Dras
Hem-Babs
Humas
Dras
Nickname(s): 
The Gateway to Ladakh
Dras
Dras
Location in Ladakh, India
Dras
Dras
Dras (India)
Coordinates: 34°25′50″N 75°45′09″E / 34.4305715°N 75.7524594°E / 34.4305715; 75.7524594Coordinates: 34°25′50″N 75°45′09″E / 34.4305715°N 75.7524594°E / 34.4305715; 75.7524594
Country India
Union TerritoryLadakh
DistrictKargil
TehsilDras[1]
Elevation3,300 m (10,800 ft)
Population
 • Total21,988
Languages
 • Officialurdu, English
 • SpokenShina,[Balti language
Time zoneUTC+5:30 (IST)
PIN
194102
Websitekargil.gov.in

Dras (also spelt Drass, ISO transliteration: Drās) is a hill station in the Kargil district of the union territory of Ladakh in India. It is on the NH 1 (former name NH 1D before renumbering of all national highways) between Zoji La pass and Kargil town. Drass is "The Second Coldest Inhabited Place In The World" and Coldest place in India. A tourist hub for its high altitude trekking routes and tourist sites, it is often called "The Gateway to Ladakh".[3] The government's official spelling of the town is Drass.

Etymology

Traditionally, Dras is known as Hem-babs, which means "snow land" with the word "Hem" meaning snow. The average temperature of Dras in winter is -20 degrees Celsius.[4]

Geography

Dras Valley
Dras Valley

Dras is often called "The Gateway to Ladakh". It is at a height of 10,800 feet (3,300 m)[2] 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

Further information: First Kashmir War, Simla Agreement, and Kargil War

Dras War Memorial with Tololing Ranges in Background
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.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7] The 1949 ceasefire line runs 12 km north of Dras through Point 5353.[8]

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.

Climate

Dras
Climate chart (explanation)
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D
 
 
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. There is a popular claim as well various signs/boards showing Dras being second coldest inhabited place in the world. However, there is no reliable weather data to substantiate the claim.

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) −8.8
(16.2)
−6.5
(20.3)
−1.3
(29.7)
5.5
(41.9)
14.3
(57.7)
21.6
(70.9)
24.0
(75.2)
24.3
(75.7)
20.4
(68.7)
13.6
(56.5)
4.0
(39.2)
−3.5
(25.7)
9.0
(48.1)
Daily mean °C (°F) −16.4
(2.5)
−14.5
(5.9)
−8.4
(16.9)
−0.7
(30.7)
7.4
(45.3)
13.8
(56.8)
17.0
(62.6)
17.2
(63.0)
12.8
(55.0)
6.1
(43.0)
−3.3
(26.1)
−10.2
(13.6)
1.7
(35.1)
Average low °C (°F) −23.9
(−11.0)
−22.4
(−8.3)
−15.5
(4.1)
−6.9
(19.6)
0.5
(32.9)
6.0
(42.8)
9.9
(49.8)
10.0
(50.0)
5.2
(41.4)
−1.4
(29.5)
−10.5
(13.1)
−16.8
(1.8)
−5.5
(22.1)
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) 33.1
(1.30)
56.1
(2.21)
44.6
(1.76)
36.6
(1.44)
30.3
(1.19)
6.7
(0.26)
18.3
(0.72)
59.0
(2.32)
7.4
(0.29)
17.6
(0.69)
54.7
(2.15)
40.9
(1.61)
405.3
(15.94)
Average precipitation days (≥ 2.5 mm) 2.4 3.0 3.4 2.2 3.0 0.7 1.0 0.9 0.8 0.7 2.7 2.4 23.2
Source 1: [1][better source needed]
Source 2: Precipitation [9]

Demographics

The major ethnic groups are the Shina people, who speak the Indo-Aryan language Shina, and the Balti people, whose language, Balti, belongs to the Tibetic group. The small town has a majority of people following islam Sunni Islam (60%), Noorbakshia Islam (20%) and Shia Islam (20%) . The local population is 64% male and 36% female. In total the population of Dras per the 2011 Census is 21988. Out of this, 14731 are males while 7257 are females. This block has 2767 kids in the age bracket of 0-6 years. Among them 1417 are boys and 1350 are girls.[10]

Tourism

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.[11] Notable places include:

References

  1. ^ "Revenue Villages | District Kargil, Union Territory of Ladakh | India".
  2. ^ a b Singh Negi, Sharad (2002). Cold Deserts of India. Indus Publishing. p. 226. ISBN 8173871272.
  3. ^ "Page on Dras from". ladakh-kashmir.com. Archived from the original on 7 February 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  4. ^ Schuh, Dieter (2014). "Drass". Tibet-Encyclopaedia.
  5. ^ Karim, Kashmir The Troubled Frontiers 2013, pp. 30–31.
  6. ^ Cheema, Crimson Chinar 2015, pp. 48, 102–103.
  7. ^ Cheema, Crimson Chinar 2015, pp. 111–112.
  8. ^ Swami, Praveen (11 August 2000). "Pakistan still occupies key Dras point". The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  9. ^ "Climate of Jammu & Kashmir" (PDF). Dras is on page 126, the low temperature page 124: India Meterological Department. Retrieved 18 February 2021.CS1 maint: location (link)
  10. ^ "Page 4. Rambirpur (Drass)". Censusindia.gov.in. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
  11. ^ 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