Winter has returned to Himachal Pradesh with the state experiencing widespread rain and snowfall in the past 24 hours, pushing down the mercury by several notches, the weather office here said on Friday.
Tourist spots near Shimla like Kufri and Narkanda experienced moderate snowfall, turning the hill stations more picturesque.
Nearby destinations near Manali and Kalpa, 250 km from here, also witnessed spells of snow.
"High altitude areas of Lahaul-Spiti, Kullu, Kinnaur, Chamba, Sirmaur and Shimla districts have been experiencing moderate snow since Wednesday," a Met official told IANS.
Lower areas in the state like Dharamsala, Palampur, Solan, Nahan, Bilaspur, Una, Hamirpur and Mandi towns received moderate to heavy rains, bringing a considerable fall in temperature.
The fresh snowfall is expected to bring more tourists to the hill state during the weekend, say hoteliers.
The state capital Shimla, which saw the night temperature at 5 degrees Celsius, recorded 31.7 mm rain.
Popular destination Manali saw a low two degrees with 47 mm rain. However, its nearby places like Atal Tunnel had moderate spells of snowfall — significant for the season.
The minimum temperature in Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti district was recorded at minus 1.4 degrees Celsius, the coldest in the state. It saw 20 cm snowfall.
Kalpa in Kinnaur district recorded a minimum of minus 0.5 degree with 15 cm snow. The Met department's forecast said western disturbances — storm systems originating in the Caspian Sea and moving across the Afghanistan-Pakistan region — would remain active till Saturday.