Snow-clad mountains, scenic valleys, houses draped in white and silent puffs of falling flurries from the pale grey sky—these are glimpses of winter in northwest India's Kashmir region, as the valley experiences the 40-day winter period known as Chillai Kalan (major cold), which began on December 21.
Heavy snowfall started in early January throughout most of Kashmir, resulting in the cancellation of dozens of flights. Temperatures in many parts of Kashmir were either at or below freezing point, with certain locations recording up to minus four degrees Celsius (24.8 degrees Fahrenheit). Though Chillai Kalan can be harsh, many Twitter users have also been appreciating and sharing photographs and videos of its beauty.
Activist Abdul Hameed Lone posted an image of heavy snowfall:
Beautiful #Kashmir. Snow-fall pic.twitter.com/lH3zAA8rFZ
— Abdul Hameed Lone (@HameedAPHC) January 7, 2022
Twitter user Mir Kamran shared:
White blanket of snow covers Kashmir valley#Kashmir #Snowfall #MlrKaMrAN pic.twitter.com/QbvyJlKQ5a
— Mlr KaMrAN (@MlrKamran) January 6, 2022
Researcher Arhan Bagati, meanwhile, noted that winter in Kashmir attracts a lot of tourists:
Kashmiri Chillai Kalan attracts 18500 tourists since January 1st with around 3,000 in Gulmarg and 1700 in Pahalgam.https://t.co/H7fnVAAJfK@diprjk #JammuKashmir @manojsinha_ @JandKTourism
— Arhan Bagati (@IamArhanBagati) January 8, 2022
Journalist Ieshan Wani shared a video that captured the peacefulness of winter mornings:
Winter mornings be like: pic.twitter.com/Ahi1nApXwM
— Ieshan Wani (@Ieshan_W) January 8, 2022
Photojournalist Umar Ganie, meanwhile, shared footage of Kashmir at night:
In video- Snow night in Srinagar. #Srinagar #Kashmir #Snowfall #snow #SnowNight pic.twitter.com/8cquyl4cxM
— Umar Ganie (@UmarGanie1) January 7, 2022
Not everyone, however, was pleased with the amount of snow. Journalist Majid Hyderi (Jimmy) complained that the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) didn't clear the snow as expected:
For 2nd consecutive year, SMC didn't clear snow from lanes & bylanes!
This being scene along Airport Road mohallas, plight elsewhere can only be imagined.
Movement of pvt vehicles cleared some snow and SMC will draw fat bills.#MJH #Kashmir @nitishwarKumar @AtharAamirKhan pic.twitter.com/CtyrOkjg29
— Majid Hyderi -Jimmy (@majidhyderi) January 8, 2022
In fact, Shehryar Khanum made the point that romanticising snow is a privilege:
It took me a long time to realise that romanticising snow is a privilege. Guilty. Kashmir has no infrastructure for this kind of weather. We don’t build weather friendly homes, power supply is bleak, access to roads becomes a challenge, and it just cripples daily routine.
— Shehryar Khanum (@shehryar_khanum) January 8, 2022
Winter brings many challenges to local residents, as in this instance—shared by Kashmiri journalist Irfan Amin Malik—when people carried a pregnant woman on snow-covered roads:
People carry pregnant woman on shoulders, horse through knee-deep snow in frontier district of north Kashmir’s Kupwara pic.twitter.com/xr3cofgw5P
— Irfan Amin Malik (@irfanaminmalik) January 8, 2022
Journalist Tabeenah Anjum also spared a thought for the region's birds, which have been having a difficult time collecting food during the heavy snowfall:
Woke up to this sheen video. Folks back home, sent me this. Slightly late, but the birds did drop in for breakfast today.
With snow everywhere, it is difficult for winged friends to find grains. Let's do our bit & place grains at accessible places 🌨️#SheenStories#Kashmir pic.twitter.com/Y2Qpy7l2c8
— Tabeenah Anjum (@TabeenahAnjum) January 8, 2022
Nevertheless, Kashmiri student Falak Qureshi looked on the bright side:
A cute Kashmiri girl presenting a Snow art.#Kashmir pic.twitter.com/lQm4eE2Xsf
— Falak Qureshi (@FalakQureshi_) January 6, 2022
Akhtar Ahmed also chose to show how people are enjoying the snow in Kashmir:
Enjoying snow in Kashmir valley India pic.twitter.com/rLzDhRSp7T
— Akhter Ahmad (@AkhterAhmad12) January 8, 2022
On January 7, the weather department sounded fresh alerts for heavy rain and snowfall, as well as possible avalanches and landslides, warning people to expect flight disruptions as a result. A landslide triggered by heavy rains has already blocked the Jammu-Srinagar highway, leaving a few thousand vehicles stranded.
According to the authorities, there is still an adequate supply of essential commodities for residents in far-off snowbound areas in the Kashmir valley, as people were given a four-month advance of food supplies. In these areas, people adhere to old customs during the winter to survive—including stocking up on sun-dried vegetables and fish.
Mohsin Hussain War explained:
Drying food in the sun is a safe and economical way to preserve food,
In #Kashmir sun drying of different food items for winter is an age old tradition, earlier it was done on large scale to fight the food scarcity during harsh winters. pic.twitter.com/CqWgfSIsqF
— Mohsin Hussain War محسن حسین وار (@TheMohsinWar) November 12, 2021
Twenty days of Chillai Khurd (small cold) typically follow the 40 days of Chillai Kalan. Winter in Kashmir will officially end after the expected ten days of Chillai Bachha (baby cold), which comes on the heels of Chillai Khurd.