Chillai Kalan

• 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.

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Mains Paper 1: Geography

Prelims level: Chillai Kalan

Mains level: Important Geophysical phenomena

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