While northern parts of India are still witnessing snowfall, the rest of the country is bracing itself for the early arrival of a long, hot summer amid a spike in temperatures.
Recent days have seen the temperatures running 5C above average in places, with the early pre-monsoon heat bringing highs above 40C.
India’s western Maharashtra state is reeling under scorching heatwave-like conditions, while Erinpura, in Rajasthan state, and Amreli, in Gujarat state, both recorded highs of 43C on Friday.
It was even hotter in Khargone in Madhya Pradesh, with a high of 44.5C.
India regularly suffers life-threatening heatwaves. Periods of extreme temperatures have led to thousands of deaths since the 1990s.
Usually, eastern, western and central parts of India reel under intense heat waves from mid-April to July, before monsoon rains provide needed relief.
Possible reasons for the rising temperatures range from global warming to greater urbanisation, leading to taller buildings and diminishing green cover.