Kashmir Valley braces for chilly winter, the Chillai-Kalan

Although temperatures of Jammu and Kashmir starts dropping in the beginning of December, but the harshest winters commence by the third week of December and last until the end of January.

The minimum temperatures of Jammu and Kashmir are already heading south. Anantnag, Banihal, Batote, Gulmarg, Kukernag, Kupwara and Qazigund are witnessing minimum temperatures in the range of -3 and -5 degree, Srinagar and Gulmarg are recording minimum temperature around -6 degrees. Most of the districts of Jammu and Kashmir are witnessing freezing morning and nights.

The 40-day period of chilly winter in Kashmir is known as ‘Chillai-Kalan’ in local language which began on December 21, 2020 and it will end on January 31, 2021. This is the favourable period for upper reaches of valley to receive snowfall. During this period intensity of western disturbances are usually very high. Heavy to very heavy snowfall leads to subzero temperatures across the valley. Chillai-Kalan period is known for freezing temperatures, lakes and river get frozen.

During these 40 days, chances of snowfall are highest, and the maximum temperature drops significantly. During Chillai-Kalan, the weather in Kashmir valley continues to remain very cold and minimum temperatures usually hoverers below freezing point and the snowfall during this 40-day period is much heavier and lasts longer.

When Chillai-Kalan ends, the cold wave continues even after that. Chillai-Kalan is followed by a 20-day-long period called ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) that is between January 31 and February 19 which is followed by 10-day-long period ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold) between February 20 to March 2.