The minimum temperature across Kashmir plunged below the freezing point with the tourist resorts of Gulmarg and Pahalgam reeling under extreme cold, officials said here on Thursday.
Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 1.3 degrees Celsius – down from 1.3 degrees Celsius the previous night, they said.
Pahalgam, which also serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra, recorded a low of minus 10.9 degrees Celsius – down from the previous night's minus 5.6 degrees Celsius, they said.
The officials said Qazigund recorded a minimum of minus 0.2 degrees Celsius, while the nearby south Kashmir town of Kokernag recorded a low of minus 4.3 degrees Celsius. The minimum temperature in Kupwara in north Kashmir settled at a low of minus 3.4 degrees Celsius.
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 inputs from PTI.