Kashmir’s Death Point: Zoji La Pass
With beauty comes danger. This is also the case with Kashmir, the place known as a heaven on earth because of its penetrating beauty and peace-filled environment. Having soothing cascades, glacial lakes, green meadows, and majestic waterfalls, all tucked in tall mountain peaks, it is among the most sought-after places for a holiday in the world.
Coming back to dangers within the beauty, this place has many dangers which come at the cost of its beauty. One of the most dangerous roads in the world, Zoji La Pass is a part of the beauty of Kashmir Valley. This blog will go through the details about this Himalayan pass and the thrilling journey to it.
The word Zoji La – believed by some to mean the ‘Mountain Pass of Blizzards’, with the Zoji meaning blizzards and La meaning a pass. The local people claim that the word Zoji is the name of the goddess of Tibet’s four seasons.
The killer pass of Zoji La has claimed many lives from time to time because of the narrowness and bad condition of the road. This is mainly because of the wet and windy weather conditions that prevail here. This Himalayan pass gets notorious sometimes which causes landslides and sudden change of weather. The Government of India is trying to improve the condition of the road every passing day.
The Zoji La pass is the second-highest pass in this geographical area after the Fotu La, being at a height of 11,650 feet. It is located in the western Himalayas, in the Kashmir region but falls politically in the Kargil district of Ladakh. It connects the Kashmir valley to Ladakh. All the supplies and commodities to Ladakh are carried through this strategic pass.
The famous history starts with the occupation of the Zoji La pass by the Pakistani forces after the Independence. To retrieve this occupied land and the area of Ladakh, a war is started with Pakistan at Zojila, which ends with the recapturing of this area with the operation Bison. This Himalayan pass is among the most difficult places for warfare in India.
From Sonamarg to Zoji La
The journey to Zoji La goes through the famous and highly thronged place called Sonamarg. This resort is among the favourite ones of the travellers who visit Kashmir. Zoji La pass is around 100 km and 15 km from Srinagar city and Sonamarg respectively. Being a captivating journey, it makes one astonished and soulful, having the famous stop of Zero Point where one can eat, relax and capture lovely moments in the Sonamarg to Leh road trip.
In the year 2018, the Zojila tunnel project, started by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, became a big step. This project has been completed up to about 40 percent and is assumed to be completed in a few years. This tunnel has been drafted to be 14 km long and will be Asia’s longest bi-directional tunnel.
This will evade the necessary of clearing huge amounts of snow to clear the way. The tunnel will provide an all weather and all year connectivity to Ladakh, which is only possible for five to six months at this point of time because of the impossible snow and slipery conditions in the winter. This tunnel will be a major relief for everyone.
Best time to visit
If you want to experience the Zoji La pass journey with least risk, it is best possible in the months of June upto September. Visiting in this time is very risk free and will make your drive an amazing journey to remember forever.
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Mujtaba Hussain is a poet, writer and analyst. He loves to research different things. Travelling is his passion, and he is in quest of learning something about everything.