Sunday, 29 May 2011

Adventure angling (fishing) booms in HP

Himachal Vacation Travel News
Shimla: Bored with common games and outings? Angling in the cold waters of Himachal could make a big difference. Pick up your fishing rod and try your luck with a gate pass to angler’s paradise for only Rs 100 per day.
Introduced in India by British people in early nineteenth century, adventure angling is becoming a popular water sport among tourists in Himachal Pradesh. HP Fisheries Department has made adequate arrangements for their delight. Angling as a sport is being increasingly recognized by the medical authorities in western countries, as, lured to chase more and more fishes, sometimes anglers walk more than 20km a day. Himachal has 2,400 km long streams of fresh trout waters. Beas, Sutlej, Tirthan, Sainj, Ravi, Uhl, Pabar, Baspa, Giri, Lambadug, Nugal, Rana, Bata, Gai and Baner are the major streams with abundance of trout, mahseer, nemacheilus, spp, barlius sp, schizothoracids crossocheilus sp.
HP fishery department director BD Sharma told Himachal Vacation that the interested anglers would have to get license only for rod and line in trout water while in 600 km long streams of general water both rod and line as well as cast netting is allowed without license. “We have identified 32 to 40 km of angling reserve area as potential fishing sports for both brown and rainbow trout and mahseer, where one can fish with joy. Angler is permitted to catch maximum of six trout a day on each license and trout should not be less than 40 cm in size,” he said.
Sharma added that both domestic and foreign tourists were taking more and more interest in this western sport and department has very easy norms for tourists to get the license. He said, “We are trying our best to provide the global tourists an unforgettable angling experience which would help increase the governmental revenue. We are receiving number of applications for angling license. Tirthan and Sainj rivers in Kullu are the famous among foreign tourists.”

Saturday, 28 May 2011

No tourist at Rohtang till June 2

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Himachal Vacation Travel News

Tourists enjoy tube sliding at Marhi on Friday

Rohtang Pass: Given the safety of tourists, they are not allowed to move beyond the Marhi, 17 km before Rohtang (35 km from Manali). BRO has decided to repair the highway first. A meeting would be held at Rohtang on June 2 and after taking stock of the entire highway up to ‘zero point’ on Rohtang, BRO would decide whether it would be safe for tourists to reach Rohtang or the period should further be extended. Till then, they would have to enjoy the snow on the downhill of Rohtang.
June 2 would decide whether Tourists would be lucky enough to see the scenic views of Rohtang pass or they will have to wait for some more days...

Friday, 27 May 2011

Manali-Keylong highway opens for traffic

Himachal Vacation Travel News
Manali: The Manali-Keylong highway has been opened for vehicular movement. A state transport 42-seater bus filled with passengers successfully reached Manali from Keylong on Friday. Around two dozen light vehicles, too, crossed the Rohtang pass after almost six months.
BRO officials takes stock of the highway at Rahni Nullah, 10 km below Rohtang pass
Border Roads Organisation has given strict instructions that all non-military vehicles would be allowed to cross the pass before 8 am or after 5 pm only. Tourists or tourist vehicles would not be allowed to go beyond the Marhi. Organization commander AK Dixit told Himachal Vacation that the highway was still dangerous and under maintenance, so vehicles should only ply under the given instructions for their welfare.
“A HRTC bus has successfully crossed the pass. Widening of the highway is being carried on at war footing. Hopefully the regular traffic would be restored within a week,” Dixit told Himachal Vacation.

Landslide continues at Rahni Nullah

Himachal Vacation Travel News

BRO struggles to keep the Manali-Rohtang highway open
Manali: Around 300 meter stretch of highway between Rahni Nullah and Marhi has been sinking with regular flow of melting snow. This area has been marked as ‘Red Zone’ by border roads organization which has been annoying them since August last year. The non-stop round the year seeping water has made mountain above the highway boggy which is regularly coming downward with very slow pace. No remedy has been found to overcome this problem.

BRO labourers at work at sinking zone near Rahni Nullah

The organization, however, successfully made a link through the region but the traffic movement above marsh and below falling debris is not less than driving in death traps. BRO commander AK Dixit said they are doing their best to make the stretch comfortable and safe till June 2. “We have deployed a dozer at sinking zone to keep the traffic regular. We are applying every possible technique to freeze the mountain,” he told Himachal Vacation.

Only fun? Rohtang has a lot to teach!

