Starting with a White Christmas in Shimla, several towns in the northern hills of India have received snowfall this winter. While the relatively lower-altitude areas like Kasauli and Chail saw tourists bee-lining to experience snow, normal life in several areas including towns in Kashmir saw normal life being paralysed as snow blocked roads. Here is a list of the states that received snowfall this season:
Jammu and Kashmir
Srinagar recorded its first snowfall on January 4. The other areas which witnessed snowfall included Ganderbal, Keran, Machil, Karnah, Gurez, Shopian, Sonamarg and Amarnath cave along with surrounding areas. Heavy snowfall in the Valley is attracting hundreds of tourists from various parts of the country and abroad.
Skiers are flocking to the slopes of Gulmarg, considered one of the best skiing destinations in the world. While the snow cover at Gulmarg bowl is 3-4 feet deep, it is more than 6 feet deep in the upper parts of Gulmarg Kondori and Affarwath. The state tourism department is even planning to organise a winter carnival, where several activities will be organised between January 22 and February 5 at Gulmarg and Pahalgam.
On Christmas, Shimla witnessed the season’s first snowfall as tourists flocking to the holiday destination were welcomed by sleet that quickly morphed itself into snow. Nearby areas of Chail, Kasauli and Kufri quickly followed. Other tourist destinations like Kullu, Manali, Chamba and Dalhousie too have received heavy snowfall.
With roads covered in thick blankets of snow, supply of essential commodities and transportation of struck tourists was hampered. In several areas, electricity supply was disrupted due to snapping of transmission lines and water supply was affected due to bursting of pipes.
Nearly 90 per cent of Shimla was without power on Monday despite claims of having resorted power in major parts of the town including priority areas such as hospitals. Rain also lashed other areas like Palampur, Solan, Nahan, Bilaspur, Una, Hamirpur and Mandi, bringing down the temperatures. The officials have also been advising tourists not to venture into remote areas.
Nainital experienced its first snowfall in almost two years, with the minimum temperature falling to -1°C. Both Nainital and Mussoorie received 15 cm of snow. Kilbury, Ayaarpatta, Naina Peak, Snow View received more snow than the lower parts of the town.
Most of the higher Himalayan ranges, including Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamnotri, Gangotri, Chopta, Tungnath, Rudranath and Auli received fresh snowfall while the middle Himalayan ranges of Tehri, Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Rudraprayag and Pauri districts are experiencing incessant rain.