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Dras Tourism And Travel Guide
3° C / 37.4° F
April to June
1 to 2 Days
Shaikh ul-Alam Airport (103 kms)
Jammu Tawai (442 kms)
About 60 km from Kargil, lying on NH1 between Kargil and Zoji La Pass in Jammu & Kashmir is the little town of Dras. Popularly referred to as ‘The Gateway to Ladakh,’ Dras became a household name during the Kargil War of 1999 between India and Pakistan. Despite the insurgency and continued presence of the armed forces, Dras has retained its charm and unadulterated beauty. Tourism in Dras is all about exploring its raw beauty. There are a number of places to visit during your stay in the region. Here is a snippet of travel guide to visit in Dras.
How to Reach
The Shaikh ul-Alam Airport in Srinagar, about 103 km from Dras is the closest airport which the latter has. At the airport taxis and state buses are available which can transport tourists to their destination. Srinagar airport is one of the key airports in the area and fairly well connected by regular flights with major cities of the country.
There are no railway stations within close proximity of Dras. The nearest railhead is 442 km away in Jammu. Jammu Tawi Station is used to reach Dras. Tourists need to first take a bus to reach Srinagar before taking a connecting bus to Jammu Tawi.
Dras is accessible only by road in the absence of an airport and railway station. It lies on NH1 which allows it to connect with major areas within the state like Kargil, Leh and Srinagar. Buses and cabs also ply frequently between Dras and neighbouring states like Himachal Pradesh and Delhi. State operated buses and cabs are used to ferry tourists to and from Dras.
Though located at a high altitude, Dras boasts of a good local transportation system. Buses are fairly easily available and reach different places within Dras. Jeeps are extremely popular among tourists for sightseeing. Though more expensive than buses, they are faster and can be hired on a shared basis as well.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Summer (April to June):
Dras is beautiful during summer. The clear blue skies, sun shining brightly with temperatures around 15°C; it is the ideal time for exploring and enjoying the real beauty of Dras. The clear weather allows a clear view of the snow capped mountains and lush green landscape.
Monsoon (July to August):
July and August are the monsoon months in Dras. Heavy rainfall lashes Dras and surrounding areas, accompanied by occasional cloudbursts and dangerous landslides. It is not a suitable time to visit Dras as weather is far from conducive.
Winter (September to March):
The departure of monsoon is followed by the onset of pre-winter in September and October. The weather is fantastic and the beauty of Dras is at its peak. It is the best time for trekking. However, come November, the weather changes and winter sets in which continues till February. It is extremely chilly and temperature continues to fall steadily. Heavy snowfall renders Dras inaccessible to tourists.
Things to Do
By virtue of its mountainous terrain and high altitude, Dras has some amazing trekking trails. Several treks are flagged off at Dras. Some of the popular treks are the Dras to Saliskot 2-day trek, Mushku Valley to Tilail 3-day trek and the 30 km long Amarnath 3-day trek which begins at Minmarg.
Trip to Machoi Glacier:
The stunning Machoi Glacier is located in the near vicinity of Dras. Positioned between Zoji La Pass and Amarnath Cave, the glacier is a few kilometres from Sonamarg. The glacier is about 9 km long at an altitude of 4800 meters. The Machoi Peak is the highest peak which enjoys an elevation of 5458 meters from sea level. Sind and Dras Rivers both originate from Machoi Glacier.
Trip to Dras War Memorial:
This is one of the most visited places in Dras. Following the Indo-Park Kargil War in 1999, the war memorial was built by the Indian Army in memory of all those soldiers who laid their lives for their country. The memorial contains relics, details of the battles fought and of the soldiers who were martyred. From here tourists can catch a glimpse of the peaks which were wrestled from Pakistan by the Indian Army.
This is undoubtedly the best activity one can indulge in while in Dras, given the stunning landscape of the region. The rugged snow capped mountain peaks, valleys, lush green landscape, the quaint little villages dotting the area allows picture perfect setting for photography. It is photographer’s paradise.
Eating in Dras
One of the remotest areas of the country, Dras does not boast of fine dining experience. What it offers tourists are simple flavourful dishes that are no less delicious than any exotic food. The cuisine here has very strong Tibetan influence. Thukpas and Momos are extremely popular, served with chunks of veggies and meat. The bowl of steaming hot Thukpa or Maggi warms the soul on a chilly winter day and is extremely satisfying.