• Kashmir’s 40-day harshest spell of winter, locally called ‘chillai kalan’, has started with the minimum temperature already sub-zero in the entire Valley.
What is it?
• Chillai Kalan is a Persian term that means ‘major cold’.
• It is a traditional 40-day long period of extreme cold in Kashmir starting from 21 December to January 29 every year, followed by Chillai-Khurd and Chillai-Bachha.
• Chillai Khurd (small cold) is a 20-day long period that occurs between January 30 and February 18.
• Chillai-Bachha (baby cold), a 10-day long period which is from February 19 to February 28.
• Chillai Kalan, considered the heart of winter, typically brings snowfall, sub-zero temperatures, and the freezing of water bodies, and the shutdown of roadways.
• It is said the snow during the period lasts longer and replenishes the streams, rivers and lakes of Kashmir.
Mains Paper 1: Geography
Prelims level: Chillai Kalan
Mains level: Important Geophysical phenomena