Drass is a small town in the state of Jammu and Kashmir which is located about 60 km from Kargil on the KargilSrinagar Highway or NH-1. The town of Drass is located at an altitude of about 10,597 feet above sea-level. Drass is well-known as the second coldest inhabited place in the world after Siberia. 

Temperatures in winter drop to a bone-breaking low of -45℃ but during the summer months of May to August, Drass is a completely different place. With the sky over-cast for most of the day and a few short drizzles that last not more than a couple of minutes, the town of Drass experiences a very pleasant climate during the summers and this is the best time to visit this town.

The town of Drass is located about 142 km from the state capital of Srinagar and is easily accessible by road during the summer months. There are multiple transport options for travellers to choose from while travelling to Drass.

The first is to hire a taxi from Srinagar which is a preferred option for a group of about 5-7 travellers. The second is to take a shared cab and pay per seat. This is a good option for solo travellers. The last option is the local government bus which is not very reliable and also very over crowded. There is usually a bus in the morning at 6am from the Srinagar bus station to Kargil, but don’t be surprised if the bus is randomly cancelled in the morning. All buses that ply to Kargil stop at Drass for about 10 minutes or more.

Once in Drass the first thing that travellers will notice is the sign board by the state tourism board which indicates that this town is indeed the second coldest inhabited place on earth. The inhabitants of this town are mostly Muslims. Most people who live here are hard breed people who have not only learnt the art of surviving in the extreme cold but have also learnt how to make the best use of their surroundings.

Drass valley starts at the end of Zojila Pass and for centuries the inhabitants are known to have navigated this formidable and extremely dangerous pass even during the most risky period in the late autumn or early spring. When the whole region remains snow-bound and is subject to frequent snow storms, to transport trader’s merchandise across and to help stranded travellers to traverse it. By virtue of their mastery over the pass they had established a monopoly over the trade in this region that goes back to the heyday of the Pan-Asian trade.

The town of Drass is very small and will not take travellers more than about 15 minutes to cover the whole town. The whole town covers not more than about 150 meters of the highway, with houses and shops lined up on either side of the road. The houses and shops in Drass are mostly made of wood and brick, while only the front entrance of the shops are painted in bright colors. Walking is the best way of exploring this small town of Drass.

The local language of the people in Drass is Shina a language from the Dardic people of the Indo-Aryan descendant. The people of Drass are believed to have migrated to this region hundreds of years ago from central Asia. Most of the people in the village are dressed in traditional Muslim attire and the women are always with their heads covered. A few of the younger generation boys are seen in jeans, trousers and T-shirts. The inhabitants of Dras can well be described as the guardian’s of the Ladakh’s gateway.

Drass does not have much to offer from the point of view of a tourist but it has plenty to offer for the trekkers and hikers, since this town is the base for several high altitude Himalayan treks that go through the surrounding regions. Like most of the villages and towns in this part of the Himalayas, Drass also has its own mosque which can easily be spotted from anywhere in the town.

Accommodation options in Drass are surprisingly on the higher side since there are only limited guest houses and a few better looking guest houses which claim to be hotels. Drass is a place where very few people opt to spend the night as most travellers just stop here for lunch en-route to Kargil and explore the lanes and by-lanes while the food is getting cooked.

There are plenty of dhabas and small restaurants that serve really good food at very economical prices. Drass is also the best option for anyone travelling towards Kargil to grab a bite if they are vegetarian because finding a pure vegetarian place to eat in Kargil is near impossible. There are also a couple of bakeries selling biscuits and local sponge cake which is a must have.

The town of Drass is a must stop place for all travellers en-route to Kargil because it is not very often that a traveller can lay claim to have travelled and had lunch if not spent a night in one of the coldest places inhibited by humans. Drass is a place that will be liked more by the traveller and less by the tourist. 

