Dras

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Dras

The gateway to Ladakh
City
Dras
Dras
Dras is located in Jammu and Kashmir
Dras
Dras
Location in Jammu and Kashmir, India
Dras is located in India
Dras
Dras
Dras (India)
Coordinates: 34°25′41″N 75°45′04″E / 34.428152°N 75.75118°E / 34.428152; 75.75118Coordinates: 34°25′41″N 75°45′04″E / 34.428152°N 75.75118°E / 34.428152; 75.75118
Country India
StateJammu and Kashmir
DistrictKargil
Elevation3,300 m (10,800 ft)
Population
(2011)
 • Total1,201
Languages
 • OfficialUrdu
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
Websitekargil.gov.in

Dras (ISO transliteration: Drās) is a town in the Kargil District of Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir on NH 1 (former name NH 1D before renumbering of all national highways) between Zoji La pass and Kargil town. It is often called "The Gateway to Ladakh".[2] The government of Jammu & Kashmir's official spelling of the town is Drass.

Geography[edit]

Dras Valley

Dras town is located at 34°25′41″N 75°45′04″E / 34.428152°N 75.75118°E / 34.428152; 75.75118. It is often called "The Gateway to Ladakh". It is at a height of 10,800 feet (3,300 m)[1] Dras lies in the centre of the valley of the same name (Dras valley). Dras is 140 km from Srinagar and 63 km from Sonmarg. Kargil town is further 56 km after Dras on the national highway NH 1 from Srinagar towards Leh.

History[edit]

Dras War Memorial with Tololing Ranges in Background

In the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir (1846–1947), Dras was part of the Kargil tehsil of the Ladakh wazarat.[3]

During the invasion by Pakistan in 1947-48, the reinforced Gilgit Scouts, having gone over to Pakistan, attacked the Kargil area on 10 May 1948. The Indian army, which was by now in charge of the defence of Kashmir, sent reinforcements. However, they could not reach Dras in time and Dras fell to the Gilgitis on 6 June 1948. Kargil and Skardu also fell in short order.[4] In November 1948, the Indian Army launched Operation Bison, supported by tanks, and retook Dras and Kargil. Skardu, however, remained under the control of Pakistan.[5] The 1949 ceasefire line runs 12 km north of Dras through Point 5353.[6]

The ceasefire line was renamed the Line of Control in the 1972 Simla Agreement, by which India and Pakistan agreed to respect the line without prejudice to their stated positions.

However, in the early months of 1999, Pakistani soldiers, masquerading as mujahideen, infiltrated into the area and took control of the peaks overlooking Dras and the highway, in particular Tololing, 4 km from Dras, and Tiger Hill, 8 km from Dras. They directed artillery fire at Dras and the highway, leading to the Kargil War. The Indian army cleared the Tololing and Tiger Hill peaks by July 1999 and Pakistan, under American pressure, agreed to withdraw from the remaining peaks.

Climate[edit]

Dras
Climate chart (explanation)
JFMAMJJASOND
 
 
97
 
 
−8
−23
 
 
100
 
 
−6
−22
 
 
137
 
 
−1
−15
 
 
104
 
 
5
−6
 
 
61
 
 
14
1
 
 
22
 
 
21
6
 
 
15
 
 
24
9
 
 
16
 
 
24
10
 
 
18
 
 
20
5
 
 
20
 
 
13
−1
 
 
33
 
 
4
−10
 
 
53
 
 
−3
−19
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Weatherbase

Dras is the coldest place in India, experiencing an altitude-influenced mediterranean continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dsb). Winters are cold with average lows around −20 °C (−4 °F), and as low as −23 °C at the height of winter, which lasts from mid-October to mid-May. Summers start in June and go on up till early September, with average temperatures near 23 °C (74 °F) and little precipitation. Annual precipitation is almost entirely concentrated from December to May when Dras gets around 550 millimetres (21.7 in) water equivalent of snowfall.

