Zojila Pass

Zoji La is the name of a high mountain pass that is located in the Himalayas in the Union Territory of Ladakh. It is located in the Dras and this pass connects the Dras and Suru valleys to its northeast, the Kashmir Valley to its west and the Indus valley further east.

Overview:

  • National Highway 1 between Leh and Srinagar in the Himalayan mountain range’s western section traverses the pass.
  • The all-weather Zoji-la Tunnel has been constructed to mitigate the stoppage of vehicle flow during winter every year due to heavy snowfall.

The etymology of Zoji La

“Mountain pass of blizzards” is the meaning of Zoji La. Sometimes it is referred to as “Zojila Pass” but the suffix “Pass” is redundant because the word “La” itself means a mountain pass in several languages spoken in the Himalayan region.

Location of the pass

Zoji La is located around 100 km from Srinagar and 15 km from Sonmarg. A vital link between Kashmir Valley and Ladakh is provided by this pass. It runs at an elevation of around 3,528 metres or 11,575 ft and is the second-highest pass on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway after Fotu La.

During winter it is often closed. The Vijayak Force unit and the Beacon Force unit of the Border Road Organisation (BRO) are responsible for the maintenance and clearing of the road during winter.

Zoji La was seized during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947–1948

In 1948, Pakistani raiders seized this pass during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947–1948 as part of their campaign to capture Ladakh. On 1st November, the Indian forces recaptured this pass in an assault codenamed Operation Bison, during which tanks were used to surprise the enemy.

About Zoji La tunnel

Zoji La tunnel project was approved by the Indian Government in 2018 and in May 2018 the commencement of its construction was inaugurated by PM Modi. This 14 km long tunnel will reduce the 3 hours’ time required to cross the Zoji La to just 15 minutes. USD 930 million is the initial cost of constructing this and after completion, it will be Asia’s longest bidirectional tunnel.

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