Thousands of revellers gather in Himachal to bid goodbye to 2018

Thousands of revellers gather in Himachal to bid goodbye to 2018

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Shimla: Tourists throng The Ridge. (Photo: IANS)
Shimla/Manali, Dec 31 (IANS) Tens of thousands of holidaymakers on Monday gathered across resorts in Himachal Pradesh to bid goodbye to 2018.
Seeing the tourist rush, the police advised the revellers to start leaving the Ridge, the most famous promenade in Shimla, as the clocks strike midnight.
"Our policemen will greet tourists after midnight and will request them to vacate the Ridge and the Mall," a senior police officer told IANS.
He said this step would be taken as a precautionary measure to prevent any untoward incident.
The most sought-after destinations were Shimla, Kufri, Narkanda, Kasauli, Chail, Dharamsala, Palampur, Dalhousie and Manali and the revellers have to be prepared to sleep out in cars overnight if they did not get hotel bookings in advance.
Most of the hotels have been sold out in advance, members of the hospitality industry warned.
"Most of our properties in Shimla, Chail, Kufri, Kasauli, Dharamsala, Palampur and Manali have been sold out till January 3," Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) General Manager Sarla Chopra told IANS.
She said most of the guests have been enquiring about the possibility of snowfall on the New Year's Eve and later.
Over 50,000 tourists are expected to visit the state to ring in New Year, tourism industry experts said.
The popular tourist town of Narkanda, some 65 km from Shimla, saw last spell of snow on December 12 but it melted within a few days.
So was Shimla, known for the imperial grandeur of buildings that were once institutions of power when it was the summer capital of British India, where the entire snow cover disappeared.
Shimla's meteorological office Director Manmohan Singh told IANS tourist towns like Shimla, Narkanda, Kufri, Manali and Dalhousie, located in mid-hills, may witness moderate snowfall from January 1.
The mountain peaks viewed from Shimla's historic Ridge, Dharamsala and Palampur towns are wrapped in a thick white blanket of snow.
Manali is a magnet for holidaymakers these days owing to plentiful snow in its nearby hills.
"Nearby hills of Manali that have good accumulation of snow have been attracting the tourists," a Manali-based travel agent Gobind Thakur said.
Gauri Saklani, a tourist in Shimla, said: "I prefer to travel to the hills from Delhi in winter when the plains are foggy and the mountains are basking in the mellow sun."
Himachal Pradesh has no tourist accommodation in far-off areas. Rural home-stays that started in 2008 were driving tourists to the interiors and that were the best option to stay.
At present, over 900 home-stay units have been registered in the state. Out of these, over 250 are in the Kullu-Manali region.
The state's economy is highly dependent on tourism, besides hydroelectric power and horticulture.
The state has attracted 196.02 lakh tourists last year, 2.9 times of its population, said state's Economic Survey 2017-18, adding that it has 63 operational helipads.
--IANS
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(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

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