Kashmir valley braces for challenging chillai-kalan as intense cold grips the region

Kashmir valley braces for challenging chillai-kalan as intense cold grips the region

Ishtiyaq Ahmad

Srinagar, December 20 : As temperatures plummet across the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, residents in the Kashmir Valley are preparing for Chillai-Kalan, the 40-day stretch marking the region’s harshest winter.

The mercury has dipped significantly at various locations, setting the stage for the chilly period.
Chillai-Kalan, commencing on December 21, is characterized by dry and frigid weather, with minimum temperatures consistently dipping below freezing point.

News agency KNS reported that in anticipation of the severe cold, locals are stocking up on essentials, including dried vegetables, coal, and other winter items. The demand for Kangri, an earthen fire pot encased in a wicker covering, has surged, while woolens and jackets are already in use.

This period, starting with the winter solstice on December 21, extends until January 31 of the following year. Following Chillai-Kalan, there are subsequent phases known as Chillai-Khurd (small cold) lasting 20 days and Chillai-Bachha (baby cold) for 10 days.

Chillai-Kalan is the prime time for the upper reaches of the valley to experience significant snowfall, with high intensity western disturbances being typical during this period.
The heavy to very heavy snowfall results in subzero temperatures across the valley, leading to frozen lakes and rivers.

The weather in the Kashmir Valley during Chillai-Kalan is characterized by extremely cold conditions, with minimum temperatures consistently below freezing point. The likelihood of substantial and prolonged snowfall is highest during these 40 days, transforming the landscape into a winter wonderland.

On Tuesday night, the summer capital of Kashmir, Srinagar, recorded a minimum temperature of 4.4 degrees Celsius, a dip from the previous night’s 3.7 degrees Celsius. Pahalgam, in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, experienced a low of minus 6.3 degrees Celsius.

Visuals from Srinagar and other districts depict the local population grappling with cold wave-like conditions as the mercury hovers near freezing point.

The renowned ski resort in Baramulla’s Gulmarg registered a minimum temperature of minus 4.4 degrees Celsius. Other locations, including Qazigund, Kokernag, and Kupwara, reported minimum temperatures ranging from minus 3.3 to minus 4 degrees Celsius.

The weather department has forecasted continued dry weather conditions in the valley for the next few days, with the minimum temperature expected to drop further.

As Kashmiris brace themselves for Chillai-Kalan, the focus remains on winter preparedness and adapting to the unique challenges posed by this harsh winter period.

Meanwhile, anticipating the onset of Chillai-Kalan, the Union territory administration is proactively bracing itself for the 40-day period of intense winter, taking preemptive measures to ensure the safety and well-being of residents in the region.

Chillai-Kalan, beginning on December 21, marks the harshest phase of winter in the Kashmir Valley, characterized by bone-chilling cold and subzero temperatures. The administration is leaving no stone unturned to mitigate the potential challenges posed by this annual winter onslaught.

As part of their preparedness strategy, the administration is closely monitoring weather forecasts, anticipating a prolonged stretch of dry and cold weather during Chillai-Kalan.
In addition to preparing the populace for the impending chill, the administration is bolstering emergency response mechanisms to address any unforeseen circumstances that may arise during Chillai-Kalan.

The focus is on ensuring that medical facilities, emergency shelters, and essential services remain fully operational to cater to the needs of residents.(KNS)

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