Himachal Vacation Travel News

Tourist rush at Beas Kund, 18 km before Rohtang pass

Rohtang pass (Manali): Drenched with extremely cold water that just came out of glacier, they were trembling badly with severe cold and wandering in semi-unconscious state to find a piece of snowless land; hungry and completely exhausted. Finally they succeeded and snatched a pair of chair from a Bengali family who was searching for a same comfortable rest. Then they looked at the faces of each other and laughed out loudly and ordered three cups tea from a temporary built dhaba. Successful in their aim, the proud parents had taught their son a lesson that he would never forget in his entire life.
Nipun Bansal and Manjula Bansal, tourists from New Delhi, had shown their 12-year-old child, Harshu (Harshit) some miracles of nature which would help him live a better and nature friendly life. Harshu, 7th standard student was always curious to know that how a river emerges from snows and how the glaciers were melting fast. He always wanted to know that why trees cannot grow on the peaks of mountains and natural water was clean only at the sources without human interference.
Doctors by profession, Nipun and Manjula were visiting Rohtang for second time but Harshu was witnessing snow for the very first time. Manjula said Harshu was asking such a question explaining which was not possible for both of them. So they decided to demonstrate things practically for him which then would be a perfect mean of holidaying. “We managed to reach close to a glacier near Rahni Nullah. We showed him how snow was melting to form small stream and many streams together were forming a shape of river. An elderly shopkeeper told us that once the length of this glacier was in kilometres but now it had receded only to some meters,” she said.
Master Harshu was not in mood to talk junk and he was busy prying the place. “Don’t tease me please,” he said. When requested to express his feel, he merrily said, “Now I knew that the heaps of snows were not letting seedling to grow freely and human intervention was polluting water starting from its origin. I’ve visited Rohtang, now it should be closed for others; otherwise, they would pollute this white snow.”
It was being noticed at Marhi that along with fun, tourists were learning a lot from nature. Around a dozen small glaciers on the way to Rohtang and the fading colour of river Beas which was turning muddy after meeting the water melted with repeated walks of tourists was teaching them lot more than books of global warming and pollution. Ph: 9459248960

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Hotels jam packed, tourists grapple to find rooms in Manali


Himachal Vacation Travel News
A tourist does skiing at Marhi
Manali: Even after having more bedding capacity than Delhi, the hotels and resorts of hill town Manali are fully occupied due to peak summer season. Tourists visiting Manali without making advance reservations are abusing their decisions as they are wandering streets of the town finding rooms in every hotel.
The summer season has gained momentum in Manali. The tourists are finding it hard to book a room in their desired hotel. Manali has more than 600 registered hotels and resorts with more capacity of more than 30,000 beds, beside around 110 home stay units. Even then almost all the hotels have already been reserved. Those visiting Manali without advance booking or confirmation are being annoyed by the unsuccessful search for room. The same scenario was being noticed in 2009 when many tourists had to spend all nights in their cars.
A tourist couple Adarsh and Sumitha from Jaipur who reached Manali on Tuesday late night in their private vehicle knocked at two dozen hotels and resorts but could not find a room for them. Talking to TOI, the desperate couple said, “We enquired at about 20 hotels situated adjacent to the highway in Manali but all said they have no room for us. Finally a local taxi driver guided us gently and made our reservation at a small guest house in a village somewhere. Guest house owner made his consent to provide us room on the condition that we would have to leave the room on Thursday morning. Now we are searching for another hotel.”
A scenic view of mountain on the way to Rohtang pass
Ramesh Kapoor, general manager of hotel Samrat said tourists are making advance booking at least a week before their arrival and their hotel is all booked for June month. Harish Sharma, general manager of hotel Greenfield said their rooms are packed for next three weeks but they were receiving hundreds of enquiries for rooms. The same condition was in most of the hotels in Manali. Even most of the standard hotels are fully occupied.
Manali hoteliers’ association president Gajender Thakur said the regular snowfall on Rohtang pass has done the miracle and more than thirty thousand tourists are flocking to Manali every day. “We have been advising tourists to confirm their stay before coming here; otherwise, they may have to face many difficulties. If any guest faces such problems, they should consult the authorized office of hoteliers’ association on Mall Road,” he said.

