People across northern India battled icy winds as an ongoing cold wave tightened its grip over the region on Saturday.

Intense cold conditions continued to prevail in the national capital New Delhi though the minimum temperature increased slightly to 4.3 C on Friday, three degrees below the season’s average.

Temperatures in northern parts of the Indian subcontinent, skirting the Himalayan foothills, dip drastically during the months of December and January, mostly due to seasonal western disturbances.

Train services in New Delhi continued to remain disrupted, with 25 of them delayed, six rescheduled and eight cancelled due to fog or other operational reasons.

People were seen huddling around bonfires in a bid to warm themselves.

The freeze is especially harsh for the poor, many of whom are forced to sleep outside braving the cold.

"We live on a footpath. I am feeling really very cold and I am keeping warm by lighting bonfire," said Rakesh Kumar Gupta, a homeless, in New Delhi.

Meanwhile, cold wave conditions intensified in Shimla in India’s northern Himachal Pradesh province.

Residents lit bonfires and wrapped themselves in multiple layers of clothing as the city witnessed snowfall and reeled under teeth-chattering cold.

"The temperature is really very low, hence we are facing difficulties," said Diksha, a Shimla resident. "We are somehow managing by lighting a bonfire," she added.

Large swathes of northern and central India have seen a sudden dip in temperatures, a direct impact of snowfall in the higher reaches of the Himalayas.

South Asia’s winters are not as cold as other regions such as North America, but the millions of poor here are hit harder because they live in the open and do not have enough warm clothes.