The cold wave sweeping Kashmir intensified on Thursday as the mercury fell several notches to settle well below the freezing point across the valley, officials said in Srinagar.
Srinagar city — the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir — recorded a low of minus 5.9 degrees Celsius, which was over three degrees below the previous night’s minus 2.2 degrees Celsius.
Gulmarg tourist destination in north Kashmir recorded 10.4 degrees Celsius as against the previous night’s low of minus 11 degrees Celsius, the officials said.
They said Gulmarg was the coldest recorded place in the valley.
Pahalgam, which serves as the base camp for annual Amarnath yatra in south Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 9.6 degrees Celsius.
Qazigund the gateway town to the valley recorded the minimum of minus 6.2 degrees Celsius, while Kupwara, in the north, registered a low of minus 5.8 degrees Celsius and Kokernag, in the south, minus 7.8 degrees Celsius, the officials said.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ — the 40-day harshest winter 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 in Srinagar as well as the water supply lines in several parts of the valley.
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’, which began on December 21, 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).