Zoji La is a high mountain pass in the Himalayas in the Indian union territory of Ladakh. Located in the Dras, the pass connects the Kashmir Valley to its west with the Dras and Suru valleys to its northeast and the Indus valley further east. The National Highway 1 between Srinagar and Leh in the western section of the Himalayan mountain range traverses the pass. Since vehicle flow stops during winter every year due to heavy snowfall, the all weather Zoji-la Tunnel is now constructed to mitigate this.


Zoji La means the "mountain pass of blizzards".Zojila battle of 1948 — when Indians surprised Pakistan with tanks at 11,553 ft
The Print, 1 November 2019.
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 languages spoken in the Himalayan region. 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.


Zoji La is about 100 km from Srinagar, the capital of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, and 15 km from Sonmarg. It provides a vital link between Ladakh and Kashmir Valley. It runs at an elevation of approximately , 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 and The Vijayak Force unit of the BRO are 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.

Indo-Pakistani War 1947-1948

During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947-1948, Zoji La was seized by Pakistani raiders in 1948 in their campaign to capture Ladakh. The pass was recaptured 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

The Zoji La tunnel project was approved by the Government of India in January 2018 and the commencement of its construction was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2018. The 14 km long tunnel will reduce the time to cross the Zoji La from more than 3 hours to just 15 minutes. The initial cost of the tunnel is . When completed, it will be the longest bidirectional tunnel in Asia.


Image:SnowCutting.jpg|Snow cutting machine on the Zoji La Image:Zojila Road.jpg|Srinagar-Zojila-Leh Road Image:Road to Zoji La.jpg|Street up to Zoji La (coming from Srinagar) Image:Zoji La - Jammu And Kasmir.jpg|Vehicles proceeding towards the valley through the Zoji La

See also

* Machoi Glacier


External links

Zojila battle of 1948 — when Indians surprised Pakistan with tanks at 11,553 ft
The Print, 1 November 2019. {{Ladakh Category:Mountain passes of Ladakh Category:Mountain passes of the Himalayas Category:Ladakh Category:Geography of Ladakh