24 Responses

  1. murtaza

    Drass ..beside being the second coldest inhabited place in world , Drass is famous for its traditional horse polo matches , it host many international level horse polo matches that including teams from Mangolia and professional Indian players also participates ..
    in summer it has scenics mountains tops around , heaven for the mountain trekkers, with few identified traditional trekking routes.
    fishing around the fresh water river is one of the best exotic time pass ..Gold fishes anybody craves for.
    Drass blends with unique culture and traditions of Dard from gilgit ,Balti from baltistan . Kashmiri from kashmir and Purgis from purge ..many Bhudhist era stone carvings of Bhudda is also found in Drass.

    you also pay homage to martyrs at 1999 War memorials , which has war museum , cafeteria, atm and other facilities.

    in winters it is winter sports hub , with snow skiing and ice hockey, traditional archery.. it has best of slopes and snow quality..and long stretch winter season.

    you can come and enjoy homestay in the lab of nature and contribute to its development.
    thanks

    Reply
  2. phillips phillips gone gone gone

    Travel has become easy in India thanks to the sharing of how to get there on your website. Love the places you guys have profiled.

    Reply
  3. Deepa Swami

    This place Drass looks like a very simple and old fashioned village that has not a lot of sites to visit other than the culture.

    Reply
  4. Tanvi Rai

    I love the pictures on this post really nice and very well clicked and I have to say Drass looks really nice and a village that I would love to visit sometime in my life.

    Reply
  5. Jack Sparrow

    Hi Sherwin, I can’t imagine life to be simpler than that of the people living in Drass. You can’t expect to do much when the weather is that dominating. Looking at such people and places, I really start to question the development of our nation as a whole. Thank for showing me the other, unnoticed side of our country.

    Reply
  6. Praveen Nair

    Very well written! I was looking for information about remote places around Kargil and Drass sprung up in the search options. This site surely had the best and most straight forward information about this town.

    Reply
  7. Ronnieer

    This town of Drass is simply one of those places where all you can do is get there and say Wow. The life of the people here is so very simple but content this is one thing that I like most of the people who live in villages around the Himalayas.

    Reply
  8. Kalpesh Naidu

    Very good write up about Drass very informative. I will be biking to Ladakh this season and Drass is surely one of the places where I will be stopping over for the night.

    Reply
  9. Calvin Coft

    Drass is a place which is good for a lunch halt and noting more, staying in this village for a night is a waste of time since there is absolutely noting to do in this town.

    Reply
  10. Susan Long

    Drass was a place that did now wow me all that much since I guess i expected a bit too much from this village and it ended up being just another village/town in Kashmir. But a must do thing in Drass is to get a picture with the sign board that states its the second coldest inhabited place in the world.

    Reply
  11. Elvis Gomes

    This place Drass seems to be a very remote village that is still very old fashioned, but it still has a very different and a good feel to the place from the pictures that I have seen from this post. Would really like to visit this place some time soon.

    Reply
  12. Aiden Towser

    Hi,I saw your article and it really made we wonder how these people must be braving the cold during winter and staying at home locked in their tiny homes when the temperature outside is around -40. I love the cold but I would surely not want to stay in a place that is so cold. I really salute the people from Drass, seriously brilliant.

    Reply
  13. Kinjal Sharma

    Its so weird that the second coldest place in the world is in my own country and I had no idea about it. I always thought GreenLand or Ice Land will be the coldest places on earth but never imagined India to have one in the top two. wow

    Reply
  14. Brenda White

    Its really nice to read a good write up about Drass. Been searching for information about this town but all the info was not good enough, thanks to this site we finally have a good reliable description about the place and also pictures to help me get a good idea of what to expect from this place. Keep posting information about such places around India. I will be coming to your country soon. 🙂

    Reply
  15. Dipen Rathod

    Good write up about a really nice looking place. The pictures are really good and does complete justice place.

    Reply
  16. Rishabh Sinkar

    Very nice write up about Drass a place which looks very ancient and lost in time, with everything looking so primitive from the shops and houses. its funny how one picture has whole row of Tata sky TV connections. But baring all this Drass surely looks like a very nice place and a place totally worth visiting at least ones in my life time. 🙂

    Reply

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