(3230 m), 60 km west of Kargil on the road to Srinagar, is a
small township lying in the center of the valley of the same
name. 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
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 formidable 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 travelers 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 hardly 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 neighboring 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.
How to reach?
Buses plying between Srinagar and Kargil/Leh touch Drass. Local
buses leave Kargil in the morning and afternoon for drass. Srinagar
is connected with rest of the country via Air and Road through
National Highway NHIA.
Where to Stay?
The Tourist Complex here provides furnished rooms and suites.
Advance reservation can be done through the tourist office at
Kargil or its branch at Drass. Some private hotels also provide
rooms equipped with basic necessities.
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