The winter cold takes over northern India; parts of J&K, Ladakh tremble at freezing temperatures

NEW DELHI: It was dragged by cold winds on Sunday, with many places in Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh that witnessed temperatures below zero and the mercury fell to 9.4 degrees Celsius in the national capital.

The city of Leh witnessed the coldest night of the season at minus 13.2 degrees Celsius, while Srinagar recorded a minimum of minus 0.9 degrees Celsius.

The famous Gulmarg ski resort in northern Kashmir, which experienced several feet of snow last week, was the coldest place in the valley with a minimum of minus 8.0 degrees Celsius, the official said.

The minimum temperature in Jammu remained above two levels below normal at 8.2 degrees Celsius. Katra, which serves as a base camp for pilgrims visiting the Vaishno Devi Shrine in the Reasi district of the Jammu region, recorded a minimum of 7.8 degrees Celsius.

After witnessing snowfall for more than five days, it was a sunny day in the valley.

A traffic department official said efforts are being made to restore the 434 km Srinagar-Leh national road, the only road linking Ladakh with Kashmir and the Mughal road.

While the Srinagar-Leh road closed for traffic on November 27 after heavy snowfall at the Zojilla Pass and adjacent areas, the Mughal road closed on November 6 after high altitude areas, including Pir Ki Gali, along the way they experienced heavy snowfall.

Delhiites woke up on a cold morning when the minimum temperature stabilized a level below the average for the season, while the maximum temperature was 23.4 degrees Celsius, two degrees below normal.

The sun was shining in the city, but the air quality index (AQI) at 9 am was 'poor' at 275, according to the Central Pollution Control Board.

The city was wrapped in a layer of fog on Saturday morning with a minimum temperature of 12 degrees Celsius.

In neighboring Himachal Pradesh, Manali, Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur recorded freezing temperatures as cold winds continued to blow in most of the hill state.

The administrative center of the Lahaul-Spiti tribal district, Keylong, remained the coldest place in the state with a minimum temperature of minus 12.3 degrees Celsius, said Shimla Met center director Manmohan Singh.

The minimum temperature in another tribal district of the Kinnaur Kalpa was minus 3.4 degrees Celsius, while the popular tourist destination of Manali registered minus 1 degree Celsius, he said.

The minimum temperatures in Kufri, Shimla and Dalhousie remained at 3.7, 5.2 and 5.3 degrees Celsius respectively, Singh added.

The highest temperature in the state was recorded at Una at 23.2 degrees Celsius.

Amritsar in Punjab experienced a cold night, registering a minimum of 7.8 degrees Celsius. The maximum temperature in the holy city was recorded at 22.2 degrees Celsius.

Ludhiana recorded a maximum of 22.5 degrees Celsius, two notches below normal, while Patiala's maximum was set at 23.6 degrees Celsius, a notch below normal.

Hisar in Haryana also experienced a cold night at a minimum temperature of 8.8 degrees Celsius. Met's department forecast low to moderate fog in isolated places in Punjab and Haryana over the next two days.

Isolated places in Uttar Pradesh were shrouded in shallow to moderate fog on Sunday morning.

Muzaffarnagar was the coldest place in the state, where mercury fell to 9.5 degrees Celsius. Bareilly and Bahraich recorded a minimum of 9.7 degrees Celsius and 9.9 degrees Celsius respectively.

The state capital, Lucknow, recorded the minimum temperature of 13.1 degrees Celsius, two degrees above the normal limit.

The weather department on Monday predicted a low to moderate fog in isolated places in the state.