A tourist killed in river rafting mishap, company banned


Himachal Vacation Travel News
Manali: A 20-year-old tourist from Delhi was killed while five others were rescued when a raft they were riding capsized and they fell into the cold water of Beas on Tuesday evening.
According to Kullu SP Abhishek Dular, a group of six boys from Delhi had reached Manali on May 22 for holidays and after a full day sightseeing to Rohtang on 23, they planned to enjoy the rafting on May 24 when this mishap occurred. “All were businessmen. Ten persons were onboard the raft including a guide and three rowers. They started from Raison near Kullu. Guide chose wrong course and raft was trapped in a huge rapid. The raft overturned and all riders fell into the river,” Dular said.
He said five tourists were saved by guide and rowers but Nitin Chhabra, resident of Gyan Park, New Delhi died on the spot. According to investigating officer, inspector Hari Singh, all tourists were wearing life jackets but the boy fell into water with his head down and died with shock.
River rafting in Beas in Kullu
Munish Chhabra, a rescued tourist said they were enjoying the rafting but this accident has turned their holiday into mourning. “Everything was fine at beginning but a sudden jerk sent us all into the water. Water was cold and stream was very sharp. We were recovered but Nitin died at the spot,” he said.

After the post-mortem, body was handed over to his relatives on Wednesday. The guide of the raft was arrested under section 340(A), 336 of IPC act for negligence on his part but later he was released on bail.
The accident has revealed certain shocking things. The rafting company was providing its services to the tourists without any governmental approval. The company was not registered with Himachal Pradesh Tourism Department. Administration has imposed strict ban on company. District tourism development officer has advised all tourists to ensure the registration of company before booking such activities.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Snow-cutters meet at Rohtang, traffic to be restored soon

Himachal Vacation Travel News
Manali: With the meeting of two snow cutters at Rohtang from both sides of the 13,050 feet high pass on Monday, the Manali-Keylong highway is ready to host the traffic after six-month-long period.
Snow has been cleared from the 129 km stretch between Manali and Keylong. Manali-Keylong-Leh highway was blocked following a heavy snowfall in winters and Lahaul-Spiti district of Himachal was cut off from the rest of country since December 19, 2010. According to border roads organization officials, their vehicles would cross the Rohtang on Wednesday while they are making the highway fit for civilians. “The task was very hard but we made it,” 38 border roads task force, a wing of the border roads organization, commander AK Dixit said. He added that soon the traffic would be allowed to cross the Rohtang pass but before that their aim is to widen the highway for the safe journey.

The beautiful moment when Dozers from Manali and Lahaul-Spiti meet at Rohtang

You won’t believe we have cut through the mountains of 50 to 60 feet of snows. Right now we have made way to only one side traffic. In case another vehicle comes from opposite side, it is very difficult to cross them at the same time as 20 to 30 feet high walls of snow are protecting the edges of highway. Preparation of parking space at Rohtang and work of road widening is on at war footing,” commanding officer of the wing, Praveen Yerunkar said.
This is the day of happiness for tribal people of Lahaul-Spiti who have once again connected to the outer world. Having faced with many adversities, people of Lahaul will soon take the benefit of bus service as ointment to their wounds.
BRO officials said tourists shall only be allowed to reach Rohtang after almost a week as the flood of traffic can cause havoc there. Tourists would be able to enjoy the stunning views of Rohtang soon. After making the highway safe for traffic, we shall move to Baralacha-la and put our entire power to restore Manali-Leh highway, commander said.
A Border Roads Organization jeep taking stock of the highway near Marhi

Last year BRO had restored the Manali-Keylong highway in record time on April 15. But this time, record 50 feet snow on Rohtang had caused trouble for both BRO and tribals of Lahaul-Spiti.
Soon after listening to the news of restoration of highway up to Rohtang, the Himachal Vacation Travel Company is flooded with the enquiries from across the country and abroad as well. Excitement and love of tourists for snow and Rohtang pass is simply clear from the fact that countless bookings are pouring in since morning today (Monday). We hope for a long winter season over scorching summers of plains at Rohtang and Manali.

Singaporean newbie warm up in Himalayas for celebrations of independence

Himachal Vacation Travel News
Manali: Having succeeded in climbing 17,330 feet high Shitidhar peak in western Himalayas, this group of ten Singaporean climbers has qualified their test to summit Mount Everest in 2015 to celebrate 50 years of Independence.
Singapore had gained sovereignty as the Republic of Singapore in 1965 (separated from Malaysia) and on the completion of successful 50 years of independence; it is going to organize a national expedition to summit Mount Everest in 2015. The 10 member team of expedition would be a part of national team. And this expedition was just a warm-up exercise for the fiery youngsters.

