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Chillai Kalan: Grinding Phase Of Winter For Kashmir Begins Soon

December 14, 2023 1:07 PM |

Chillai Kalan is 40 days period of intense cold for Kashmir Valley.  It is the coldest part of winters starting from 21 December and goes on till January 29, every year.  Chillai Kalan comprises harshest part of the winters during which nights are very chilly and day temperatures also thrive in single digit, at times low single digit, for couple of days.                 The minimum temperature invariably hovers below the freeze point.

The snow that falls during this period freezes and lasts longer. This becomes a special attraction for the visitors to witness, if not live snow, but  at least the stacked one at more than one place in the Valley. It is this snow that adds to the glaciers of the Valley and replenishes the perennial reservoirs  that feed the rivers, streams and lakes in Kashmir during the summer months.

Chillai Kalan affects the normal life of Kashmiris. Due to sub zero temperature, tap water pipelines freeze,  and the main attraction of Srinagar, the Dal Lake freezes as well. Tourist resorts like Sonamarg, Pahalgam and Gulmarg  receive heavy snow. This boosts the adventure sport of Skiing in the down slopes of the Valley.

Chillai Kalan is followed by 20 days long ‘Chillai Khurd’ (small cold) and occurs between January 30 and Feb 18.  The last in the sequence is ‘Chillai Bachha’ ( baby cold) which lasts from Feb 19 to Feb 28.  Any snowfall after Chillai Kalan does not last very long. However, the bouts of snow continue in Valley during entire month of February, albeit intermittent and relatively short durations.

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