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1st Nov, 1948.
Standing at top of Zoji La pass felt like an achievement to me as it was my first high mountain pass of life It felt nothing less than an accomplishment scaling those heights for the first time.
Located at an altitude 11500ft.which pales in comparison to other passes like Khardung La or Baralacha La doesn’t seem much but its glory and the effort it demands to subdue it, make it the most admirable pass on my list.
Zoji La has glorious history which many people miss to realize the effort and the sacrifice of our Army's field engineers that went behind building while passing through that road.
In the early summer of 1948 Pakistan attacked Kashmir, Enemy was sitting atop the ridges on the pass in Oct 1948, Army was swung into action to remove the intruders from the mountain ridges. The Madras battalion, did the unthinkable by carving out the road and gave Army to carry tank battalion to the top and carry out a surprise attack on 1st Nov 1948 at Zoji La which gave the army unprecedented advantage.
A lot of us have passed through the memorial at Gumri atop Zoji, which is sadly lost in the Glamour of Kargil War memorial but very few realize the effort and the sacrifice of our soldiers that went behind building that road, we are proudly able to complete the journey today, which otherwise would have only been a story about a distant land for us.
The work on the new tunnel at the Zoji pass has commenced and years away of it being operational But till that happens, hopefully we can enjoy and ride through Zoji La.