Shimla gears up for year-end festivities, tourists wistful for snowy scenes | Travel

The police in Shimla district said they were anticipating a huge rush of visitors ahead of Christmas and the year-end festivities. Police said they were expecting over one lakh tourist vehicles to roll into the hill town in the last week of December, on the eve of Christmas and New Year. The Mayor of Shimla City has planned the first-ever winter carnival to draw tourists to the state for the year-end festivities and frolicking while also promoting the traditions and culture of Himachal Pradesh.

Shimla gears up for year-end festivities, tourists wistful for snowy scenes(Unsplash/yash kiran)

Tourists have already started arriving in the hilly state in numbers in anticipation of snowfall in the exotic locales as the year draws to a close. Speaking to ANI, Sanjeev Kumar Gandhi, Superintendent of Police (SP) of Shimla, said, “The police are expecting over one lakh tourist vehicles to roll into the hill town in the last week of this year.”

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“Police brace for myriad challenges as the seasons change in Shimla. The number of vehicles in the city has been increasing on weekends. We will serve as facilitators for the tourists, those involved in the hospitality business and other stakeholders. We will hold meetings with all the stakeholders. Roads laden with snow are also a big challenge for us in winter. We have divided the city into five sectors, each of which will be assigned a rescue team,” Gandhi added.

“There is a steady increase in tourist vehicles. There is a particular number of vehicles entering the city from the Shogi Barrier. There are usually about 5,000 to 6,000 vehicles rolling into the city every day. However, the count has now gone up to 12000 to 13000 ahead of the year-end festivities. We expect this number to rise further to 20,000 around Christmas and the New Year,” SP Gandhi added.

“We have planned to deploy 10 platoons, which would further enable us to press 200 additional forces into action if required. The additional personnel would be deployed for both traffic management and security,” Gandhi said.

The week-long winter carnival will start on Christmas Day, December 25, in the afternoon. The Shimla Municipal Corporation is hopeful of a revival of tourism businesses here. The mayor is also keen to send across a message of clean and green tourism in the hills through the carnival.

“We are planning a winter carnival for the first time in Shimla. I have been conducting meetings with the stakeholders and officials over the past three days. We are ready to showcase our traditional folk dance forms and musical instruments. The chief minister will inaugurate the week-long winter carnival on December 25. We will also organise a traditional folk dance featuring 500 women,” Surinder Chauhan, the mayor of Shimla, said. The tourists, meanwhile, are enjoying the cold weather conditions and snowfall in the city.

“There is a huge tourist rush. There’s a biting cold but the weather gets more pleasant as the sun breaks through the clouds. We are enjoying ourselves here. Tourists can barely hold off an urge to visit Shimla around Christmas and New Year. I would recommend a visit to Shimla at this time. We were expecting some snowfall but there hasn’t been any yet. I have decided to visit Shimla again in January, next year. We will schedule our travel after following the weather forecast as we don’t want to miss out on the snowfall next time,” Soutirtha Biswas, a tourist from West Bengal, said.

He was one among many visitors, who, while enjoying the prevailing pleasant weather in the hill-state, rued not to have experienced any snowfall yet. “It has been a very good experience so far. I expected the weather to be this cold. I hoped to experience some snowfall as well around this time but there hasn’t been any since I arrived. This is an ideal tourism destination in December,” Ankit, a tourist from Bihar, told ANI.

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