Situated on the National Highway 1D, linking Srinagar and Leh is the Zojila Pass, a high mountain pass in Jammu and Kashmir. It is in the western segment of the Himalayan mountain range. Zoji La Pass is at the height of 3528m that would be around 11,649 ft, above the sea level. It is quite scary to travel through, but adventurous at the same time and tests your persistence at every turn. The topography is rough, and the location is complex.
Zoji la has a historical significance as far as India is concerned. It had helped in the Kargil war. As the tale goes, at the War fought between, India and Pakistan in 1947, this pass was snatched away from India by Pakistan aided invaders. The pass was reclaimed by the Indians through an operation called as operation Bison. Operation Bison witnessed the use of Army tanks at such a high altitude for the first time in world history.
Zoji la has also been important in the ancient history of India serving as the link between India and Tibet, Turkistan and China. It was the primary trade route between India and China.
LOCATION AND CLIMATE
Zojila Pass is at a distance of 9km from Sonamarg, which is a high altitude meadow. It is almost 9 km long. It has Kashmir basin to one of its side and Drass basin to the other. The climate could be extreme with strong winds and heavy snowfall at the time of winter. The temperature can go down up to -12⁰C at the time of winter. However, the weather is pleasant at the time of spring.
HOW TO REACH
Zoji La is located at National Highway 1D in between Srinagar and Leh. The road is the only way to reach the place. The roads are quite narrow. The nearest town is Sonamarg.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Travellers should choose the time for travel wisely. Winter is not preferred as it remains shut down due to storm, landslide, and glaciers. The Beacon Force unit of the BRO is accountable for the clearance and looking after of the road all through the duration of the winter. Spring is the excellent season for travelers.
Zoji la is often considered as the gateway to Ladakh. It is also the second regarding high altitude passes. The Indian government is currently planning to construct a tunnel through Zoji la pass such that it connects Kashmir to Leh.
The rough road in here is carved out on a vertical rock-strewn mountain. Adding to it is the fact that the roads are extremely tapered. However, the view is delightful from here.
Tourists often visit this place for the scenic beauty of Ladakh that could be experienced from here. Sightseeing is the primary motive of people who visit Zoji La pass. It is also a right spot for photography as well.
WHERE TO STAY
Sonamarg is the nearest place to Zoji La. Sonamarg is a popular tourist destination, and hence some hotels and homestays operate at the location.