One of the harshest winter periods of 40 days, called Chillai Kalan, has begun in Kashmir.

Important points:

  • It is the harshest winter period in Kashmir starting from 21st December to 29th January every year.
  • Chillai Kalan is a Persian term that means ‘major cold’.
  • Chillai-Kalan is followed by a 20-day long Chillai Khurd (small cold) that occurs between January 30 and February 18 and a 10-days long Chillai Bachha (baby cold) which is from February 19 to February 28.
  • The 40-day period brings a lot of hardships for Kashmiris as the temperature drops considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies, including the famous Dal Lake here.
  • During these 40 days, the chances of snowfall are the highest and the maximum temperature drops considerably. The minimum temperature in the Valley hovers below the freezing point.


  • Use of Pheran (Kashmiri dress) and a traditional firing pot called Kanger increases.
  • Due to subzero temperature, tap water pipelines freeze partially during this period and world-famous Dal Lake also freezes.
  • Kashmiris celebrate with sumptuous Harissa, a dish made of lean mutton mixed with rice and flavoured with spices like fennel, cardamom, clove and salt.
  • Besides, they frequently consume dried vegetables as there is shortage of fresh supplies due to blocking of roads following heavy snowfall.


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