Zoji La is a high mountain pass in India
, located on the Indian National Highway 1 between Srinagar
in the western section of the Himalayan mountain range. Though often referred to as Zojila Pass in the foreign press, the correct English translation is Zoji Pass or simply Zojila, since the suffix 'La' itself means pass in several Himalayan languages. In modern-day North Indian languages, 'La' and 'Darra' are both used interchangeably to mean pass.
Zoji La is 9 km (5.6 mi) from Sonamarg
and provides a vital link between Ladakh
and Kashmir. 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 most parts of the year. The Beacon Force unit of the BRO is responsible for clearing and maintenance of the road during Winter.
During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, Zoji La was seized by Pakistani raiders in 1948 in their campaign to capture Ladakh. The pass was captured by Indian forces on 1 November in a daring infantry 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.