The place where in winter trees and birds are freezing and human beings quit hopes of surviving - it is Dras. 

Dras is a town in the Kargil District of Jammu and Kashmir. It is also called 'The Gateway to Ladakh. The town came into light after infiltration with Pakistan army in 1999. Pakistan’s army captured surrounding area of Dras. When war ended, Indian army recaptured area. 

Dras is the second coldest place on the planet. Dras is covered with thick sheet of snow for six months of winter.  Our Breaths are frozen because of Chilly breezes. Surviving is not easy there.  Life is cherished here waiting only for the warm summer months. Principal source of supply is Srinagar. But It is cut off for six months or more in winter. It is good thing than connectivity with Kargil remains during winter. 

Life style of Dras peoples 

Life in harsh winter is very tough. In winter, because of heavy snowfall, most of the peoples spend their time within their houses. Water is the basic need to survive,but it  freezes here in winter. Although spring water does not freeze, it is not available everywhere. In winter for water people of Dras are dependent on water tankers, which are supplied by Public Works Department. If due to heavy snow tankers do not reach them, then locals have to melt ice for drinking and other domestic purpose. 

When in need frozen water of river is also used by residents of Dras. They collect river water by making a hole on the surface of the river. River water is then collected and transported on horses and mules to their homes.

Fresh vegetables are rare here in winter, so peoples of Dras consume lentil and dried food. They store these during summer. Barley is the principal grain of Dras’s people. They make chapatties and sattu of barley flour. Papa is local dish, which is made of barley flour or sattu. They eat papa with mutton and butter oil. It is very nutritious and help locals to face the harsh winter. They prefer yak flesh because it is cheaper than goat and sheep. The quantity of meat stored during summer depends on the size of the family. All these makes living very expensive in Dras. 

Houses in Dras are generally made of mud and stones. To keep rooftops warm peoples cover it well with dry hay. It keeps rooftop warm up to some extent. Every house has a LPG connection but peoples also make local chullah with mud. This local chullah/stove warm their foods and also keep the houses and them warm. Bhukari is a mobile heater, and every house has bhukaries. Bhukari is a kind of stove that heats and warms rooms. Traditionally coal wood or sawdust is used in it. Kerosene and LPG based bhukharies are also available. 

 


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