When Dal Lake Freezes Over (and Quite Early in the Season)

As the chillai Kalan the harshest winter period begins in Kashmir, the Dal Lake freezes, becoming the highlight this season for tourists
File photo of snowfall over Dal Lake
File photo of snowfall over Dal Lake

As the Kashmir valley starts to experience sub zero nights, intense cold waves grips the water bodies as well, leading the Dal Lake to freeze in parts. It is fast becoming a mesmerising sight for many visitors from other states who have never experienced a frozen lake before. 

An extreme cold wave froze the lake on December 20, much before the expected timeline in the valley. The people of Kashmir await this 40-day period of 'chillai kalan' as the snowfall during this event replenishes perennial water resources in the valley. 

However locals say that they are facing a cold wave of such severity after ages, with night temperatures expected to drop below freezing point by several notches. Such glacial temperatures are a bit early in the season. With maximum temperature only reaching 6&degC, Srinagar has already witnessed -6.6&degC as of December 19. Earlier mercury at Pahalgam plunged to -9.5&degC and -9.2&degC at Gulmarg. Gateway to the valley, Qazigund measured -5.7&degC. Temperatures are expected to drop lower. 

Incidentally, the Dal is also equipped with its own ambulance now - in a shikhara, no less. It was started by a local in order to address pandemic-related emergencies. 

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