Zoji La

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Zoji La
A view from Zoji La.jpg
View from Zoji La
Elevation3,528 m (11,575 ft)
Traversed bySrinagar–Leh Highway
LocationLadakh, India
Coordinates34°16′44″N 75°28′19″E / 34.27889°N 75.47194°E / 34.27889; 75.47194Coordinates: 34°16′44″N 75°28′19″E / 34.27889°N 75.47194°E / 34.27889; 75.47194
Zoji La is located in Ladakh
Zoji La
Zoji La
Location in Ladakh
Zoji La is located in Jammu and Kashmir
Zoji La
Zoji La
Zoji La (Jammu and Kashmir)
Zoji La is located in India
Zoji La
Zoji La
Zoji La (India)
Zoji La in June, 2004

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.


According to some sources, Zoji La means the "mountain pass of blizzards".[1]. However the word for blizzards is བུ་ཡུག་ (wylie bu-yug) Zoji is actually Du-Zhi-la, the goddess of Tibetan’s four seasons; the Du-Zhi-lha-mo དུས་བཞི་ལྷ་མོ Legend terms her the wife of Naropa. With time people changed it to Zojila. This is wholly based on oral transmission that survived among the local people. 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 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 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.

First Kashmir War[edit]

During the First Kashmir War, Zoji La was seized by Gilgit rebels 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.[2]

Zoji La tunnel[edit]

The 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.[3] 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 US$930 million. When completed, it will be the longest bidirectional tunnel in Asia.[4][5]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zojila battle of 1948 — when Indians surprised Pakistan with tanks at 11,553 ft, The Print, 1 November 2019.
  2. ^ Sinha, Lt. Gen. S.K. (1977). Operation Rescue:Military Operations in Jammu & Kashmir 1947–49. New Delhi: Vision Books. pp. 103–127. ISBN 81-7094-012-5. Retrieved 4 August 2010.
  3. ^ "PM Modi inaugurates Zojila project in Leh: All you need to know about India's longest tunnel". 19 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Cabinet approves Zojila Pass tunnel project – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Cabinet nod for Rs 6,809-crore Zojila tunnel project connecting Jammu and Kashmir with Ladakh". The Indian Express. 4 January 2018. Retrieved 7 April 2018.

External links[edit]