Hills under white cover..Chilly weather in North India

Shimla, Dec 12: Even as snow eluded Himachal Pradesh's capital Shimla on Tuesday, the picturesque tourist town of Manali experienced mild snow, this winter season's first. There are chances of more rain and snow in the hill state till Wednesday, officials said.

"Manali and the hills overlooking it experienced mild to moderate snow. There are chances of more snow till Wednesday," an official at the meteorological office here told IANS.

According to the Met office, Shimla recorded 14 mm rainfall, with chances of snow early on Wednesday.

The Met said weather would remain dry after Wednesday as western disturbances would recede from the region.

The picturesque Kothi, near Manali, recorded 37 cm snowfall, the highest in the state, while Rohtang Pass at an altitude of 13,050 feet, 52 km from Manali, also recorded a fair amount of snow.

The pass, which links Manali with Keylong in Lahaul Valley, was closed for traffic after snow.

Shimla residents shivered as icy winds brought down the minimum temperature to 4 degrees Celsius whereas the maximum stayed at 8.3 degrees. Shimla saw intermittent rain throughout the day.

Tourist spots near Shimla, like Kufri and Narkanda, experienced mild snow, turning these hill stations even more picturesque.

Tourists from the plains began to descend on Manali and Kufri.

Kalpa, about 250 km from the state capital, experienced 10 cm of snow. It recorded a low of minus 0.2 degrees.

"High-altitude areas of Lahaul and Spiti, Chamba, Mandi, Kullu, Kinnaur and Shimla districts have been experiencing intermittent snow since Monday," the official added.

Rains lashed towns in lower hills in Himachal such as Dharamsala, Palampur, Solan, Nahan, Bilaspur, Una, Hamirpur and Mandi, pushing down the mercury.

Dalhousie in Chamba district recorded 108 mm of rain, the highest in the state.

Peaks overlooking popular tourist sites like Shimla, Dharamsala and Palampur also got snow.

"We are hopeful of getting tourists in good numbers in Manali and nearby areas due to this season's first snow," Manali Hoteliers Association President Gajinder Thakur told IANS on phone.

The season's first snowfall fell at various places in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir has ensured chilly weather in North India with sudden drop in day temperatures. According to the MeT department, temperatures across North India will fall significantly from December 13 onwards