Heavy rains lashed most parts of Himachal Pradesh while high altitude tribal areas had another spell of fresh snowfall, providing relief to people from the scorching sun.

The mercury, which was running 6 to 8 degrees above normal for the past two weeks, plummeted after rains and thunderstorm lashed the area, which also extinguished forest fires in lower and mid-hills.

The maximum day temperature dropped by 14 degrees from 37.8 deg to 23.8 deg at Bhuntar, while Sundernagar recorded maximum temperature at 29.4 deg from 39.4 deg yesterday.

Solan and Shimla recorded a high of 27 deg and 24 deg against 36.4 deg and 30.8 deg on Sunday while Kalpa and Una registered maximum temperatures at 18 deg and 37.2 deg, a drop of 8 and 6 deg C respectively.

However, the minimum temperatures stayed 2 to 4 deg above normal and Nahan was hottest during the night with a low of 24.2 deg C.

The traffic on Rohtang Pass (13,050 ft) which was opened for tourist vehicles from Sunday was again suspended and several buses which left for Lahaul via Rohtang Pass had to return fresh snowfall and rains made driving hazardous.

Heavy rains and thunderstorm lashed the state capital Shimla which lasted about two hours causing sharp fall in mercury.

Strong velocity winds swept the region and sky remained heavily overcast, providing much needed relief from heat.

Key tourist destinations of Dharamsala, Palampur, Manali, Kullu, Chail, Kasauli, Chamba and Barog were also received heavy rain.

Several areas in Kangra and Una also received rains bringing cheers to farmers who were facing problem of fodder for animals due to prolonged dry spell and soaring temperature.

Several areas had mild rains on Sunday evening and Manali recorded 15 mm of rains, followed by Keylong and Chamba 8 mm each, Dehragopipur 7 mm, Seobagh and Una 5 each and Bhuntar and Bajura 4 mm each till Monday morning.

The rains were considered beneficial for paddy sowing in lower hills and stonefruit crop in mid and higher hills.