Chillai Kalan Descends Upon Kashmir: Mercury Plunges as Valley Braces for 40 Days of Intense Winter

December 28, 2023: (Srinagar) The 40-day Chillai Kalan, marking the harshest winter period in Kashmir, is set to commence on Thursday, enveloping the valley in a frigid embrace as night temperatures plummet several degrees below freezing.

Chillai Kalan spans from December 21 to January 31, challenging the resilience of Kashmiris against the biting cold. Following this, a 20-day Chillai-Khurd (small cold) will persist from January 31 to February 19, succeeded by a 10-day Chillai-Bachha (baby cold) lasting from February 20 to March 2.

The Persian term “Chillai Kalan” translates to “Major Cold,” signifying the severity of the winter spell in the region.

As the valley anticipates the onset of this bone-chilling period, the mercury has already settled below freezing at various stations. Srinagar, the summer capital, shivers at minus 4.4 degrees Celsius, while Pahalgam claims the title of the coldest place with a temperature of minus 6.3 degrees Celsius. The renowned ski-resort Gulmarg records a low of minus 4.4 degrees Celsius.


In other regions, Qazigund experiences a low of minus 4.0 degrees Celsius, while Kupwara and Kokernag record temperatures of minus 3.5 and 3.3 degrees Celsius, respectively.

Despite the severe cold, the meteorological department predicts dry weather conditions until December 28. From December 23, there is a possibility of light snow over isolated higher reaches, and the weather is expected to remain generally dry until December 28.

It’s worth noting that Jammu & Kashmir, as a whole, has witnessed excess precipitation from October 1, 2023, to December 20, 2023. However, certain areas, including Kupwara and Bandipora, have recorded deficient rainfall, while Shopian district reports a significant deficit during the same period.

As Chillai Kalan unfolds, the people of Kashmir prepare for the winter challenges, relying on their resilience and age-old traditions to navigate through the intense cold spell.