Bodies of two National Institute of Technology (NIT) students, missing since January 6, were found near snow-clad Shikari Devi temple in Himachal Pradesh's Mandi district on Friday by a 40-member team and a chopper deployed to locate them.

The search mission was launched after the parents of the two boys--Akshay Kumar and Navneet Rana-informed the Mandi police that their kids had been missing from NIT's Hamirpur campus for more than a week. The temple is around 150km from Manali and the region has been enveloped in minus 15 degrees cold for over a week.

Their bodies were found near the temple, situated at a height of 10,900ft. One body was identified as that of Akshay Kumar of Sujanpur in Hamirpur, from an identity card found in a bag in his possession. The other body could not be identified but officials suspected it to be of Navneet Rana of Bilaspur, HP. It could also not be established whether the students were climbing to the temple or were on their way back.

Neither had informed their parents or relatives about their visit to the temple, with sources saying they had told a friend that they were going to Shikari Devi. After they did not show up for five days, their parents visited NIT and met Janjehli subdivisional magistrate Ashwani Kumar for help. Earlier reports had said there were four missing NIT students, but police said they had received complaints about only two.

Mandi ASP Khulbhushan Verma said, “ Two bodies have been recovered.“