Group of climbers from Singapore after they summit Shitidhar peak

Keen to do something big for their nation, Sofian, Paul, Seems, Sam, Yus, Ismail, Akbar, Jaul, Kunal and John, all amateur climbers, had to face adverse weather conditions from the very first day. They were on tour to India with plans to summit 17,500 feet high Peak Ladakhi but after frequent failed attempts due to snowfall and flurries they dropped. But their courage been never short and they attempted Shitidhar peak and their hard work paid off.
“No one can beat beautiful but deadly Himalayas,” after reaching Manali on Monday evening, a climber Paul said. “Before attempting Everest, we will be learning the snow and ice craft techniques and climbing procedures from local instructors. In celebrations of 50 years of Independence, we shall not forget the Indians who helped us reach the heights of the world,” he said.
Khem Raj Thakur, a local adventure company owner, who had organized the expedition for Singaporeans, said all participants were given ten days basic training before climbing at base camp. “Though they have no experience about the climbing but they want to do something big for their nation. This was their insanity that even after backlashes of snow, rain and high velocity winds, they continued their expedition and eventually succeeded,” he added.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Rohtang experiences more fresh snowfall

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Himachal Vacation Travel News
Manali: Rohtang pass, the gateway to Lahaul-Spiti district and a famous summer destination, has received 15 cm fresh snow on Sunday.
Tourists from Sambalpur, Orissa enjoys fresh snowfall near Rahni Nullah on Sunday
The all day rainfall in mid hills and snowfall on high hills has given rise to cold in Manali. It was quite tough time for tourists who had come here with some light clothes. Surprisingly, the warm clothes in market are still selling like hotcakes.
Some of the tourists who successfully reached Rahni Nullah witnessed the wonder of nature. Fresh snowflakes thrilled them like never before. The snowfall lasted for over four hours. Ranhi Nullah, around 1,000 feet below Rohtang, experienced 4 cm of snow.
The sudden variation in weather has badly affected the snow clearance operation on Manali-Leh highway. According to a BRO official, the work was on even in the blizzard but it definitely affected the operation which is close an end. “We and Rohtang are habitual of eating fresh snow throughout the year,” second-in-command, major Vikram Singh said.

Tourists enjoy fresh Snowfall, Manali records 12.2 degree C in May

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Himachal Vacation Travel News
Fresh snowfall on mountains near Manali
Rohtang Pass/Manali/Kullu/Keylong: Mild rainfall in Kullu-Manali and snowfall in high altitude peaks around the district have sent the mercury plummeting below the normal temperature for this time of the season.
The weather tower installed at Dhundi near Manali by Snow and Avalanches Study Establishment indicated that the hill resort recorded minimum temperature of 12.2 degrees Celsius on Saturday. The maximum day temperature was recorded at only 14.3 degrees Celsius, around 10 degrees below the normal. Rohtang Pass, Deo Tibba, Hanuman Tibba, Makarved, Shikarved, Hamta Pass and adjoining peaks continued receiving more snow.

A little skier from Kolkata at Marhi, 35 km from Manali

The cold weather has added to the fun of tourists in Manali. Wrapped in their woollens, tourists enjoyed skiing, sledging and snow fights in Marhi, 35km beyond Manali. This is for the second consecutive year that Rohtang continued receiving frequent summer snowfall.

To see fresh snowfall, over 20,000 tourists are thronging Marhi every day.

Kulang, Kothi, Ruar, Solang, Majhach and many other villages of Manali are still shivering like winters. A resident of Majhach village Nanak Chand said, "We haven't been able to take off our warm clothes this year. The difference between summer and winter has become thin." Villagers are resorting to bonfires to keep the cold at bay.

Those who earn their livelihood through tourism are happy that the mercury has gone down this summer. Maan Dass, a professional photographer, said Rohtang was experiencing light but frequent spells of snowfall and the tourist inflow had increased. "The low temperature has slowed the melting of snow at Rohtang. That's good for all of us," he said.

Not just snowfall, Kullu district has received 20% more rain than normal. However, neighbouring Lahaul-Spiti district is reeling under draught-like situation with 50% less rain than it actually receives.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

White water rafting thrills tourists the most in Kullu-Manali

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Himachal Vacation Travel News
Manali: Riding the white cold water coming out of glaciers, fear of falling overboard with every jerk caused by killer rapid and the loud screams full of thrill - this is the fun of white water rafting that is giving a tough competition to thrilling snow skiing in Himachal.

