The images of Kashmir that you are familiar with, of snow covered valleys, frozen lakes, of snowflakes settling comfortably on the trees, roofs and eventually on the ground, are those of winters. Come winters, and travellers, both from India and abroad, are overcome with excitement and enthusiasm to visit this region.
Winters can be really cold in Jammu & Kashmir, with several places recording sub zero temperature during this time. This season begins in November, with the temperature ranging between 4°C to 12°C in Jammu. It is famously known as the "winter capital of Jammu & Kashmir", and is a perfect escape from the freezing temperatures of Kashmir.
Kashmir is as cold as you would expect it to be. It witnesses heavy snowfall, with temperatures being as low as -2°C to 10°C. In fact, the Kashmir Valley is renowned for receiving the heaviest snowfall in India. Gulmarg, for example, is always covered under a sheet of snow and presents a wonderful opportunity for skiing. Trekking and snow scooting are also activities that keep the tourists thoroughly interested. In fact, the weather conditions are so extreme between late December to January, that there is a term for it, Chilai Kalan. This is the kind of cold that makes your bones scream for mercy, and being warm is a blessing. The Zanskar River, which lies in a frozen state during this time, offers an opportunity for the wonderful Chadar Trek.
In the Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir, winters are more severe than Kashmir Valley. Temperatures plummeting to below -30°C is not at all uncommon. Many of the places are open for traffic, while roads leading to Nubra Valley, Tso Moriri, Pangong Tso and Lamayuru remain open. Some popular tourist places in Ladakh, like Chang La and Khardung La, are closed due to heavy snowfall. Visiting the Hemis National Park offers its own surprises during this season.