As the Chillai Kalan, the forty-day harshest winter period that starts from 21 December, residents of Kashmir are forced indoors. The cold wave continues even after the forty days, with a twenty-day-long period of ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold), of less intense cold, and a ten-day-long of a mild cold ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).
Kashmir has now enveloped in the snow — a visual treat to eyes but a cause of inconvenience for the public. The major snowfall of the season left the entire Kashmir covered in the depths of white layers in the first week of 2021. On the ground, life came to a standstill and power supply came unreliable, exams were postponed, flights were canceled and highways were closed.
In winter, people share long hours chatting and sitting with Kangir (traditional firepots) in the blankets to keep themselves warm. People usually prefer eating Hokh Syun – vegetables that the people of Kashmir leave for drying in the open air. Hokh Syun is either cooked with other dried vegetables or chicken, pulses, lamb etcetera. The special winter delicacy in Kashmir is smoked fish which is locally known as Phare’.
Tourists usually prefer to spend their vacations in the valley during the winter season so they can witness the view of Kashmir in a white blanket. Another attraction for tourists is the famous Ski resort, Gulmarg because of ice skating and snow. Kashmir’s winter is found unique by the tourists. While the thick layer of snow covers the whole valley, all the tourist places appear to be much prettier than any other season.