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Good news, Kashmir valley bathed in snow

Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar/PTI | January 01, 2005 21:16 IST

The New Year commenced on a bright note in Jammu and Kashmir with a thick blanket of snow covering most parts of Kashmir Valley evoking hopes of a better crop, though traffic was disrupted in some areas, including the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.

People woke up early in Srinagar and other parts of the valley to enjoy the heavy snowfall. However, traffic was disrupted in some areas and the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, the only road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country, was closed.

The heavy snowfall brought smiles on the faces of farmers who are hoping for adequate water for their crops this year.

In Srinagar, which recorded 45.4mm of snow, the minimum temperature dipped to zero degree Celsius, the Met office said.

The famous ski resorts of Gulmarg in Baramulla district and Pahalgam in Anantnag district also received heavy to very heavy snowfall. More than two inches of snow was registered in Gulmarg while Pahalgam recorded 37.6mm of snow till Saturday morning. Some of the world's best ski slopes are located in Gulmarg.

Kupwara in north Kashmir recorded 43.0mm of snow and rain while Jammu recorded 36.3mm of rain.

The upper reaches of Gulmarg recorded one feet of snow while Tangmarg, gateway to the hill resort, witnessed five inches of snow till Saturday morning.

Many a roads leading to the forward areas of Kupwara district were closed in view of the heavy snowfall.

Gurez in Bandipora sector of Baramulla district was cut off by heavy snowfall, the Met Department said adding heavy snow was also recorded in famous hill resorts of Sonamarg, Yousmarg and high altitude areas of Budgam district in central Kashmir.

The 434km Srinagar-Leh National Highway, linking Kashmir with the frontier region of Ladakh, has already been closed for traffic since November 1.

In south Kashmir, one-two inches of snow was recorded in the twin districts of Anantnag and Pulwama, the Met department said. However, traffic was plying as usual.

But in the face of biting cold, valley residents are frustrated by the lack of regular power supply and shortage of fuels.

The best bet for Kashmiris to keep warm is still the Kangri, a woven willow wicker case bearing red hot charcoal in an earthen bowl, and the loose tweed over-garment called the pheran.

"A kangri and pheran are enough to put to shame the world's most efficient central heating system. And mind you, there is no fear of electricity failure," said Manzoor Ahmad (45), a resident of downtown Srinagar.

Once these two are in place, the locals look forward to a meal of harisa, which traditional chefs prepare by cooking red meat, rice and spices over simmering heat all night long.

Its taste is legendary, so much that one Afghan governor of Kashmir, ignoring the warnings of his friends, gorged himself to death.

Besides harisa, vegetables collected and dried during the summer months are consumed with gusto during the winter. Smoked fish and dried ones are the other delicacies.

"It is like the smoked salmon of England. The local variety, called Farigad, is cooked with radish and tomato," said Abdul Salaam, a veteran chef who used to work at one of the hotels thronged by foreigners in the past.

While most tourists throng the valley in summer, the winged variety prefers winters. They come from as far as Siberia, Russia to add colour to the social scene in Kashmir. Birds of myriad colours dot the water bodies in the valley, including the world famous Dal Lake and the Wullar Lake.

"The species of migratory birds that visit the valley annually are the Barbed Geese, Mallards, Gadwalls, Pochards, Teals and Coots," said Bacha, regional wildlife warden of Kashmir.

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Number of User Comments: 1

Sub: neat article

u know what.. may be you should do a series on different regions in India... most desis, don't know anything about their own country.. and ...

Posted by diwakar


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