It's a common sight in Delhi to see people in three layers of warm clothing, a cap, closed shoes/boots and sometimes, even wearing gloves. It is hardly surprising though. India's capital is currently facing its coldest December in over two decades. The city recorded the lowest maximum temperature in 22 years, falling 10 degrees below the average. Strong winds from the Western Himalaya region, coupled with a thick low layer of clouds and close to no sunlight has left Delhi citizens and visitors chilled to the bone.
The Indian Meteorological Department has said that the severe cold wave across the city is here to stay (if not get worse). While you’re drawing out all your sweaters and thermals and involuntarily releasing breath vapour in the fog, follow our tips to combat the cold:
Invest in a good heater. It may seem like a bearable chill right now, but the dreaded January cold is yet to come. To stay comfortable in your house get yourself a dependable heater. Low range heaters are adequate for those who live alone and only require a fixed area to be warm at a certain time. Depending on your budget and necessity, higher-range heaters are also available. Those who are in Delhi temporarily, don't fret as a quick online search will reveal heater renting options.
Gorge on hearty comfort food. When the body starts to shiver, a bowl of hot, comforting food is what you need. Khichdi is wrongly deemed as ‘sick person's food’. In this cold, imagine a plate of piping hot khichdi drizzled with ghee! Other foods that are good to keep your body warm in the winters are gond ke laddoo (often made in Punjabi households), gajar ka halwa, gur ka halwa, parathas, soups and rasam (a South Indian spiced delicacy). Obviously, we all have our own versions of comfort food. So, tuck into whatever gives you joy.
Brave the cold for some seasonal delights. Generally, staying home is recommended to avoid the harsh weather. However, we would suggest stepping out for some dishes you can find in the city typically during winters. Do not miss out on daulat ki chaat, a milk-based dessert topped with khoya, pistachios and sugar prepared this time of year, in the bylanes of Old Delhi. Or seek out some roasted shakarkandi chaat made with sweet potatoes, cooked over coal, in every nook of the city. And of course, who can forget the classic roasted corn or bhutta. Often deemed a snack for the rainy season, it is still quite a treat in the cold.
Cosy up with a hot beverage. We may be partial but there is nothing like a good cup of chai to combat the December blues. Add some masala or spices to make it better! Then there's hot chocolate, of course. Top it off with marshmallows like you see on television and get into the Christmas groove. And there's always coffee in any form: cappuccino, espresso, latte. No matter what your choice of drink is, a warm beverage is a must to keep the cold at bay.
Don multiple layers. Do not underestimate the negative effects of a rough winter season. You may not feel very cold personally, but your body will still react to the change in temperature. Thermals are a must to protect your skin from drying out or reddening. Thanks to textile development, thermals are now thin, durable and heck, even fashionable. Get all your thick sweaters and jackets to go because this winter is here to stay. Don’t forget the hats and mufflers!
Don’t shun away the home remedies. Growing up in an Indian household comes with some jugaadu remedies. Most of them are organic in nature. Use warm water infusions with ginger, lime, tulsi, haldi - these are ingredients known to help the body build immunity. Think haldi doodh. Additionally, drink tons of water and stay well hydrated. Note: We advise you to keep your vaccinations up to date and consult doctors in case you fall ill.
An active lifestyle is a healthy one. We completely understand the urge to wrap up in a blanket and hibernate in the winter months. Unfortunately, our bodies do not share the same emotion. It is important to keep your body active during the cold lest you have locked joints and body aches. A short workout should do the trick. Don’t give in to the ruthless regimes at the gym (unless you prefer it). Just pick any activity of your choice and ensure a quick work out. We, in the office, have a thing for dancing and yoga!
Winter has come and it is best you are prepared for it.