The temperature plummeted here to a record minimum of minus 0.5 degree Celsius, down from Tuesday's 6.3 degrees, the Met Office said. It was three degrees below what is the average for this time of the year.
Similarly, the maximum temperature of the capital city fell by 11.2 degrees from Tuesday's 17.7 degrees. It was 6.5 degrees Celsius Wednesday.
"Shimla and nearby hills have received 8.2 cm of snow since this (Wednesday) morning. The city also experienced a good spell of sleet in the noon," Manmohan Singh, director of the Meteorological Office here, told IANS.
According to him, Shimla saw snowfall on the Lohri festival after almost 10 years' gap. He said popular tourist spots near Shimla like Jakhu and Narkanda experienced 7 cm and 8 cm snow respectively. Another tourist resort nearby, Kasauli in Solan district, had a mild snowfall in the morning.
"Kalpa in Kinnaur district saw 15 cm of snow and it's still snowing there. Manali in Kullu district got just mild snowflakes," Singh said. The Rohtang Pass (13,050 feet) and the Baralacha Pass (16,020 ft) - located on the Manali-Leh highway - also experienced heavy snow. He said there were reports of moderate to heavy rain in the lower hills.
Sundernagar in Mandi district recorded the day temperature at 15.1 degrees Celsius, Bhuntar in Kullu district 12.2 degrees and Dharamsala in Kangra district 16.8 degrees respectively. These towns Tuesday saw the maximum of 20.9, 15.5 and 20.4 degrees Celsius respectively.
The snow in Shimla has brought smiles to the faces of the hotel owners. "Now we are hopeful that the tourists will return to the erstwhile summer capital of British India," said D.P. Bhatia, general manager of Clarke's Hotel. The snow has also brought a ray of hope to the fruit growers in the state. "This snowfall will increase the moisture content in the soil which will be beneficial for a good yield of apple in the coming season," said S.P. Bhardwaj, joint director at the Solan-based Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry.
"The prolonged dry spell in the mid-hills is somehow over. The apple, peach, plum, apricot and almond crops still need more continuous spells of rain and snow," he added.
The Met department forecast dry weather in lower and mid hills and snow in higher reaches Thursday.