Srinagar : The Kashmir Valley readies for the 40-day long ‘Chillai Kalan’ as night temperatures dropped below freezing point on Thursday in the valley with a cold wave prevailing throughout.
An official of the MET department told IANS: “Cold, dry weather with foggy conditions in the morning is expected in Jammu and Kashmir during the next 24 hours (till Friday).”
“Night temperatures throughout the Kashmir Valley remained below freezing point and the minimum temperatures dropped several notches below zero in the Ladakh region,” he added.
The night temperatures were minus 0.4 in Srinagar, minus 4.3 in Pahalgam and minus 3.6 in Gulmarg.
Leh recorded the lowest night temperature in the state at minus 11.9 degrees Celsius followed by Kargil at minus 9.4.
Jammu city was at 7.4 while Katra recorded 9.0, Batote 6.2, Bannihal 7.5 and Bhaderwah 2.1 as their night temperatures.
The 40-day long period of bitter cold known as ‘Chillai Kalan’ starts on December 21 in the Kashmir Valley.
During this period of extreme cold even the maximum temperature during the day rarely touches 10 degrees.
All lakes and other water bodies remain frozen during the ‘Chillai Kalan’ and long icicles hang from rooftops.
Kashmiris use traditional fire-pots called ‘kangris’ under long tweed over-garments called the ‘pherans’ to keep them warm.
All perennial water reservoirs of Kashmir are sustained and replenished by the snowfall during the ‘Chillai Kalan’.
A dry ‘Chillai Kalan’ spells disaster for the valley.