There is a good news for winter lovers. The high Himalayan peaks have just received fresh snowfall and sent chilling waves towards the plains. Parts of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir were covered with the first winter snow after a spell of rainfall hit them. The temperatures have gone way below zero degrees and are expected to descend in the coming days.
The western disturbances hit the states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and J&K around 13th November. Though such disturbances had been visiting the region from a month now but they were too weak to have any effect on the climatic conditions leaving these areas dry throughout September and October.
The north-western region is affected by western disturbances during winter months which helps in precipitation and eventually snowfall.
These western disturbances not only bring cold temperatures but are also helpful for the tourism industry in the above said areas. Famous places like Shimla, Manali, Kashmir and Ladakh attract a different set of tourists who want to experience winters in all their glory.
Rohtang Pass (13,050 ft), near Manali, received 6-inch snowfall on 16th November while Poonch and Sonamarg districts were also in full winter mode after receiving the first snowfall of the season. Kothi village in Manali also received the winter blessings when it got snow clad yesterday. Lahaul and Spiti areas remain closed for almost 3 months starting November due to snowfall at Rohtang to which the Rohtang tunnel might come to rescue within a couple of years. The disconnection from the rest of the country for a quarter of the year requires the people living at such high altitudes to stock up their essentials like food, fodder, gas, firewood and the like. One of the most harsh winters are seen to fall upon these regions in January when the bare necessities go empty and the people have to rely on primitive methods of survival.
Winters not only affect humans but cattle as well. The people have to get shelters for their cattle ready to prevent casualties. Medical emergency products like first aid, oxygen cylinders and basic medicines need to be kept handy.
Amid all such preparations, Komic, a village in the upper belt of Spiti is experiencing scarcity of water. The retreating glaciers and inadequate snowfall during peak winters is leaving the ponds and streams dry, thereby forcing the farmers to leave half of their fields barren. Most of the trans-himalayan villages depend on water obtained from snowfall. Winters have now begun in these regions and the locals hope for a good amount of snowfall to help them make the most out of it in the summer months. Being a rainshadow area, this region receives no monsoon rains making it even more dry. It is only the winters that save them from running out of water throughout the year.
Winters are, thus, very important for the people living high up in the Himalayas. It not only has natural benefits for the people of the region but also money-making opportunities for the people who have nothing left to do due to the blocked roads.
With the onset of snowy winters, winter adventure sports are also ready to bloom once again in areas like Solang Valley and Gulmarg. It is a great opportunity for the locals to earn while their full time jobs are at a halt due to the blocked roads. Snowboarding, skiing and snow scooter riding are some of the activities taken up during winters which entertain the tourists and fill up a few local pockets.
All in all, it is that time of the year again when a cup of hot tea, warm blankets, fireplaces and comfy homes are your best friends. The commotion of the busy life is over and now the months of utmost relaxation and peace are here. Winter is finally here people! Are you ready?