Winter Season In Hills:
The winter season in the hills lasts from November to March. It is very cold throughout. The sun loses its heat and brightness. It often remains hidden behind clouds, fog or mist. Winter is the coldest season of the year. The nights are long and the days are short. There is no vegetation or greenery anywhere. Trees have already shed their leaves in autumn. The land looks gloomy and silent as it were in deep summer. We do not hear the songbirds of spring, nor do we see the charming flowers of summer or the ripe fruits and golden crops of autumn.
In winter the mountain valleys present a deserted look. As soon as winter sets in tourists and businessmen leave the valleys and return to the plains. With their departure, the hustle and bustle of business and traffic decline. The Gujjars and Bakarwals drive their flocks down to the plains. A large number of the people of the valleys move down to the plains to escape the severity of winter as also to earn their living. Schools and colleges remain closed for about two months on account of winter vacation. Some strong and energetic students excursions to the hilltops to enjoy the beauty of snow on clear days.
In winter snowflakes often accompany the rains. Snow is the crowning glory of winter. In fact, winter without snow is like summer without a rose. It is always a pleasure to see the snowflakes falling slowly like pieces of cotton. Sometimes very severe snow storms blow and cause a great loss of life and property. Heaps of snow are seen lying everywhere. Streets, bazars, the roofs of the houses, fields and open spaces all are covered with snow and snow. Chilly winds and cold waves have their full sway. Unprotected people often suffer from bad colds and other throat and chest troubles. People try to keep warm by means of phirons (long coats), Kangries (the Kashmir heater), blankets, far-boots, woollen pull-overs, mufflers, gloves, overcoats and what not.
Kashmir, Mussorie and Darjiling have become famous for their winter sports. Hills and mountains especially at Gulmarg and Sonemarg attract a large number of enthusiastic persons for the winter sports such as skating and skiing.
Sometimes snow proves very deadly and dangerous. It blocks the roads and paths. In order to keep the highway open for traffic, bulldozers and snow sweepers are constantly employed. Sometimes heavy masses of snow roll down the mountain slopes and wipe out everything that comes in their way. Many shepherds along with their herds of sheep are crushed to death.
Snowfall gives a lot of enjoyment to the young and the old. Young children run about in great excitement and play with snowballs. Standing water freezes everywhere. At times lakes also get frozen. They become short of snow lands and people take pleasure in walking and cycling over them.
In winter people mostly live indoors. The artisans and craftsmen of the hills remain busy with their work. The Kashmiris turn out the finest specimens of their craftsmanship during winter for which Kashmir is justly famous all over the world. They work in winter to meet the demands of their customers in summer.