Figures from green tax barrier Manali, the gateway to town says scores of tourists are reaching Manali to escape scorching heat of plains and many are coming especially with a desire to see fresh snowfall and to enjoy the snow related activities. In the meantime, white water rafting in Beas has emerged as a successful adventure sport in the district. Despite the extreme cold water, thousands of tourists are enjoying this thrilling water sport every day and endless queues of rafts can be seen in river Beas.

“My heart stopped throbbing for few minutes. Every time it seemed that we would fall into the water and cold water will freeze our whole body. We were unnerved by all wet. We could not ski but quite enjoyed the adventurous rafting,” tourists from Delhi, Rohini and Shreyasi said here in office of Himachal Vacation Travels and Adventure after having raft ride and before leaving back to Delhi.

White water river rafting in Kullu-Manali: himachalvacation.com


The increasing emphasis on skiing has lead to the national level skiing competition every year to attract more and more tourists to Manali but the sad thing is that skiing is totally dependent on weather conditions and the degree of snowfall. Now, many people are looking at white water rafting as an alternative option to ski which runs almost throughout the year.

The number of providers for extreme rafting sports in recent years has increased to more than two hundreds only in Kullu district and administration is also encouraging the adventure sports activities. Today, thousands of youths are earning with providing the water rafting to tourists.
“White water rafting in Kullu is attracting many tourists. This can be a dangerous sport, especially if basic safety precautions are not taken care. For the safety of tourists, river routes and courses have been predetermined by specialists and qualification of guide, certification of rafts, operators, outfitters and stringent regulations about equipment and procedures are ensured,” said Rajeshwar Goel, district tourism development officer.
He said the water rafting has become an integral part of Himachal tourism industry and tourist can enjoy this thrilling sport round the year except in the rainy season when usually the river floods.
Yuvraj Bisht who runs Raj mountaineering and expedition in Manali said due to holidays, many tourists are coming to Manali and almost everyone enjoys the water rafting once for sure. “Like most outdoor sports, rafting in general has become safer over the years. Expertise in the sport has increased, and equipments have become more specialised and increased in quality. As a result the tourists are adopting this sport,” Yuvraj adds.
Inputs from (discover leh ladakh)

Englishman sees good times ahead for bouldering in India

Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI: Known for adventure sports activities, Manali is now set to woo bouldering enthusiasts from all over the world. So far, the tourist town has been hosting events like paragliding, water rafting, river crossing, skiing, mountain biking and hot air ballooning, among others.
Given the demand for good bouldering opportunities and potential for employment in Himachal, adventure sports providers of the state are learning the basic skills of the activity and are exploring bouldering spots in the state. Interestingly, some of the bouldering locations in Himachal had been explored by the foreigners themselves, sources said.

A UK national, Pils McGill, who has explored some exotic bouldering locations in Chhota Shigri, Chhota Dara, Kyara, Kalath, Vashisht and many other places in Kangra, Mandi and Kullu during the last about ten years, has apparently sacrificed his life to the cause of bouldering in India. Pils, who encourages locals to adopt the game for better earnings, has designed a website (pils-trips.com), where he has detailed his experiences of Indian bouldering. "Indian people should adopt this adventure sport to attract worldwide bouldering freaks. I've explored some beautiful and international level boulders in Himachal Pradesh. I've fallen in love with them and am doing bouldering here since past ten years," Pils said. Given that Europeans and Americans love to stick to wild rocks, adventure sports companies in Indai can make their best by guiding the enthusiasts to this exhilarating adventure, he said.
"Hampi, Ramnakaram rocks, Badami in Karnataka and Borivali, CBD Belapur in Mumbai and Chhatru and Miyaar valley in Himachal have some good bouldering spots for amateurs as well as veterans looking for newer problems, away from the beaten routes. But how would worldwide freaks know about the treasure hidden in Himachal, unless someone dares to come forward with details," he asked.
Pritam Chand Thakur, owner of Snow Peak Travels in Manali, the travelling partner with Himachal Vacation Travel Co,  who has opened bouldering counter this year, said he has received 11 enquiries from groups in Europe and America, who will be coming this June and July.”

