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Updated January 8th, 2024 at 18:56 IST

Gulmarg's Frosty Twist: Tourists Turn Ice Rinks Into Chilling Delight Amidst Snowfall Drought!

Tourists who flocked the ski destination with hopes of witnessing the beauty of snow-covered landscapes have been left disappointed due to an unusual dry spell

Reported by: Shweta Singh
Edited by: Zeenat Zeeshan Fazil
Tourists Flock to Ice Rinks in Gulmarg Amidst Unprecedented Snowfall Shortage
Tourists Flock to Ice Rinks in Gulmarg Amidst Unprecedented Snowfall Shortage | Image:Republic
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Jammu & Kashmir: Gulmarg, a renowned winter haven, is currently experiencing an unusual dry spell, transforming its famed snow-covered landscapes into a different kind of winter wonderland. Tourists, initially disheartened by the lack of snow, are now finding delight in an unexpected twist to their winter vacation.

Throughout December, Kashmir Valley has reported a staggering 79 percent rainfall deficit, leaving Gulmarg unusually devoid of its signature snowfall. Weather forecasts predict that this dry spell is set to continue until at least January 12.

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Tourists who flocked to the ski destination with hopes of witnessing the beauty of snow-covered landscapes have been left disappointed. However, the concerned department has taken a creative approach to maintain the appeal of Gulmarg, turning adversity into an opportunity.

Instead of traditional skiing on snow-covered slopes, ski lovers are now embracing the thrill of gliding over meticulously crafted ice rinks. The absence of snow has led to an unexpected shift in winter sports activities, providing visitors with a unique and exhilarating experience.

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 “I came here hoping to ski on the world-famous powder snow of Gulmarg, but there's no snow. Now, I've opted for ice rinks, which are good, but I'm not getting the thrill I would have enjoyed ice skating around Afarwat peaks,” said S. Thompson from London.

“I was a bit let down when I saw the absence of snow. However, the ice rinks turned out to be a pleasant surprise for my kids. Engaging in activities on the ice rinks has provided a different and enjoyable experience,” said Rakesh Kumar from Delhi.

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Kashmir Valley is currently experiencing an unusual and severe dry spell, with reduced snowfall and precipitation levels.

Meteorological Centre in Srinagar predicts no significant weather activity until January 16, with generally cloudy conditions on January 9 and 12. The dry spell raises concerns about water scarcity, affecting agriculture, daily life, and the environment.

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River Jhelum's water level has noticeably decreased, and popular tourist destinations like Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonmarg are impacted by the reduced snowfall, affecting the picturesque landscapes and livelihoods dependent on typical winter patterns.

Temperature in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir was 1.9 degree Celsius below the usual for this time of the year. Last night, Srinagar experienced a minimum temperature of minus 5.6 degree Celsius, while Qazigund recorded a minimum of minus 4.2 degree Celsius compared to minus 5.0 degree Celsius on the previous night.

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MeT officials mentioned that the minimum temperature in the gateway town of Kashmir was 1.1 degree Celsius below normal.

Pahalgam in south Kashmir registered a low of minus 5.3 degree Celsius, indicating a 1.7 degree Celsius increase from the previous night's minus 6.5 degree Celsius making it above normal for this renowned resort. Kokernag, also in south Kashmir, reported a minimum of minus 2.1 degree Celsius which was higher by 1.9 degree Celsius compared to the previous night's minus 2.7 degree Celsius

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In north Kashmir, Kupwara town recorded a low of minus 5.0 degree Celsius showing a decrease of 2.3 degree Celsius from the previous night’s minus 5.3 degree Celsius, placing it below normal. Meanwhile, Gulmarg, the well-known skiing resort in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 4.0 degree Celsius which was 3.8 degree Celsius above the usual temperature compared to the previous night’s minus 4.4 degree Celsius.

Jammu, the winter capital of Jammu and Kashmir, recorded a minimum temperature of 4.3 degree Celsius, indicating a decrease from the previous night's 3.4 degree Celsius and being 3.1 degree Celsius below the normal temperature for this time of the year.

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Published January 8th, 2024 at 18:56 IST

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