When you think of cold hill stations in India, you may think of names like Shimla, Manali, Gulmarg, or even Leh. However, when it comes to the coldest place in India, these places don’t even come close. India’s coldest inhabited place is a hill station named Dras in the northernmost state of Jammu and Kashmir. Located at an altitude of 3230 m or 10,990 ft, Dras is called the Gateway to Ladakh.
It is a convenient base for treks to Amarnath, Suru valley and Saliskot. The average low temperatures in Dras go as low as -22°c. The lowest temperature can go down to -45 °C at the height of winter, which lasts from mid-October to mid-March. This makes Dras not only the coldest inhabited place in this country but also the second coldest inhabited place in the world.
Best time to visit Dras
The best time to visit Dras is during summer which starts in April and goes on up till June. The average temperature during this season is near 15 °C. The skies are clear making for spectacular views of snow-clad peaks against stunning backdrops. You can also walk on the frozen lake in early April.
How to reach Dras
Photograph courtesy: Sandeepa Chetan/Creative Commons
Dras is located 60 km from Kargil on the road to Srinagar. It falls on National Highway 1D. The best way to reach Dras is by road from Srinagar airport. If you take the train, the nearest railhead is Jammu railway station which is 442 km away from Dras.