Drang: The frozen wonderland

The Drang waterfall and its streams freeze during winter, creating picturesque but surreal scenery in Gulmarg. Surrounded by forests and hills, Drang (also Drung) was earlier a tax collection point and is now an emerging tourism destination 

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Drang: The frozen wonderland. Pic: Sajad Hameed

Drang: The frozen wonderland. Pic: Sajad Hameed

A frozen waterfall and rocks covered with ice, encircled by mountain ranges where time seems to stand still -- it may seem like a scene from a fairytale, but the place is very much on earth. It is Drang village, located about 38 km from Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Ferozepur Nallah (nallah means a stream in Kashmiri) freezes during winter and is also known as Drung or Durung waterfall after the name of the village in the Tangmarg tehsil of Gulmarg in Baramulla.

The area’s temperature reaches up to minus 6 degrees Celsius during December and January. That’s when the waterfall freezes, forming icicles and creating picturesque but surreal scenery. 

The surrounding lake and streams also freeze, and there is snow all around as one travels from Gulmarg towards Tangmarg. However, the approach road and the waterfall are accessible throughout the year.

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tourists at drang
The place is accessible throughout the year. Pic: Flickr 

In summer, the cascading Ferozepur waterfall mixes with the water from glaciers and empties into the basin below. It splits into smaller streams which provide water for drinking and irrigation to the locals. The area is surrounded by pine forests which also get covered with snow during winters and bask in their green glory in summers.

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Emerging tourism destination

Drang was earlier a tax collection point for the vehicles going to Gulmarg. The area is now emerging as a popular tourist destination and becoming a part of the Gulmarg travel circuit due to the Ferozpur stream and the surrounding hills.

In the winter, the area becomes a hub for skiers indulging in snow skating and snowboarding. Descending skiers from Gulmarg often opt to stay overnight. Bonfire in the backdrop of snowfall in the silence of the night adds to the experience.

frozen waterfall
Drang is an emerging tourism destination due to its offbeat scenery and surroundings. Pic: Flickr

In the summers, tourists can spot trout in the shallow streams of water and also go trekking from Tangmarg. They can enjoy the waterfall, lakes, streams and greenery. There is potential for the site to evolve into a reliable destination for river rafting given its perennial water source.

Across the hill, there are some ruins of Shiva temples believed to have been built by the Pandavas when they were in exile for 12 years.

The place, known as Pandavlary, is surrounded by rectangular rocks and small caves. Visitors can explore the caves as well. 

For those seeking to reach Drang, transportation options include car travel or hiring All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs), which traverse the extensive forest roads throughout the region. Adventurous people may even opt for a pony ride to reach the Ferozepur waterfall. The people of Drang are known for their simplicity, and friendliness, maintaining a helpful attitude towards outsiders.

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