Finally, there is good news midst all the confusing rules being laid with respect to outside bikes and all !!
Yes, you read the title correctly that “As an Indian National or Indian Tourist, you do not necessarily need to require Inner Line Permits in Ladakh starting from 1st May 2014 in order to visit common sightseeing places which lie in the restricted areas in Ladakh” …
No Permits Required in Ladakh for Indian Tourists / Nationals
In the recent circular published by DM in Leh, it has been stated that Indian Nationals or Indian Tourists DO NOT need any inner line permits in Leh – Ladakh region any more starting from 1st May 2014 in order to visit the restricted places: “Dah, Hanu Villages, Pangong Tso, Man, Merak, Tso Moriri, Nyoma, Loma Bend, Khardung La, Nubra Valley (up to Panamik), Turtuk, Tyakshi, Digger La, Tangyar (for trekking only)“
As an Indian Tourist or Indian Nationals, now you can just present your valid Photo ID Nationality Proof (Driving License, Indian Passport, Aadhar Card, PAN Card, etc..) at the ITBP/Army check-posts along with a copy of a self declaration form: Link of Ladakh Self Declaration Form for Indians, when and where asked from you and that will just acts as permit for you 🙂 🙂 … You need to make copies of this self declaration form and submit them at the checkposts.
Earlier (that is before 1st May 2014), in order to visit all these places like Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Nubra Valley, etc.. Indian Tourists or Indian Nationals required to apply for Inner Line Permits and foreign nationals needed to apply for Protected Area Permits (PAPs). This copy of Inner Line Permit was used to be submitted at ITBP/Army check-posts and they allow you to pass through. Now with this rule or circular in place and effect from 1st May 2014, Indian Tourists will not require any permits or ILPs rather they can just present their valid Photo ID Nationality Proof. However, the rules for foreign nationals still remains same as earlier. That is, all foreign nationals must apply for Protect Area Permits (PAP) in a group of two or more through a registered travel agent in Leh in order to visit the restricted areas in Ladakh of Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri and Dah – Hanu Villages.
IMHO, this will immensely help Indian Tourists interested to visit these common sightseeing places in Ladakh in terms of saving money as well as avoiding any hassles and wastage of time / day in applying these permits. In turn, this will also ensure a boost to tourism sector in Ladakh in one way or the other because for a newbie, the process of Inner Line Permits was some kind of puzzle always and most of the tourists ended up paying for such a trivial process to some agent in between. Now, with this rule in place for no inner line permits are required for Indians, those who are short on time can have a day saved for them which can be utilized for sightseeing in around Leh as full day or just relax in Leh without any worry of Inner Line Permits for Ladakh.
Wait, Some Very Important Points to Remember / Take Care
Please note that being an Indian or domestic tourist, you STILL NEED to apply for Inner Line Permits in order to visit places like: Hanle, Chusul, Tsaga, beyond Loma bend, Chumur, Marsimik La, Batalik sectors.
Hence, if you need to visit non-touristy places in Ladakh like Hanle, Chusul, Tsaga, Loma, Chumur, Marsimik La, Batalik sectors then you need to apply for inner line permits using the same process as it used to be. For more details on inner line permits process and to download application form read the link here.
Please note that acclimatization is still required and equally necessary. So, just don’t feel that if permits are not required then you have the liberty of not acclimatizing yourself and hitting the road to Khardung La the day you land in Leh or Tso Moriri from Manali side.
You should not visit Tso Moriri while going from Manali to Leh on the way because even though permits are not required for Tso Moriri now BUT your body will not be acclimatized to sleep at such high altitude of Tso Moriri lake (4500 Mtrs) in thin air so early in the trip. It may cause some really ugly AMS issues for you with least help around or even in distance, if the need arise. Highly not recommended unless you come acclimatized for 4500+ Mtrs.
Update: Circular Copy sent for uploading to NIC site on 24th April 2014 which confirms this good news 🙂 🙂
Here is the copy of this circular for your reference: