© Associated PressIndian-administered Kashmir has been hardest hit by the cold weather
An intense spell of cold weather has disrupted life across northern India, reportedly claiming two dozen lives.

The capital, Delhi, has been badly hit by the cold snap, along with Indian-administered Kashmir, Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

In Leh in Kashmir, temperatures dropped to -23.6C - this winter's lowest - on Sunday, weather officials said.

Delhi, which is experiencing one of its coldest winters in years, has been hit by thick fog which disrupted flights.

Sunday was Delhi's coldest day this winter with temperatures dipping to 7.8C - cold by the standards of the Indian capital.

Indian homes rarely have central heating - a regular feature in buildings in the West.

The cold wave is being felt most intensely in Kashmir with the summer capital, Srinagar, recording sub-zero temperatures.

The highway linking Kashmir with the rest of India has been shut due to snowfall, officials said.

Homeless people have taken to gathering around street fires to try to keep warm and the night shelters for the poor in Delhi are overflowing.

Five more people - including a 70-year-old man and a two year-old boy - suffered cold-related deaths in Uttar Pradesh, reports said.

The Press Trust of India news agency reported three more cold-related deaths in Indian-administered Kashmir.