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Record snowfall blanks out adventure tourism in HP

Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI: With the heavy snowfall bringing traffic flow on the Manali-Spiti highway to a standstill, the adventure sports industry in Himachal Pradesh has taken a beating.
The route was expected to open before April 15, but the frequent spells of snowfall at Rohtang pass has pushed back its re-opening by one and half month. As per the fresh reports from Rohtang on May 17, the pass is expected to be open for traffic by last week of this month.
The Shimla-Sangla-Spiti-Manali circuit is one of the thrilling jeep safari routes in the world, but most foreign visitors prefer mountain biking (cycling). Chandertal, Batal, Jispa, Losar, Kaza and Tabo are best known for camping. Apart from this, all the mountaineering and trekking expeditions are planned in the Lahaul-Spiti and Rohtang pass area.

With fresh snow blocking almost all the known routes, adventure enthusiasts are either cancelling their programmes or are constrained to change their itinerary by missing the Lahaul-Spiti stretch.
According to the database of Himachal vacation travel company: "We have got series of cancellations, which translates into losing business worth lakhs of rupees every day. All activities between Manali, Lahaul-Spiti, Leh and Kinnaur have been postponed or cancelled till May 25.”
Manali-based trekking guide Vishal Thakur sees heavy snowfall as a boon for domestic tourism. ''We are getting more visitors at snow points of Manali, while skiers would be able to enjoy the sport till late summer. Though there are takers for short leg trek routes for domestic travellers, serious adventure enthusiasts from West Bengal, England, USA, Japan, France and Australia may have to wait for a month," Sharma pointed out.
                         Photo: A snowcutter machine engaged in work near Rohtang pass

In Kaza (Spiti), the tourism industry is already feeling the pinch of being cut-off by the snow. Employees of hotels in Kaza, Keylong and Jispa would have had to extend their holidays. "Lots of inquiries are pouring in, but we are only accepting bookings after May," said Ravi Thakur, owner of Hotel Ibex in Jispa. Last year, the Border Roads Organization had restored traffic across Rohtang pass on April 15 but this time they have a patch of 10 km to clear as yet. BRO commander AK Dixit said, "We have cleared the snow beyond Rahni Nullah (Kullu) and Gramphu (Lahaul). The traffic is likely to resume in the last week of May," he added.

India to get its first grass skiing slope soon at Solang Valley

Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI: Whether it snows or not, now the adventure enthusiasts would be able to enjoy skiing on the slopes of Solang Valley throughout the year. When skiing is the only purpose, then it can be done on grass too as the French have been doing since 1966.
For the first time in country, Himachal Pradesh is going to own a grass skiing slope in Solang Valley, 13 km from Manali, which has been hosting national-level snow skiing championships. The work to develop an international level grass skiing slope has begun in Solang Valley, which is likely to complete by the July this year. Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports director Randhir Singh Salhuria said a 250-feet long and 30 feet wide patch with foreign guidelines was being prepared for grass skiing at Solang which would be completed this year. "The slope is being designed on the lines being made abroad and most probably it would be ready in summers of 2012," he added.
  
Solang Valley, 12 km North of Manali

The youth affairs and sports ministry was spending Rs 1 crore for the project, of which modern machinery and equipment for carving skiing worth Rs 75 lakh and for grass skiing worth Rs 25 lakh had been purchased.

The Manali-based mountaineering institute would provide the necessary skis for all those interested as this game was being introduced in the country for the very first time. The department was thinking of hiring trained instructors from abroad, a source said.

"Grass skiing would add to adventure sports of the country a new feather. The institute itself would train the youths for this sport. Now tourists would be able to enjoy snow skiing in winters and grass skiing in summers besides snowboarding, white water rafting, paragliding, rock climbing, mountaineering and other sports," Salhuria said. To further promote the adventure tourism in Himachal, the government was going to built two artificial rock climbing walls soon, one in Solang Valley and another in Dharamshala.

Paragliding thrills tourists in Manali

Himchal Vacation Travel News
MANALI: The urge to fly over the snow-covered Deodar trees has resulted in a beeline of adventure lovers to picturesque Solang Valley near Manali for paragliding. Four-feet snow is greeting visitors to the valley for other adventure sports, too, but skiing, sledging and paragliding is attracting most of them.
Manali saw a bright sunny day on Monday after a long overcast spell of two weeks. As the day temperature increased slightly, tourists flocked to Solang Valley to enjoy adventure activities. Apart from skiing, the flying cribs were out to thrill the sports enthusiasts as more than 50 trained pilots paraglided in Solangnala.
                                                 Photo: Paragliding at Solang Valley near Manali

