The fascinating town of Drass or Dras is located at an elevation of 3280 metres above the sea level in the Kargil district in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Often hailed as “The Gateway to Ladakh”, Drass is a charming site situated 60 kilometres from Kargil and in close proximity to the India and Pakistan’s LOC (Line of Control). Thrown into the limelight, rather unfortunately, due to the incursions of the Pakistan Army into India, which started the Kargil War of 1999, Drass still maintains a charm even after the ever growing presence of Indian soldiers in the region. Guaranteeing a mesmerizing holiday, the region draws hundreds of tourists every year to witness and experience its harsh beauty.
Acclaimed as the coldest place in India and the second coldest inhabited place on the planet, this region witnesses extremely cold weathers and very heavy snowfalls, hence explaining the local name for the town, “Hembabs” (snow land). Comprising of a number of attractions including pristine valleys, picturesque sights and spiritual monuments, this region also holds a memorial dedicated to the Indian soldiers who, while fighting for their country in the Kargil War of 1999, lost their lives. With the demographic comprising of Muslims and Buddhists, major inhabitants of Drass can trace their roots back to Central Asia. A barren and beautiful site, the Drass Valley begins from the foot of the glorious Zojila pass, which is blanketed white by the snowfall during the spring and autumn seasons. Listed here are the top 5 places one must witness in this wondrous land.
1. Mushkoh Valley
A glaciated paradise, Mushkoh Valley is located 8 kilometres from Drass in an isolated region of Ladakh. Renowned for a great number of wild flowers that bloom here during the summer months, a trekking trail also begins here leading up to the site of Tilail in Gurez. The site is known to be uninhabitable and is an ideal place to view the white expanse of the surrounding glaciers.
2. Drass War Memorial
Commemorating the martyrs of the 1999 Kargil War, this memorial, also known as “Vijaypath”, contains an epitaph bearing the names of all the brave officers and soldiers who died fighting for their country. Standing tall in a raw, barren and picturesque landscape, the memorial is visited by hundreds of tourists who come to pay their respects to the brave souls who sacrificed themselves for their nation.
Situated on the trail leading towards Amarnath, Minamarg rests 30 kilometres from Drass. The wonderful meadow of Minamarg rests right after Zoji La. Surrounded by the dazzling Machoi Glaciers and brimming with lush vegetation, this region is a wondrous sight. The region holds varieties of exotic flora making it a true paradise for all the nature lovers and enthusiasts.
4. Manman Top
One of the most important places of the region, Manman Top is located 10 kilometres from Drass and offers the most spectacular view of the entire Drass Valley and the Line of Control. A sweeping view of the surrounding mountain ranges of the great Himalayas can also be seen from here.
5. Laser La
The unexplored site of Laser La makes a charming hill station located about 14 kilometres from Drass. This lovely site is known for the dazzling milky white of the water that flows through here and the Laser La glacier which is located here. The enclosing Rocky Mountains give an enchanting sight from this region.
The wonderful expanse of the Himalayan mountains here provides a respite from the hassles of the daily life. An adventurer’s paradise, the Himalayas are home to unbeatable landscapes providing an ideal ground for adventure activities. In spite of the dispute between India and Pakistan over this northernmost Indian state, these beautiful regions of Jammu and Kashmir like Drass, Kargil etc., still make an excellent site for trekking and vacation.
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