As Chilla-i-Kalan entered its last week on Tuesday, the minimum temperature in most parts of Kashmir stayed several degrees above the normal for this time of the season, except in the tourist resort of Gulmarg, officials said here. Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded a low of 1.8 degrees Celsius – down from 2.8 degrees Celsius the previous night, they said. Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 9.2 degrees Celsius – up slightly from minus 9.5 degrees Celsius the previous night. Pahalgam, which also serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra, recorded a low of minus 2.8 degrees Celsius – down from the previous night's minus 0.8 degrees Celsius, they said.
The officials said Qazigund recorded a minimum of zero degrees Celsius, while the nearby south Kashmir town of Kokernag recorded a low of minus 0.4 degrees Celsius. The mercury in Kupwara in north Kashmir settled at a low of 0.4 degrees Celsius. The MeT office said there was fresh light snowfall at isolated places. It forecast light rain/snow in isolated places over the next 24 hours as well. Afterwards, the weather is likely to stay mainly dry till the end of the month and there is no forecast of any major rain/snow till the end of January, it said. Kashmir valley is currently under the grip of the 40-day harshest winter period known as 'Chilla-i-Kalan', which began on December 21 last year.
'Chilla-i-Kalan' is a period when a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably, leading to the freezing of water bodies, including the famous Dal Lake here as well as the water supply lines in several parts of the valley. The chances of snowfall are the most frequent and maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy to very heavy snowfall. The 'Chilla-i-Kalan' will end on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir with a 20-day-long 'Chillai-Khurd' (small cold) and a 10-day-long 'Chillai-Bachha' (baby cold).
With PTI inputs.