Rajouri (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], Jan. 8 (ANI
): Tourists in Kashmir, popular in winters for its snow-laden mountains, were thrilled to experience snowfall on Saturday.
Kashmir is currently going through its 40-day period of harshest winter, 'Chillai Kalan'. Temperatures dip to sub-zero levels during this time and the blanket of thick snow covers the state.
The chill was intensified by a prolonged post-monsoon dry spell in the province - longest in 40 years. Tourist
s here were seen enjoying the heavy snowfall as they clicked pictures while walking through snow laden roads.
"People go to Europe and all those places. This is the best place on Earth you can visit. Look at this. It's so beautiful. Heavy snowfall! What else you want! Look at the view. It is very nice," said a tourist, Ajay Kumar.
Tourism is the backbone of the province, with majority of locals dependent on it directly and indirectly.
Places like Gulmarg in the Kashmir valley are one of the most popular tourist destinations for winter sports activities such as snow-boarding, skating, sledge rides, gondola jaunts, cable car rides and skiing.
The snow is expected to draw more tourists.
The Mughal road which connects the Kashmir
Valley with the rest of the country continued to be closed because of heavy snowfall.
Meanwhile, tourists were seen enjoying fresh snowfall in Shimla.
"It feels really good. At first we did not expect that it would snow here because there were really cold winds here and the locals said that it might not snow because of cold winds. We were planning to go to Kufri to see the snow but as soon as we reached the ridge, it started snowing. It felt like cotton is falling down. We really enjoyed it," said Ashish, a tourist.
The state experienced lean tourist season this winter, but the snowfall is expected to bring cheers to the hotel and tourism industry which is expecting more tourists. (ANI