Following the HP tourism guidelines, all the trained pilots had formed an association to prevent tourists from being duped by outsiders and commission agents. They were conducting three types, low, medium and high flight at the fixed charges of Rs 500, Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,500 per round, respectively.
"The inclement weather had forced us to wrap our gliders this month but now we are hoping for a good business. Tourists reached Solang Valley after a long period on Monday and we are getting good bookings on the first day," said Vijay Kumar, a local adventure sports organizer.
Fascinated by their first flight, tourists asked for high flight to experience more thrill and joy. "Usually, this happens that after a low-cost flight tourists go for another high flight. We never let them fly alone but still they enjoy the scenic ride over the snow peaks of Himalayas," Vijay added.
Landing and take-off on the four to six feet snow were the interesting phase of paragliding which was quite difficult here. But the soft snow had its own benefits that both pilot and rider could avoid serious injuries in case of crash-landing.
Rohtang Pass, Marhi, Gulaba, Kothi and all other snow points of Manali had been blocked with heavy snowfall, so, all the tourists were heading towards Solang Valley. Whoever watched these flying birds hovering over the valley could not resist to try fly at least once. Paragliding had also doubled the business of ropeway leading to Fatru which was the takeoff base at 10,500 feet because there was no other option to reach here since trekking routes had been blocked by heavy snow. Mostly honeymooners were visiting Manali these days. But tourists from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, Chandigarh and Haryana were also coming in scores. Tourists from abroad, too, are visiting Manali, Kasol, Shimla and Dharamshala in scores.

Summer Snowfall: A Dream Come True for Tourists

Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI: In contrast to the scorching heat of planes, heavy snowfall has created winter-like conditions here, with temperature plummeting to 6.8 degrees Celsius on Friday.
To the surprise of thousands of tourists visiting Manali, the rare summer snowfall has added a thrilling experience to their vacation. Used to air conditioners/coolers at their homes at this time of the year, they were forced to switch on room heaters to survive in the uncommon cold environment of Manali in mid-May. "A unique experience," said a himachal vacation client from Gujarat, Harshdeep Saha, adding, "I was shivering like in winters of December. I was uncomfortable in a woollen blanket and heavy quilt."

According to Manai-based Him-Anchal taxi operator union president Gupt Ram Thakur, more than 1,000 taxis, carrying around 4,000 tourists, had headed towards Rahla Fall, current snow point of Manali, with expectations to be lucky to see fresh snowflakes. "Though they could not enjoy fresh snowfall, as, for safety reasons, the administration has restricted tourist movement beyond Rahla Fall, but still they enjoyed the weather, with heaps of pre-accumulated snow here," he said.
                                    Photos: Himachal Vacation Travel Co's Clients enjoying snow at Solang Valley

Reports from Rohtang said the 13,050-feet high pass had recorded 6 inches of fresh snow since Friday morning. "Rohtang has been experiencing heavy snowfall since Thursday night and temperature has dipped below the freezing point here," Border Roads Organization officer-commandant Major Praveen Yerunkar said over the phone. Rahni Nullah, 8 km below the pass, has received 3 inches snow while lower regions including Marhi, Gulaba and Manali were experiencing rain, coupled with thunderstorm, he added.
Manali recorded maximum temperature of 10.7 degree Celsius on Friday, according to weather gauge of Snow Avalanche and Study Establishment, Manali. Overcast skies and mist reduced visibility to 40% and hailstorms hit apple harvesting at several places in Kinnaur and Kullu districts, sources said.