Climate data for Dras
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 5
(41)
6
(43)
10
(50)
18
(64)
25
(77)
30
(86)
33
(91)
31
(88)
29
(84)
25
(77)
15
(59)
9
(48)
33
(91)
Average high °C (°F) −8
(18)
−6
(21)
−1
(30)
5
(41)
14
(57)
21
(70)
24
(75)
24
(75)
20
(68)
13
(55)
4
(39)
−3
(27)
9
(48)
Daily mean °C (°F) −15
(5)
−14
(7)
−8
(18)
0
(32)
7
(45)
13
(55)
16
(61)
17
(63)
12
(54)
6
(43)
−3
(27)
−9
(16)
2
(36)
Average low °C (°F) −23
(−9)
−22
(−8)
−15
(5)
−6
(21)
1
(34)
6
(43)
9
(48)
10
(50)
5
(41)
−1
(30)
−10
(14)
−16
(3)
−5
(23)
Record low °C (°F) −42
(−44)
−43
(−45)
−33
(−27)
−25
(−13)
0
(32)
−8
(18)
−5
(23)
−5
(23)
−5
(23)
−20
(−4)
−29
(−20)
−45
(−49)
−45
(−49)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 96.5
(3.799)
99.6
(3.921)
137.1
(5.398)
104.1
(4.098)
60.9
(2.398)
22.3
(0.878)
15.2
(0.598)
16.2
(0.638)
17.7
(0.697)
20.3
(0.799)
32.5
(1.28)
53.3
(2.098)
675.7
(26.602)
Source: [1]

Demographics[edit]

The population of Drass comprises people of Dardic (also known as Shinas) and Balti tribes. The Dards are descendants of Indo-Aryan people believed to have originally migrated to Ladakh from Central Asia. They speak Shina, a Dardic language. The Baltis form the major tribe in the whole of Kargil.The small town has a majority of people following Islam. The local population is of 64% male and 36% female. In total the population of Dras is 1,201.[7]

Places of interest[edit]

Dras has been developed as a tourist destination since 1999, following the Kargil War. This new facet of the local economy initially took the form of visitors specifically arriving to see the war zone.[8] Notable places include:

  • Manman Top, 10 km from Dras (from where one can view the Dras Valley and the LOC [Line of Control - see also LOC Kargil])
  • Gomchan Valley, 5 km from Dras (a highland valley with glacier and steam running through)
  • Dongchik, 10 km from Dras (A Model village in terms of Agriculture, Education and peace. Only village with zero cases as per Police record)
  • Ningoor Masjid, Bhimbet, 7 km from Dras (A mosque which is thought to have the Allah's special blessings. One wall of which was believed to be raised naturally during construction. This Masjid is visited by Muslim pilgrims)
  • Bhimbet Stone, 7 km from Dras (A holy stone for Hindu pilgrims)
  • Dras War Memorial, 7 km from Dras (also known as Kargil War Memorial)
  • Draupadi Kund - 18 km from Dras
  • Minamarg (A valley 30 km from Dras headquarters, hills of which is bounded by Machoi Glaciers and also is a traditional route to Amarnath Yatra)
  • Matayen (A village 20 km from Dras is the only village of Ladakh having Kashmiri speaking people)
  • Laser La (A hill station about 14 km from Dras, especially known for its milkwhite water and Laser La glacier)
  • Chorkiat Forest (near the LOC about 20 km from Dras and 5 km from Dongchik, is a natural forest area with a number of wild animals)
  • Tiasbu Astana 2 km from Dras (A religious place for Muslims)
  • Sando Top / Sando Base 8 km from Dras - Pakistani posts are visible from Sando Top, and Tiger Hill is located in front of Sando Top (1 hour drive away from Dras).
  • Mushku Valley 8 km from Dras (popular for various wild flowers during summer season in the deserted Ladakh region)
  • Dras-Gurez Trek Route (A trek route from Dras, Ladakh to Gurez, Bandipora in Kashmir which runs through Mushku Valley, Botakul and mountains (vehicular road also links Dras with Gurez))
  • Brigade War Gallery 3 km from Dras - information relating to the 1999 war.
  • Pandrass village 13 km from Dras - border village that was evacuated during the 1999 war.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Singh Negi, Sharad (2002). Cold Deserts of India. Indus Publishing. p. 226. ISBN 8173871272.
  2. ^ "Page on Dras from". ladakh-kashmir.com. Retrieved 2012-06-15.
  3. ^ Karim, Kashmir The Troubled Frontiers 2013, pp. 30–31.
  4. ^ Cheema, Crimson Chinar 2015, pp. 48, 102–103.
  5. ^ Cheema, Crimson Chinar 2015, pp. 111–112.
  6. ^ Swami, Praveen (11 August 2000). "Pakistan still occupies key Dras point". The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  7. ^ "Page 4. Rambirpur (Drass)". Censusindia.gov.in. Retrieved 2012-06-15.
  8. ^ Bhan, Mona (2013). Counterinsurgency, Democracy, and the Politics of Identity in India: From Warfare to Welfare?. Routledge. pp. 1, 178–179. ISBN 978-1-13450-983-6.

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]