Leh, in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, was the coldest recorded place in the state as the mercury dropped over 15 degrees Celsius below the freezing point, even as few areas in the higher reaches of the Valley received fresh snowfall. There was light snowfall in Gulmarg, Pahalgam and few other areas in the higher reaches of Kashmir last night, an official of the Meteorological Department said in Srinagar. He said owing to cloudy sky, the night temperatures in many areas in Kashmir, including the summer capital Srinagar, increased.
The capital city recorded the minimum temperature of minus 1.2 degrees Celsius –- an increase of two degrees from yesterday, the official said.
The night temperature in Leh town of the frontier Ladakh region went down over 5 degrees from a low of minus 10.3 degrees Celsius the previous night to settle at a low of minus 15.6 degrees last night. He said Leh was the coldest recorded place in the state. The official said that the data for the nearby Kargil town was not available.
Gulmarg — the famous ski-resort in north Kashmir –recorded a low of minus 9.4 degrees Celsius -– colder from the previous night’s minus 9 degrees Celsius. The night temperature in Pahalgam — the famous health resort which also serves as one of the base camps for the annual Amarnath Yatra -– decreased over four degrees from a low of minus 4 degrees Celsius the previous night to settle at a low of minus 8.4 degrees Celsius. He said that Kokernag town in south Kashmir registered a low of minus 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to minus 3.4 degrees Celsius on the previous night.
The official said that the mercury in Qazigund in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 2.2 degrees Celsius -– up from the previous night’s minus 4 degrees Celsius. Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 3.2 degrees Celsius.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’, the 40-day harshest winter period in Kashmir, when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably. It ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in the Valley. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).