Freezing winds, fog and rains threw normal life out of gear in plains of North India on Thursday while Kashmir Valley and higher parts of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh witnessed fresh snowfall, setting tone for more wintry conditions.
Living as "refugees in their own country" for past quarter of a century, displaced Kashmiri Pandits say the biggest hurdle in their return to their roots in the Valley and rehabilitation was concerns for their safety and security.
Commemorating 25 years of their migration, a group of Kashmiri Pandits staged a symbolic protest here Monday, urging the central and state governments to issue a white paper roadmapping their return to the Kashmir valley.
It has been 25 years since the Kashmiri Pandits fled from the Valley following outbreak of militancy, but the memories of the terror they faced and the pain of leaving everything they owned is still afresh.
There was relief from the intense cold conditions in Kashmir division, including Ladakh region, as the minimum temperatures rose by several degrees, staying above the freezing point at most places for the first time in about a month.
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir's Leh town recorded the coldest night of the season Friday as the minimum temperature dropped to minus 17 degrees while overnight temperatures remained below the freezing point in the Valley.
A week after the advent of 'Chillai-Kalan'-- the 40-day period of harshest winter, the weather in Kashmir Valley continues to remain dry and cold with minimum temperatures hovering below the freezing point.
Kashmir Valley reeled under sub zero temperature as mercury in the summer capital was recorded at minus 3.9 degrees Celsius and in cold desert of Ladakh it remained under the 10 degrees mark freezing most water bodies and fringes of famous Dal lake.
The BJP, which made a determined bid to score its first poll victory in the Kashmir Valley, not only drew a blank but suffered the ignominy of seeing all but one of its 34 candidates lose their security deposits.
Kashmir Valley continued to experience dry and cold weather on the second day of 'Chillai-Kalan' the 40-day harshest winter period, as the minimum temperatures remained below the freezing point with slight respite from cold conditions at some places.
The 40-day period of harshest winter in Kashmir Valley, known as Chillai-Kalan, began on Sunday on a warmer note as night temperatures rose across the Valley, increasing the chances of first snowfall of the season.