Drass in western Ladakh is the coldest place in India. It is also the second coldest place in the world after Siberia. Temperatures drop down to about -40 degrees Celsius in winters. However, summers in Drass are balmy and many trekkers and campers visit Drass during the summer time. Drass has an altitude of 3230 m and lies 60 km west of Kargil on the road to Srinagar. The Drass valley starts from the base of the Zojila pass, the Himalayan gateway to Ladakh. Drass is a convenient base camp for treks to Suru valley. Inhabitants of Drass are of Dard descent, an Indo-Aryan race believed to have originally migrated to Ladakh from Central Asia.
Easternmost Point of India
Kibithu is the easternmost point of India. Kibithu is a tiny village located at an altitude of 11,000 feet in Arunachal Pradesh's Lohit District, bordering China's Tibet region. Kibithoo is nestled on the right bank of the mighty Lohit River. It is the first settlement along the banks of Lohit River in Arunachal Pradesh after the river enters the Indian Territory from China. The climate of Kibithu is cool and salubrious. The whispering pine forests, wild rash berries, beautiful flowers and majestic waterfalls set against tall blue hills add to the abundant natural beauty of Kibithu.
Kibithu witnessed some of the fiercest fights by Indian Soldiers against the Chinese in 1962. But with the passage of time, after Nathu La, Kibithu is fast emerging to be a new melting point of Indo-China friendship. It offers relatively easy travel up to Chinese side.
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The statue of Gomateshwara at Sravanbelagola in Karnataka is the tallest statue in India. The statue is 17m (55 ft) high and is visible from a distance of 30km. The gigantic monolithic statue is carved out of a single block of granite and stands majestically on top of a hill. This statue of Lord Gomateshwara was created around 983 AD by Chamundraya, a minister of the Ganga King, Rajamalla. Lord Gomateshwara was a Jain saint, hence the place is an important Jain pilgrimage center. The statue of Gomateswara shows the recluse completely nude, in the Jain custom. The neighboring areas have Jain bastis and several images of the Jain Thirthankaras. At Sravanbelgola the Mahamastakabhishekam festival is held once in 12 years, when the image of Gomateswara is bathed in milk, curd, ghee, saffron and gold coins.
St Thomas Church at Palyar in Trichur, Kerala is considered to be the oldest church in India. In 52 A.D. Thomas Didaemus, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ. is believed to have landed at Musiris (Cranganore) in Kerala. He made his first converts both Jews and Hindus at Palayur a town now in Trichur district, Kerala. There he built a small church with an altar, which he consecrated. The Palayur church still stands at the same site and is the oldest church in India. In the 17th century Reverend Fenichi enclosed the original church with a new outer building, as the wooden walls of the old church were destroyed with time. But the original altar consecrated by St. Thomas still remains at this site.