Winters in Pakistan

The winter season starts in Pakistan around late October.

Winter Season in Northern Pakistan

Winter is one of the most enjoyable time in Northern Pakistan. The days become shorter and days of clear sunshine are short but nice and warm. The sun starts setting around 5 pm and gets dark very quickly. The ashen cloudy skies against the bare tree leaves create a magical effect. At higher altitude over 8000 feet the evergreen coniferous tree-like pine, deodar, spruce and firs are quite common and have the ability to withstand the freezing winter cold. 

Abbottabad is one of the biggest valleys in the lower Himalayas and located at an altitude of 7400 feet. The winters are very enjoyable as the recent tree plantation on the hills has created a different weather pattern and the city has started experiencing snowfall in the months of December and January. The temperature dips below. 

In Abbottabad, the air thickens with smoke from burning wood in the chimneys. Firewood stoves are still used in most remote areas because of easy access to wood and coal. Though modern houses do not have chimneys anymore. Conventional sources of heating include electricity and gas burners. 

Seasonal migration of birds from  Siberia takes places around October. The sky is filled with millions of birds migrating across the Southern Hemisphere. Game bird hunters look forward to this seasons as duck, pheasants, mallards and Russian doves are commonly hunted across the region. 

Migrating birds in Pakistan

Migrating birds during the winter season in Pakistan

Snow-season in the lower Himalayas (Galiyat) season starts in mid-November and goes till late January. Areas above Gilgit Baltistan are not easily accessible due to heavy snow. The houses in the North are built with slanting roofs to avoid the build-up of snow on the roof-top. More traditional houses, have firewood stoves and family sit around these stoves in the common area of the house watching tv and enjoying meals prepared for winter. Meat is the main source of energy. People in some areas dry meat and store it for later use. This practice is not very common in bigger cities as meat and other food items are easily accessible. Dry food is available in abundance. Walnut, Pinenuts, almonds and dry figs are very popular in winters.

Men in the north wear Pattu hats and jackets. Pattu is a hand-woven woollen cloth which can withstand very cold temperature. Women wear shawls woven out of Pattu. 

Winters hats in Northern Pakistan

Local merchants selling winter hats. Source: Pinterest

Biggers cities like Lahore and Rawalpindi get a couple of weeks of very cold winters. The cold is mostly brought by winds blowing from Quetta and Iran. During this time the temperature drops below zero at night times. Second-hand clothes markets cater to the need of most poor people as imported used winter clothing is quite cheap as compared to locally manufactured clothing.