The cold wave intensified in Kashmir as minimum temperatures across Kashmir plunged below the freezing point with the tourist resorts of Gulmarg and Pahalgam reeling under extreme cold, officials said here on Friday. Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 3.6 degrees Celsius – down from minus 1.3 degrees Celsius the previous night, they said.
Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 10.4 degrees Celsius – slightly down from minus 10.0 degrees Celsius the previous night. Pahalgam, which also serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra, recorded a low of minus 11.8 degrees Celsius – down from the previous night's minus 10.9 degrees Celsius, they said.
The officials said that Qazigund recorded the minimum of minus 4.0 degrees Celsius, while the nearby south Kashmir town of Kokernag recorded a low of minus 4.9 degrees Celsius. The mercury in Kupwara in north Kashmir settled at a low of minus 4.6 degrees Celsius.
Clear skies overnight resulted in a rare day of bright sunshine at the peak of winter in the valley. Kashmir 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