Hotels in competition, tourists get best travel deals

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Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI/SHIMLA: With the beginning of summer season, hotels and tour operators in Manali have started many attractive packages to woo tourists. In competition of hotels, tourists are getting many features at extremely low prices.
There are some packages for couples where they can enjoy both side AC bus ride (Delhi-Manali-Delhi), three nights, four days stay at a quality hotel, breakfast, dinner and all popular sightseeing only for Rs 9,500. Tourists have options to convert their honeymoon package into adventure package if they want to experience water rafting and paragliding. Choosing a cheap private taxi or luxury bus on a sharing basis is optional. Those, seeking a star category hotel or resort for some extra comfort would have to spend some extra money but they also have many options in this category too.
                                         Photo: tourists enjoy river crossing in Manali
Now the HP Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) is gearing up to face the rivals in hotel industry. "We have launched two special summer packages with exciting features. Paying only Rs 8,100, couples can enjoy a warm stay of two nights and three days with free paragliding at Solang Valley. If guests wish to stay for three nights and four days, then they would have to pay only Rs 12,600 and then they could experience the white water rafting for free. Local sightseeing and drive to snow point is always free," HPTDC deputy director BN Kapoor said.
Middle range private hoteliers are set to give a stiff competition to the costly hotels by providing their guests with modern facilities like discotheque, bars, welcome drink, fresh fruits and flowers in room and honeymoon bed topped with rose petals.
General manager of  Quality Inn, River Country Resorts Rohit Ahluwalia said, "We provide our guests with all the facilities that they would get in a five-star hotel.
The only difference is high charges they pay to stay there. With only Rs 26,999, we give our guests welcome drink on arrival, tea and coffee maker at room, cookies, fruits, a bottle of wine, candle light dinner, a picnic lunch, flower decoration in room, massage and gymnasium facility, free local and snow point sightseeing with 50% discount for other facilities." That's not all. For culture seekers, many hotels are preparing to organize Himachali folk dance to show them the reflection of the state's culture.
Bonfire and DJ nights have become the tradition of hoteliers to entice the tourists. And, if you are tired of adventure activities and picnic between snows, free tickets of latest movie are ready to entertain you.

HP plans to regulate traffic to Rohtang

Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI: Grappling with the growing traffic pressure on poor Manali-Leh highway, the Himachal Pradesh government besides regulating traffic plans more action to protect the fragile ecology of Rohtang Pass in near future.
As directed by the HP High Court, chief secretary Rajwant Sandhu has constituted a committee to prepare a proposal to reduce the traffic to Rohtang. In the corresponding series, the chief secretary on Tuesday had a discussion with principal secretary tourism and civil aviation Manisha Nanda, principal secretary transport TG Negi, Kullu DC BM Nanta and other officials to come up with a plan to solve this serious problem at Manali.
Now the state and national pollution control boards have been advised to prepare a report of impact of pollution on Rohtang and Himalayas so that further action could be taken soon.
"We have urged GREF and military not to ply their heavy vehicles in day time when tourist rush is high between Manali and Rohtang. We are going to install a barrier at Kothi village, 12 km beyond Manali, to regulate the traffic and also to take stock of the traffic burden on this snow point," Kullu DC BM Nanta said.
As around 20,000 tourists visit Rohtang everyday in peak season and almost all of them prefer to hire their personal cab to reach here, the HP government was planning to run buses between Manali and Rohtang to decrease the traffic load. "We have talked to Himachal Pradesh Transport Corporation (HRTC) officials to make Manali-Rohtang Pass an essential route during peak summer season. If they refuse officially, we would hire buses on a lease basis," Nanta added.

Manali Increases Surveillanc to Tackle With Summer Season

Himachal Vacation Travel News MANALI: In the wake of the expected rush of tourists in the summer season to resorts of Manali, the Kullu police are deploying extra force, including home guards and reserve battalion personnel to maintain law and order in the town. Hoteliers have been instructed to install CCTV cameras in their reception rooms at the earliest.
Due to increasing terrorist activities and constantly growing tourist influx, the district police have decided to double the surveillance across the popular tourist spots of Kullu-Manali.
Kullu superintendent of police Abhishek Dular said, "Tourists come to enjoy and we are committed to provide them a friendly and secure environment." Dular added that close circuit cameras would record all activities on Mall Road while all the hotel owners have been instructed to install such security cameras before the beginning of the season. He said that hoteliers have been advised to pay extra heed to registration of guests and police have launched online C-form filling portal for foreigner guests.
"The interested hotel owners can now submit C-form online where they will have to enter the details of passport and visa. This will save the precious time of both police and hotel owners. Those who don't have internet facility can visit the police station," Dular added.
Hour-long traffic jam on Manali-Rohtang highway has been the subject of concern for tourism entrepreneurs. The journey takes almost six to eight hours for vehicles to cover a stretch of 104 km to and fro journey.
To cope with this years-old problem, police are engaged in preparing a traffic blueprint. Manali Hoteliers' Association president Gajender Thakur said pamphlets with instructions and do's and don'ts would be distributed among all the tourists at green tax barrier, the gateway to Manali.
The peak summer season of Manali is assumed to begin from May 15 which lasts till mid July.
In all 25 lakh tourists had arrived in Manali last year and the number is likely to increase this year.
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