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Monday, March 4, 2024

AP PHOTOS: In idyllic Kashmir’s ‘Nice Winter,’ chilly provides attraction however life is difficult for locals

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SRINAGAR, India — The skies are overcast. On the plains, temperatures have dropped under freezing. Excessive on the mountains, peaks are draped in thick snow.

That is the time of “Chillai Kalan,” additionally referred to as “The Nice Winter,” a Kashmiri phrase that defines the harshest 40 days of chilly in disputed Kashmir that start in late December and lengthen into January and early February.

Famend for its breathtaking landscapes, Kashmir in winter transforms right into a wonderland. Vacationers fill its resorts to ski, sledge, and trek the Himalayan panorama.

However winter additionally brings the area’s most difficult climate circumstances, affecting each day routines in agriculture, transportation and different livelihoods.

For locals, the main supply of warmth is the kanger, a pot stuffed with scorching coal embers tucked inside their pheran, a conventional knee-length cloak. Nearly ensnared by its heat, individuals solely step exterior for work and different necessities.

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The subzero temperatures in Kashmir, a disputed area between India and Pakistan that has been marred by many years of battle, additionally coincide with frequent energy cuts. It is likely one of the idyllic valley’s long-standing, unresolved crises.

This 12 months the unscheduled energy outages, typically lasting 12 to 16 hours, have disrupted affected person take care of these with respiratory diseases and affected companies.

Residents have lengthy accused New Delhi of stifling their hydropower potential, as most of such energy produced regionally goes to varied Indian states, leaving 13% for Kashmir. The area should buy electrical energy at increased costs from India’s northern grid to satisfy demand.

The stillness of winter in Kashmir, nonetheless, additionally provides a promise of vibrancy come spring. The chilly rejuvenates fields and orchards, mainstays of the area’s economic system, and the snow replenishes freshwater streams.

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