Popularly known as the ‘Gateway to Ladakh’, Drass is located in the famous Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir. The place is also the second coldest inhabited place in the entire world. Drass is quite famous for its snowfall especially during the winter season. What’s mindboggling is that the place observes a minimum temperature of at least -40 degrees Celsius and the beautiful valleys are covered in snow even till early spring or late autumn!
The Drass Valley also serves as the starting point for several beautiful treks such as the trek to Amarnath Cave and the Suru Valley. The place is favourable to all hikers and trekkers to the local villages and always satisfies their hunger. Located on the foot of ‘Zoji La’ mountain pass, Drass Valley is well known for its breath-taking scenic beauty. The place is extremely preferred by solo travellers as the locals here are extremely hospitable and warm. The place promises unforgettable adventure, spiritual enlightenment, serenity and wildlife hunt, all packed into one place.
How to reach Drass?
Drass is well connected to the rest of the country through well-established roadways, railways and airways. Several buses operating between Srinagar and Kargil pass through the Drass sector; these buses usually leave for Kargil in the early morning. Srinagar, the beautiful capital of Kashmir is connected to the Drass Sector through the National Highway roads. You can also reach Srinagar through Airways and can take up the National Highway to reach the Drass sector. Srinagar also has a Railway Station named Jammu Tawi.
However, the airport at Leh is quite nearer to the Drass Valley. You can always reach the Drass Valley from Leh by taking the National Highway road. Another alternative to reach Drass is by hiring a jeep or local car. You may also choose to hire shared cabs if you are a solo traveller or a trekker and save money. It is a much better choice to rent a cab for the valley if you are travelling in a group.
Do remember that the tourists travelling to Ladakh from Srinagar are required to book their names at the Tourist Registration Centre in Drass.
What are the most popular tourist destinations in Drass?
There are several beautiful places that you can visit in the Drass valley. From plush vegetation to breath-taking wildlife, and the lush green scenic town to religious shrines, the place promises a splendid time filled with memories to take back home. Few of the places that you can visit while you are in the Drass Valley are as follows:
- Ningoor Masjid: It is a well known pilgrimage and the place attracts a good number of devotees who seek the blessings of Allah.
- Suru Valley and Saliskote: A popular trekking destination which offers thrilling experiences to the tourists.
- Manman Top: You can view the LOC (Line of Control) from the Manman Top while immersing in the mesmerizing beauty of the Drass Valley.
- Brigade War Gallery: The gallery showcases information pertaining to the 1999 Kargil war.
- Laser La: It’s a famous hill station which is well known for its crystal clear water. The Laser La glacier is a must place to visit while in the Drass Valley.
- Drass-Gurez Trek Route: If you are looking forward to some trekking, then this trek route will surely not disappoint you. The route starts from Drass covering Ladakh to Bandipora.
- Draupadi Kund: As per religious beliefs, this kund is associated Draupadi, one of the most notable characters of the Mahabharata, the Hindu Epic literature.
- Dras War Memorial: The place commemorates the soldiers and officers who lost their lives in 1999 war between India and Pakistan.
- Tiger Hill: It is the highest peak in Kargil and offers a scenic viewpoint.
- Masjid-E-Jafira: It is a beautiful mosque located in Drass and attracts a good number of Muslim devotees.
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What is the Best Season to visit Drass?
The best season to visit Drass is the Summer Season. The Zoji La pass opens in Summer and it connects Srinagar with Drass. Therefore, it is best if you plan a trip anywhere between April to June.
Where to stay in Drass and the type of Hotels available there?
Being the ‘Second coldest inhabited place in the world’, it is quite interesting to learn about the accommodation facilities available in Drass. You will come across a good number of guesthouses as well as hotels that offer decent accommodations to visitors. All the hotels are equipped with basic amenities while offering spacious as well as clean rooms.
If you want to keep your budget low then you can surely give the government tourist lodge a try. The place offers different ranges of rooms such as suites, executive and deluxe rooms at highly economical prices. It is a wise decision to pre-book your accommodation facilities as the place is not filled with a number of hotel options. You can book your rooms from the tourist registration centre located at Kargil.
What type of food options are available in Drass for Vegetarians?
There are several local dhabas as well as restaurants in the Drass valley and they offer various delicacies at pocket-friendly prices. You can expect to find several popular North Indian and Punjabi veg dishes here. Dry foods like biscuits, sponge cake, and fruits are a specialty of the place.
Is the trip to Drass affordable for Budget Travellers as well as Backpackers?
Yes. The trip to Drass is quite affordable for backpackers. You will come across several shared accommodations in the Drass Valley with decent lodging facilities. You can also hire a shared taxi if you are travelling through the National Highways, or choose to travel in local buses for commuting within the valley.
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Tips while travelling to Drass Valley
As the Drass Valley is the second coldest inhabited place, it is essential to follow a few guidelines while planning for a trip. Following these tips will ensure a pleasant experience while you are in the valley:
- Do not ignore if your body shows any signs of discomfort.
- Try to overcome sickness caused by high altitude. Don’t forget to carry medications.
- Try to walk at a slower pace
- Hydrate your body from time to time
- You can visit a few days early and try to get acclimatized to the weather
- Always carry contact numbers of emergency personnel with you