SRINAGAR: Famous Dal Lake and other water bodies froze partially as Srinagar city, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, witnessed the coldest night of this winter with mercury plunging to minus 5.6 degrees Celsius.
Dal Lake located in the heart of the city was partially frozen early this morning as cold wave conditions intensified with mercury plunging nearly 1.5 degrees to settle at the season’s lowest minimum temperature so far.
Dal dwellers, using their oars, were seen breaking the layer of ice at several places to make way for their shikaras to reach the banks of the lake.
While the freezing cold added to the woes of the residents, the tourists were happy to witness it.
A Gujrati couple, who had come to the Valley after visiting Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine in Jammu, said they were lucky to see the frozen Dal Lake.
"It is our good luck that the lake froze when we were here. The feeling is indescribable," Madhu Bhai, a Gujrati businessman settled in Mumbai, said.
The cold wave led to freezing of many other water bodies and drinking water taps in the city while early morning motorists faced difficulties due to a thin layer of frost on the roads.
Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir Valley in south Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 5.9 degrees – also the lowest so far, a MeT Department spokesman said.
He said Pahalgam tourist resort in south, which serves as a base camp during the annual Amarnath yatra, registered a minimum of minus 7.4 deg C, while the ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 4.7 degrees Celsius.
The mercury in Kupwara town in north Kashmir settled at the season’s low of minus 5.7 degrees Celsius, while Kokernag in south registered a minimum of minus 2.3 degrees Celsius, the spokesman said.
He said the night temperature in Leh, in the frontier Ladakh region, settled at minus 16.4 degrees Celsius, which is also the season’s low so far.
Kargil recorded a low of minus 14.5 degrees Celsius, the spokesman said.
The MeT Office has said the weather would remain cold and dry over the next few days.