‘Chillai-Kalan’ Begins On A Dry Note In Kashmir


  A boatman breaks ice in the interiors of Dal Lake to make way for his boat | KO Photo: Abid Bhat

Srinagar: ‘Chillai-Kalan’, the 40-day harshest winter period, began in Kashmir on Monday on a dry note even as there was improvement in the minimum temperature across Kashmir valley, MeT officials said.

The 40-day period commences from Shab-e Chella(-e Kalan) (“night of (the great) forty”‎) the “longest and darkest night of the year,” that is, in the night of the Northern Hemisphere’s winter solstice which corresponds to the night of December 21 this year.

People across the region particularly in Iran and parts of Central Asia celebrate the commencement of Chilla-e-Kalan but Kashmiris largely bewail its arrival. The period lasting from December 21 to January 31 is considered the harshest winter period as a cold wave grips the region and the temperatures drop considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies as well as the water supply lines with people’s hardships compounded by the electricity shortages.

The chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy snowfall, the officials said.

While ‘Chillai-Kalan’ will end on January 31, 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).

Meanwhile, the night temperature rose across the valley last night owing to a cloud cover, but the minimum still settled below the freezing point, the officials said.

Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 4 degrees Celsius, up from the previous night’s minus 6.2 degrees Celsius, they said.

The mercury in Pahalgam tourist resort in south Kashmir improved by over three degrees from the previous night’s low of minus 7.7 degrees Celsius to settle at a low of minus 4.6 degrees Celsius, the officials said.

They said Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 6.4 degrees Celsius, up from Sunday’s minus 7.5 degrees Celsius.

Qazigund, the gateway town to the valley, recorded the minimum of minus 4.6 degrees Celsius, while Kupwara, in the north, registered a low of minus 2.5 degrees Celsius and Kokernag, in the south, minus 3.9 degrees Celsius, the officials said.

The Meteorological Office has said while no major snowfall is expected till the end of this month in the union territory, there is a possibility of light snowfall at a few places in Kashmir on Monday.

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