Drass is a small town on Srinagar – Leh National Highway 1D , 147 km from Srinagar and 60 km from Kargil at a height of 3230 meters from sea level , it is also called the Himalayan gateway to Ladakh , it starts from Zoji-la and extends till Kargil , it is the second highest coldest inhabited place after Siberia on earth , the temperature goes down till minus 60 degree centigrade in winters , in the local Baltic language Dras means ” the Hell” There are heavy snow fall and storms from November to April May . During spring and summer, the valley transforms into lush green Meadows splashed with a variety of fragrant wild flowers
Drass River originates from the Machoi glacier near the Zozila Pass. The river is joined by many other rivers and streams flowing in from snowfields from the nearby mountains. The river Shigar flows in from the north drains and joins it in the Drass valley.
The Puga Valley is famous for its hot water springs ,visitors come to this valley for a bath in these springs as this is known to help people suffering from rheumatism and skin diseases , Drass is a convenient base for a 3-day long trek to Suru valley This trek passes through beautiful upland villages and wild flower meadows on both sides of the Umba – La pass ( 4,500 meters )
The town got famous after the 1999 Kargil War when it was being shelled by infiltrators till the Indian Army recaptured the three heights, namely Tololing, Tiger Hill and The Three Pimples overlooking National Highway 1D that passes through Drass.
Its inhabitants are mainly of the Dard origin , an Aryan race that migrated from Central Asian steppes. They speak Shina ,belongs to the Indo-European linguistic family. Their ancestral sport, horse-polo that the Dard plays with particular zeal, resembles our modern polo . The people inhabiting these regions faces the harshness of the valley’s winter; negotiate the formidable pass to transport a trader’s merchandise. The citizens of Drass can be described as the guardians of Ladakh’s gateway.
Tourism is being promoted in this region by organizing the Polo matches among the villages and teams from outside the valley. Polo stadium is named after an army officer Lt. Conolel Vishwanathan who sacrificed his life to push the Pakistani intruders out of this valley in 1999 .
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