Drass - The Gateway to Ladakh

DRASS

On the road to Kargil, about 60 kms west of Kargil, lies the small town of Drass, in the Drass Valley. It is the second coldest inhabited place in the world. Repeated snowfall in the winters, plummet its temperature to less than minus 40 degrees.

 

The Zozila pass, the Himalayan gateway to Ladakh, is from where the Drass valley commences. On your trip to Ladakh, you should go for a tour to Drass which had been an important trade route for Pan-Asian trade in the yester years.

Trekking tours to Suru valley generally opt for Drass as the convenient base. It is a three day long trek that passes through beautiful upland villages and blooming meadows on either sides of the Umbala pass.

On your tour to Drass, you can also avail of the trekking trip to Amarnath. The trekking starts from Minamarg below Zozi la and takes you across the high pass. It is a 3 day long trek. Shorter treks and hikes are also undertaken from Drass, to the upland villages.

For ages Drass’s inhabitants have negotiated the formidable pass even when the whole sector remains snow covered. As trade routes developed, Drass became more accessible and tourists keen in catching a glimpse of the beauty of the Drass Valley, while venturing on a tour to Drass. Tourists are required to register themselves at the Tourist Registration Centre at Drass, when traveling from Srinagar to Ladakh.

Location

Drass valley is located 60 kilometers west of Ladakh and known as the second coldest inhabited region in the world. The valley starts from the foot of the Zoji-la pass and has an elevation of 10, 764 feet above sea level.

History

Located in the Kargil district of Jammu & Kashmir, Drass Valley starts from the base of the Zoji – la pass, also known as the ‘Gateway to Ladakh’. In 1999, during the Kargil war, when Pakistani troops unethically intruded into the Ladakh region, the town saw artillery shelling by infiltrators. The war ended with the recapturing of the subjugated areas in and around the Kargil district.

Best Time to Visit Drass

Drass is strategically located in the Himalayas. Starting from the Zoji La Pass; at a height of 11,575ft, the town reaches a maximum of 10,990ft in the Indian Himalayas. It is located around 60km towards the west of Kargil and around 144km from Jammu and Kashmir’s capital Srinagar.

 

Tourist Attractions in Drass

The Drass valley is well acclaimed as a trekking zone for the mountaineers. If you are a pro and want to dive deep and lose yourself amidst all the adventures, opt for the long treks that Drass offers you. For the young guns who want to get a taste of risk in unexpected undertakings, short trek is a good option. One of the most sought after trekking option is the one from Drass to Suru valley. One gets a prefect view of the picturesque highland villages in course of the trek. On the way falls the Umbala Pass which is a major tourist attraction. The place is covered by lush meadows with beautiful flowers on both sides of the pass, which make it look all the more attractive. The trekking takes 3 days to get completed and can be one heck of an adventure particularly if you are coming with a large group of people. It is pretty demanding to complete this trekking and requires a lot of physical toughness in you. Another trekking option is the famous 3 days long trek to the holy Gumpha of Amarnath.

Zoji La:

The word ‘La’ means pass. One prime tourist attraction over here is the Zoji La. It is from the base of the Zoji la that the Drass valley starts. This pass is well known as the Himalayan entrance to Ladakh. Over the years, the local residents of the place are bearing with the hardships during winter and travel to and fro the Zoji La even during the snow cladded wintry months to facilitate trade. They also help in transportation of goods and assist travelers to cross the pass.

Puga Valley:

This lake basin close to the Drass valley, located across the Polokonka pass, is notable for its hot water spring and Borax and Sulphur sediments. Every year hundreds of tourists and travelers take bath in the water of Puga hot water spring as the spring is considered to have medicinal value. Patients suffering from rheumatism and various skin ailments clean themselves in the water of this basin in order to cure their diseases. There are a lot of travelers who visit the place for this purpose ending up with positive results as well.

Drass had managed to get much bigger attention worldwide. This is due to the wide broadcasting that was done there during the Lo C issues between India and Pakistan. This has put Drass into the folklore of Indian history. The beauty of the place and the locales here are stunning beyond words. The experience of being at Drass is much beyond a normal tourist spot trip considering the importance of the location. Enjoy the bliss of Drass along with its scenic locations and historical spots with your friends or family whenever you get.

Popular Tour Locations nearby Drass

Amarnath Yatra:

The sacred AmarnathYatra is an important pilgrimage among the Hindus. It usually begins from Pahalgam and a portion of this pious journey passes through the fringes of Drass town

Mushko Valley

Famous for its variety of wild flowers, Mushko Valley is a prime attraction during the summer season

Draupadi Kund

Located 18 kilometers away from Drass, named after the tragic female queen Draupadi, Draupadi Kund is the place where she took her final bath before dying in the Himalayas.

Drass War Memorial

Drass War Memorial was constructed to commemorate the martyrs of Kargil war.

Ways to reach

BY AIR

Srinagar’s Shaikh-ul-Alam Airport is the nearest airport to Drass. One has to hire a cab from Srinagar or board a state run bus to reach the town. Srinagar is well connected by air with many major cities of India like Delhi.

BY TRAIN

The nearest rail head to Drass is at Jammu Tawi, which is around 380 kms away. In order to reach by train, one has to first take a bus to Srinagar and from there can take another bus or cab to Drass.

BY ROAD

The National Highway that one connects Srinagar, Kargil and Leh to Drass. One has options of hiring a cab or boarding a state run bus from one of these three places to reach Drass.

GALLERY