Days before the New Year’s Day, there was moderate snowfall at most places in Kashmir on Tuesday, bringing cheer to those associated with tourism.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillay-Kalan’ — the 40-day harshest winter period when a cold wave grips the region and the temperature drops considerably leading to the freezing of water bodies, including the famous Dal Lake as well as the water supply lines in several parts of the Valley.
The chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum during this period and most areas, especially in the higher reaches, receive heavy snowfall.
Kashmir’s tourism industry has been hit hard since the clampdown following the abrogation of special status of the contested region in August last year. The unprecedented siege which was followed by the coronavirus lockdown in March this year has led to massive shrinking of the tourist footfall. The Indian administrations is yet to release the data of Indian and foreign tourists who visited the region since August last year. With the current snowfall, tourism players in the region are expecting a rush of both local and Indian new-year revelers.
Officials in Srinagar said the snowfall ahead of the new year has seen many Indian tourists and locals rushing to Gulmarg and Pahalgam.
Weather department officials said snowfall started in Srinagar around 7 am, several hours after it had begun in neighbouring Budgam and Pulwama districts.
Snowfall was also going in Kulgam and Anantnag districts of south Kashmir.
The officials said the ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded seven inches of fresh snowfall, while Pahalgam resort in the south and Sonamarg resort in central Kashmir received around three to four inches of snow each.
Gurez in north Kashmir recorded three inches of fresh snowfall, they said, adding that there are reports of snowfall in other areas in the upper reaches of the Valley as well.
The officials said the area around the Jawahar Tunnel – on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway – also received snowfall since Monday but the arterial road was open for vehicular movement.