Jammu & Kashmir: Dal Lake freezes as Srinagar records lowest temperature in 28 years

Kashmiri boatman breaks the ice to make his way on Dal Lake in Srinagar. Photograph:( AFP )

WION Jammu and Kashmir Jan 10, 2019, 03.11 PM (IST) Ieshan Bashir Wani

The harsh winter conditions have gripped entire north India and in the Indian state, Jammu and Kashmir, the sub-zero temperature has made life difficult for the inhabitants.

The world famous Dal lake has partially frozen as 'Chillai Kalan', a 40-day long period of harsh winter, has set in. 

The people are having difficulties in their daily life, as the meteorological department has predicted more snow and rain in the coming days. 

The famous lake in the heart of Srinagar has frozen as valley recorded the coldest night in 28 years with the lowest temperature settling at minus 7.8 degrees Celsius. Last time, Srinagar recorded a minimum of minus 8.8 degrees Celsius was in December 1990. 

People are moving back to traditional methods of warming themselves and storing an ample amount of food and other essentials as heavy snowfall is common during 'Chillai Kalan'.

The heavy snowfall sometimes leads to the closure of the highway, which connects Kashmir to rest of the world, for days. People living inside the second largest lake are batting all odds to do their routine work as the lake water has frozen. 

"Since Chillai Kalan, winter has been intense, Dal lake has frozen, we are facing problems like shortage of electricity and drinking water. People who row their boats in the lake face problems due to the frozen surface," Tabish Ahmad, an inhabitant of Dal Lake told WION.  

Water taps have also frozen, people are having problems in getting sufficient drinking water. Locals are now covering the water pipes with clothes and other material to stop them from freezing. Long icicles have also been formed at several spots. 

Authorities have issued weather warning to the people living on the mountains as fresh snowfall could result in avalanches in the mountainous areas. They have also advised people to stay warm as intense cold increases the risk of heart attack. But the tourists are having a fun time, most of them are enjoying the cold weather as tourism players expect an increase in the flow of tourists in the state. 

"Its colder than South Africa, I have never worn so many clothes in my life but actually this is fun and a nice experience to be here in January," said Mohammad Shaqir, a tourist from South Africa.

With the fresh snowfall, winter activities will also kick start in Gulmarg and other winter destinations in the region, bringing joy among the local tourist players.