December 22nd, 2011 11:13 EST
40-day Harshest Winter Period 'Chillai Kalan` Begins in Kashmir
Srinagar: The harshest 40-day winter period "Chillai Kalan` begins today amid intensive cold wave that griped the Kashmir valley earlier than the scheduled season. `Chilai Kalan`, the coldest period of the winter start from December 21 which will be followed by 20-day-long "Chilai Khurd` and 10-day-long `Chillai Bacha`.
During the 40 day "Chillai Kalan`, it is said earth goes dead; air and water are the coldest.
The summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir recorded a minimum temperature of 0.4 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, a MET department official told Agence India Press.
Other main towns ofthe Valley are also experiencing an unusually cold winter as the night temperature has stayed below the freezing point for most of December. Frozen taps have become a common sight in the Valley as a thin layer of ice forms overwater bodies due to freezing temperatures during the nights.
Electricity supply has also reduced due to the cold wave as the glacial discharge in the rivers, which fuels power generation projects, has decreased, resulting in unscheduled load shedding for long hours becoming a daily affair.
The early setting in of the cold wave has raised concerns among the residents that Chillai Kalanwill be even harsher. These concerns have grown as the weatherman has forecast dry weather for the next 48 hours.
Chillai Kalan is the period when the chances of snowfall are maximum and the most frequent as well.
The Lake was completely frozen in 1965 when the then rulers allowed a jeep to cross from oneend to another on frozen surface.
In 1986 it was again frozen when children were seen playing ice-hockey and cricket on the frozen surface. It also attracted thousands of local and outside tourists besides film units.
A weather office spokesman told Agence India Press that, light to moderate rain, snow may occurat many places in Kashmir Valley during next 24 hours.
The dry cold weather has resulted in cold-related diseases in the entire Kashmir Valley. Long queues of people could be seen outside the medical shops and in hospitals.
Doctors have warned that children and elderly persons should not expose themselves to cold, particularly during morning and night hours.
The dry cold weather has resulted in cough, bad-cold, chest infections and other cold-related diseases.
Meanwhile, the arrival of Chillai Kalan has set people in motion across the valley to stock food items and fuel. (AIP News)
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