which eventually is affecting power generation in the state.
In Manali, layer of frost is covering everything during morning hours. The water is turning ice. Drinking water taps in higher regions are freezing. Large numbers of people here are suffering from cold and cough.
Himachal did not feel winter cold last year when mercury was above the normal temperature. Himachal witnesses peak cold in January and February when temperature in Lahaul dips as low as minus 20 degrees C. The active cold waves in state have started to affect the normal lives and residents of upper Himachal are preferring staying indoors most of the time. Water level in rivers will further decrease in coming days when sources will freeze completely. Impact of this cold will soon be visible in neighbouring states like Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi.