Ladakh is known to be treasure of many rituals and histories, there are many places that are still unexplored and are related to the history. A few are now known but still not much popular amongst the travelers. 74kms after Kargil on the way to Srinagar, right next to the highway, is the so called Draupadi Kund (10,840’), also sometimes spelled as Dropati Kund. It is now being said that Queen Draupadi of the Mahabharata fame would bath here. The belief is said to be after 1830s, when the first Hindu soldiers arrived in Ladakh. What is certain is that the belief was quite well-established in the late 19th and early twentieth centuries. The local Muslims of that era had heard that an ancient Hindu queen called Draupadi used to bath and wash her clothes in that spring. Indeed, they would point to a fortress like structure on a peak that no one had been able to climb. That is where Draupadi’s family had lived, they were told. The Muslims of Drass would even celebrate the legend at a festival which would be held every year near the Kund, after the crop had been harvested, i.e. around October. There would be much singing and sport, mainly polo.
The festival now is discontinued, indeed may be because of, October had since become a month for extremely hectic economic activities. Everything that the Ladakhis need for the winters has to be purchased from Kashmir, Jammu or Delhi and stored for the next six months, when the road is to be closed. These things range from soaps and matchboxes to kerosene, petrol, medicines, just everything. Naturally the people of Drass now have things other than festivity in mind in the weeks that follow the harvest.