The snow-capped mountain in the background is called Tiger Hill. It stood as the final frontier of the 1999 Kargil conflict, between India and Pakistan. The hill was captured by the Pakistani forces who even set up their bunkers on top. the Indian forces had to climb up the vertical face of the mountain along with heavy gear and then fight, as it was impossible for India to pinpoint the exact location of the Pak bunkers to be shelled.
At an altitude of 3300m Drass is not only the highest battlefield in the world, but it is also the second coldest inhabited place in the world, next only to Siberia.
Kargil War Memorial
The Kargil War Memorial was built by the Indian Army in Drass, at the foothills of the Tololing Hill. It is located on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway 1D. The memorial is in memory of the soldiers and officers of the Indian Army who were martyred during the 1999 Kargil conflict between India and Pakistan. It has a huge epitaph with names of all the officers and soldiers who died in the war. Kargil Vijay Diwas is celebrated on 26 July every year at the memorial simultaneously the Prime Minister of India pays tribute to the soldiers at Amar Jawan Jyothi at the India Gate, New Delhi.
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.
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.
Polo is not just a passion in Drass, it is an obsession. Players mounted on Ladakhi ponies play a deadly, no-rules version of the sport of princes on a polo ground that’s hard, unforgiving, bone-crushing earth. All around soar tall, serrated, snow-covered peaks of the Great Himalayan Range. Polo is played with a passion in both the Vale of Kashmir and Ladakh,
Below are some beautiful landscapes shot in monochrome enroute Kargil from Srinagar, via the infamous Zoji La pass.
Picture Credits: Tejas Manjunath