Kashmir today on 21st December entered the 40 day long, chilling winter spell locally know as Chillaikalaan. It is believed to be a 40 day period of heavy snowfall and extreme cold. But today, warm sunshine with no signs of snow or rain has greeted Chillaikalaan. Blame climatic changes, global warming! I remember as a child, the heavy snowfalls, rains and the chilly winter air that marked these days of extreme cold which excited us very much. We would have shishar gaanth (icicles) in beautiful crystallized palatial forms hanging down the roofs and the evergreen cypress trees. It was spell binding, the white furnished lawns playing home to the castles of solid ice. Nostalgic, still!
The winters in Kashmir are both harsh as well as mesmerizing. I am not a big fan of cold or the barren naked look of winter earth, being more of a color person; beautiful green lawns, colored flowers and the gorgeous blue sky are more pleasing to me. I love all the seasons though, as there is always something that each one has to offer. The winter I believe, for me has the enchanting snow falls that I am so much in awe of! We still haven’t received the real snow fall of this season, having only had an hourly glimpse of light flakes accompanying the rain. Awaiting it in all patience, after all it is the best thing that happens in the three long months of winter we have in Kashmir,I do hope we get some fresh heavy snow fall soon!
And then another winter treat for the foodies like me, is the hot sizzling harissa. A mutton preparation in subtle spices eaten with kandar chotte (Tandoor Bread). A heavy winter breakfast delicacy eaten occasionally, mostly in chillaikalaan to keep the body warm; it has a delightful taste and is a popular Kashmiri winter food. A must have food, for all the food lovers 🙂