Kashmir’s New Year Gift: A Scenic Snow Blanket

It was a perfect New Year gift to Kashmiris, who woke up and witnessed everything painted in white on Wednesday morning. For the first time in decades, the valley received such a massive snowfall in the second week of Chilai Kalan – the 40-day harsh winter period in which night temperature drops more than five notches below freezing point.


Kids enjoy a walk on snow at Cheshmashahi garden on the banks of Dal Lake in Srinagar. Photograph by Shafat Naseem

In summer capital Srinagar, youth, especially teenagers, who had only heard about such a heavy snowfall from their parents, couldn’t resist not being out walking on the white carpet, playing games and making snowmen.


Massive snowfall has led to a competition of sorts with locals making snowmen and sharing their pictures on the social media. Photograph By Shafat Naseem

Braving bone-chilling cold, youth from various parts of the city hit the Mughal Gardens to get busy in their new, favourite pastime – making snowmen.


A breathtaking view of Koh-i-Maran, a hill overlooking Srinagar that is home to revered Muslim shrine of Khwaja Makhdoom Sahib and famous Hindu Shakti temple. Photograph by Shafat Naseem

While the snowfall has ended the dry spell and spread happiness all around, it has also added to worries of locals by affecting the power supply, air, road and rail traffic.


A view of Kralsangri, Brein which houses Taj Vivanta Hotel, captured from the banks of Dal lake.
Photograph by Shafat Naseem

The massive snowfall has cut off the valley from the rest of India as the only surface link, the 300km Srinagar-Jammu Highway that passes through tall mountains and deep gorges has been closed. 


Kangri, also called kangaer is an earthen pot filled with hot embers that is used by people in the valley beneath pheran – a traditional cloak – to keep the chill at bay.
Photograph by Shuja Allaqaband

The sale of Kangris heats up with the onset of Chilai Kalan every winter. Since electricity is being viewed as a rare commodity in the valley, kangri remains a safe bet for the purpose of heating up.


A local tourist enjoys shikara ride on Dal lake. Photograph by Shafat Naseem

The lake has frozen near the banks because of freezing temperatures.


A thick blanket of snow covers the Chesmashahi garden. Photograph by Shafat Naseem

The administration, just like the previous years, proved inefficient in clearing the inner roads. By the time they woke up, snow had already frozen, adding to the woes of commuters and pedestrians.

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