Zoji La is a high mountain pass in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, located on National Highway 1 between Srinagar and Leh in the western section of the Himalayan mountain range. It separates Kashmir Valley to its west from Dras Valley to its northeast.
View from Zoji La
|Elevation||3,528 m (11,575 ft)|
|Traversed by||Srinagar-kargil Highway|
|Location||Jammu and Kashmir|
Zoji La is about 100 km from Srinagar, the state capital, and 15 km from Sonmarg. It provides a vital link between Ladakh and Kashmir Valley. It runs at an elevation of approximately 3,528 metres (11,575 ft), and is the second highest pass after Fotu La on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway. It is often closed during winter, though the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) is working to extend traffic to more period in winter. The Beacon Force unit of the BRO is responsible for clearing and maintenance of the road during Winter. Driving through the pass in winter means driving between thick walls of ice on both sides.
It is sometimes referred to as "Zojila Pass" which is a misnomer and the suffix "Pass" is redundant because the word "La" itself means a mountain pass in Tibetan, Ladakhi and several Himalayan languages. Other examples are Nathu La on Sikkim-Tibet border, Baralacha La on Leh-Manali Highway, Khardung La, Fotu La, Namika La and Pensi La, to name only a few.
Every year due to heavy snowfall, vehicle flow stops during winter.
During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, Zoji La was seized by Pakistani supported invaders in 1948 in their campaign to capture Ladakh. The pass was re-captured by Indian forces on 1 November in an assault codenamed Operation Bison, which achieved success primarily due to the surprise use of tanks, then the highest altitude at which tanks had operated in combat in the world.
Zoji La tunnel project was approved by the government of India in January 2018 and the commencement of its construction was inaugurated by the prime minister in May 2018. The 14 km long tunnel will reduce the time to cross the Zojila Pass from more than 3 hours to just 15 minutes. The initial cost of the tunnel is US$930 million. It will be the longest bi-directional tunnel in Asia when completed.
Mountain passes of India