Mercury plunged several degrees below freezing point across Kashmir, with Pahalgam and Gulmarg resorts witnessing record low minimum temperature this winter, officials said on Wednesday. Pahalgam in south Kashmir Anantnag district, which serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra, recorded a low of minus 11.6 degrees Celsius, they said.They said it was the lowest minimum temperature of this year in the Valley.
Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in Baramulla district, recorded a low of minus 11.5 degrees Celsius. It was for the fourth straight night that the minimum temperature has fallen to minus 10 degree Celsius or below, officials said.Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, also recorded sub zero temperature last night as mercury settled at minus 3.6 degrees Celsius. The city had recorded a low of 0.2 degrees Celsius previous night, they said They said Qazigund, the gateway town to the Valley, recorded the minimum of minus 5.3 degrees Celsius, while the nearby south Kashmir town of Kokernag recorded a low of minus 7.2 degrees Celsius.
The mercury in Kupwara in north Kashmir settled at a low of minus 5.5 degrees Celsius.The MeT office said the weather is likely to stay mainly dry over the next few days. Kashmir Valley is currently under the grip of the 40-day harshest winter period known as ‘Chilla-i-Kalan’ which began on December 21.
‘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).