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Zoji La is a high mountain pass situated in the Indian Kashmir, on the Indian National Highway ID. The location is exactly in between Srinagar and Leh in the western section of the Himalayan mountain range. The pass is often termed as Zojila Pass in the foreign communications, but the correct English translation is Zoji Pass or just Zojila as the suffix “La’ itself refers to pass in various Himalayan languages. Zoji La is situated 9 km (5.6 miles) from Sonamarg and creates an important link between Ladakh and Kashmir. It stretches with a height of about 3,528 metres (11,575 ft) and also possesses the credit of being the second highest pass after Fotu La on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway.
The Machoi glacier is situated besides the Zoji La which acts as a source for the Dras river and nallah Sindh. The Zoji La pass is often closed during winter as the Border Roads Organization (BRO) has been employed to extend the traffic to most parts of the year. The Beacon force Unit of the BRO takes up the responsibility for the clearance and maintenance of the road during winter season. At the time of Indo-Pakistani War in 1947, Zoji La was taken up by Pakistani raiders in 1948 along with their mission to capture Ladakh. The Pass was again recaptured by Indian forces on November 1st by a daring operation named Operation Bison by using tanks at the highest altitude.
About 20 km east of Sonamarg is the Zoji la pass, which serves as a gateway to the Ladakh plateau. Zoji la is located at an altitude of 3,528 m above the sea level, the pass joints Kashmir valley to Ladakh. Kashmir valley is located to its south and Ladakh to its North. It is the most ideal place to enjoy the scenic beauty.
There are many tourist spots located in and around the Zoji La valley including the Krishnasar Lake. Situated above the sea level of 3801 m, Krishnasar Lake is the most attractive lakes in Sonamarg. Covered by thick alphines, the place delivers very cool and pleasant atmosphere. Nilagrad River is about 6 km from Sonamarg, a major tourist spot referred for its reddish water. According to the residents, the water possesses amazing powers to heal various diseases and many people visit this place every Sunday. Sonamarg delivers many adventurous routes filled with amazing green water and frozen lakes around and Thajiwas glacier is one of the major tourist spot in this region. It is situated at a distance of 7 km from Sonamarg and is the best place to enjoy a sledge ride on the snow even during mid-summer. Situated at an altitude of 3710 m above the sea level, Vishansar Lake is widespread about 35 km from Shitkadi, Sonmarg. The lake is located with a length of a kilometer and a width of 0.6 km is definitely a place for visitor’s delight. Also present the Gangabal Lake, in other words termed as Harmuk Ganga at an altitude of 3570 m above the sea level. The valley is well known for trekking and hiking trails. The snowy peaks of the Himalayas and the hilly mountainous regions act as a perfect choice for all types of trekking expeditions. The valley also delivers white river rafting for adventure lovers.
How to Reach
The nearest airport to Sonamarg is situated at Srinagar at a distance of 70 km. Srinagar is well connected to Delhi with regularly scheduled flights. Taxis are readily available from airport to Sonamarg at a price of about Rs. 1000.
The nearest and main railway station is situated at Udhampur which is 246 km away from Sonamarg. Jammu railway station is located about 301 km from Sonamarg. Sonamarg can be reached from the railway station by hiring a taxi or bus. Taxi fare will be around Rs. 2500.
Sonamarg is connected with Jammu and Kashmir state owned road transport corporation buses. Sonamarg is linked with Jammu which is located at a distance of 60 km and the fare is around Rs. 30. Whereas Srinagar is situated about 70 km and they will charge Rs. 35. Special luxurious buses are also available from Jammu and Kashmir to Sonamarg at an extra cost.