December 21, 2021 6:20:15 pm
With the winter solstice today, one of the harshest winter periods of 40 days, called Chillai Kalan, begins in Kashmir. Chillai Kalan is a Persian term which means ‘major cold’. The ongoing cold wave is said to reach its peak with Kashmir’s mountains covered in snow for weeks, and the famous Dal Lake also reaching freezing point until the fag end of January.
With maximum chances of snowfall during this period, sub-zero temperatures in the region make people in the hill areas carry firewood to their houses in large quantities that will be burnt and used for heating and cooking food.
It is said the snow during the period lasts longer and replenishes the streams, rivers and lakes of Kashmir.
The bone-chilling cold conditions is followed by a 20-day-long ‘Chillai Khurd’ and 10-day-long ‘Chillai Bacha’.
Kashmir is a sight to behold as long icicles form in the branches of the Chinar trees and apple orchards, and roofs of homes.
According to the Met department, Srinagar registered minus 5.8, Pahalgam minus 7.4 and Gulmarg minus 5.5 as the minimum temperature on Monday. Drass town of Ladakh had minus 19.0, Leh minus 18.0 and Kargil minus 11.5 as the night’s lowest temperature while Jammu city had 3.2, Katra 4.2, Batote 1.7, Banihal 3.0 and Bhaderwah minus 1.8 as the minimum temperature.