Dras is a town in the Kargil District of Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is often called 'The Gateway to Ladakh'. The town shot into prominence in the summer of 1999 following Pakistani army incursions into Jammu and Kashmir.
It has become famous as the second coldest inhabited place in the world by virtue of the intense cold that descends upon the valley along with repeated snowfalls during winters. Winter temperature is sometimes known to plummet to less than minus 40 degrees. The Drass valley starts from the base of the Zojila pass, the Himalayan gateway to Ladakh. For centuries its inhabitants are known to have negotiated this pass even during the most risky period in the late autumn or early spring, when the whole sector remains snow-bound and is subject to frequent snow storms, to transport trader's merchandise across and to help stranded travellers to traverse it. By virtue of their mastery over the pass they had established a monopoly over the carrying trade during the heydays of the Pan-Asian trade. A scarcely people enduring with fortitude and harshness of the valley's winter, the inhabitants of Drass can well be described as the guardian's of Ladakh's gateway. Drass is a convenient base for a 3-day long trek to Suru valley across the sub-range separating the two valleys. This trek passes through some of the most beautiful upland villages and flower sprinkled meadows on both sides of the 4500 mts high Umbala pass, which falls enroute. The trek to the holy cave of Amarnath in neighbouring Kashmir, which stars from Minamarg below Zojila, takes 3 days and involves crossing of 5200 mts high pass. Drass also offers numerous shorter treks and hikes to the upland villages.
This Article is Posted on 13 Apr 2015 in Travel Section and Places