MANALI: In contrast to the scorching heat of planes, heavy snowfall has created winter-like conditions here, with temperature plummeting to 6.8 degrees Celsius on Friday.
To the surprise of thousands of tourists visiting Manali
, the rare summer snowfall has added a thrilling experience to their vacation. Used to air conditioners/coolers at their homes at this time of the year, they were forced to switch on room heaters to survive in the uncommon cold environment of Manali in mid-May. “A unique experience,” said a himachal vacation client from Gujarat, Harshdeep Saha, adding, “I was shivering like in winters of December. I was uncomfortable in a woollen blanket and heavy quilt.”
According to Manai-based Him-Anchal taxi operator union president Gupt Ram Thakur, more than 1,000 taxis, carrying around 4,000 tourists, had headed towards Rahla Fall, current snow point of Manali, with expectations to be lucky to see fresh snowflakes. “Though they could not enjoy fresh snowfall, as, for safety reasons, the administration has restricted tourist movement beyond Rahla Fall, but still they enjoyed the weather, with heaps of pre-accumulated snow here,” he said.
Photos: Himachal Vacation Travel Co’s Clients enjoying snow at Solang Valley
Reports from Rohtang said the 13,050-feet high pass had recorded 6 inches of fresh snow since Friday morning. “Rohtang has been experiencing heavy snowfall since Thursday night and temperature has dipped below the freezing point here,” Border Roads Organization officer-commandant Major Praveen Yerunkar said over the phone. Rahni Nullah, 8 km below the pass, has received 3 inches snow while lower regions including Marhi, Gulaba and Manali were experiencing rain, coupled with thunderstorm, he added.
Manali recorded maximum temperature of 10.7 degree Celsius on Friday, according to weather gauge of Snow Avalanche and Study Establishment, Manali. Overcast skies and mist reduced visibility to 40% and hailstorms hit apple harvesting at several places in Kinnaur and Kullu districts, sources said.