Permits in Ladakh are not required for Indian Tourists from May 2014


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 🙂 🙂

Circular for No Permits in Ladakh for Indian Tourists starting May 2014

Circular for No Permits in Ladakh for Indian Tourists starting May 2014

Here is the copy of this circular for your reference:

Circular for No Permits in Ladakh for Indian Tourists starting May 2014

Circular for No Permits in Ladakh for Indian Tourists starting May 2014

Circular for No Permits in Ladakh for Indian Tourists starting May 2014

Circular for No Permits in Ladakh for Indian Tourists starting May 2014

Circular for Permits in Ladakh not Required for Indian Tourists from May 2014

Circular for Permits in Ladakh not required for Indian Tourists from May 2014

Circular Copy Credits:Kumar HV Fan and Forum on FB

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  1. Hi Dheeraj

    We are three friends and we are planning for Leh this June, last week most likely. We plan to go manali by bus and then hire 2 Bullets from there and then drive all the way to Leh. Also we plan to drive Kargil from Leh and then back to Leh.

    I wanted to check with you :
    1. what all locations you would advise in Leh or near Leh to visit.
    2. Moreover, we plan to do sleepover in tent is that possible in that region? I mean we putting our own trek tent.
    3. How is your opinion on Leh -> Kargil -> Leh
    4. We are 3 guys and will be renting 2 bikes, so pillion will also be there. is that ok and what challenges we should expect with pillion.


  2. Dear Dheeraj!

    Firstly, your site has been such an amazing place in help planning our Leh trip!

    I am from Bangladesh and was hoping to take a peek at Nubra Valley and visit Pangong Lake. Is ILP something that Bangladeshi’s still require in 2017 to visit these places? If so, what is the current procedure for this?

    I am sorry if this question has been already answered but I couldn’t find it anywhere and hence asked here 🙁

    • Sami, Bangladesh citizen need special permit from MHA Delhi to visit Inner Line areas of LAdakh and for the last 5 years or so, I haven’t come across anyone who got that permission or may be they never cared to share up here 🙂 … So, ILP is only applicable for Indian Citizens, Protected Area Permit PAP is valid for Foreigners. Permit for citizens of Pakistan, China, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Burma are issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and permits for those people who are on diplomatic or official VISA are issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in Delhi.

  3. smita kariwadekar on

    Hi Dhiraj..need your expert opinion/ views/suggestions for ladakh sight seeing itinerary in august 2017, I am planning to do stok kangri in the first week of august. the dates are 5th aug to 14th august for the trek from leh to leh. i want to club this with ladakh sight seeing, especially from the perspective that if i do some sight seeing before the trek, it will help me acclimatize better. at the same time, i do not want to tire myself by doing all the sight seeing before the trek. So in short, I feel that i should split the sight seeing into two parts viz before and after the trek. Considering this scenario, could you please suggest me some good itinerary. Since, will be in ladakh around 15th august, would also love to spend 15th aug at either leh war memorial or karlgil. Please share your views on the best possible itinerary so that i could cover all major sight seeing places in ladakh.

    • smita kariwadekar on

      btw, sorry I have posted my queries on a wrong thread. hope thats fine for you to reply 🙂

        • Smita Kariwadekar on

          Yes..Thanks a ton for the valuable piece of input you have shared. Shall modify the itinerary considering the same..Thanks again.
          Btw..Any suggestions on some good n economical places to stay? I will scout for the information in your other blogs anyway..But just in case if I miss on any good inputs, would like to hear from you. Sorry if it’s too much of a trouble..:) TIA

        • You can check the nice, preferred list of accommodation options in entire Leh – Ladakh (Leh, Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri) including moderate (cheap budget hotels as well) in the series of articles starting on the link here

    • Hi Smita,

      I feel you should first do a local sightseeing around Leh and Sham Valley including Alchi, Likir, Basgo, Magnetic Hills on the second day.Then start the trek and after the trek you may travel to Nubra Valley and Pangong Tso. How many days before 5th and after 14th you have for sightseeing in Ladakh.

      • Smita Kariwadekar on

        Thanks Dhiraj for your prompt reply. Posting below the tentative plan we have chalked out as of now. Please share your views on the same.
        Tentative plan
        29th our respective places to Srinagar via Flight
        29th stay in srinagar near dal lake
        30th July Srinagar to Kargil via road
        31st Kargil to Leh
        1st Leh to Nubra Valley via Khardungala and stay overnight at Nubra valley
        2nd Nubra to Pangong via Shyok route and stay overnight at Pangong
        3rd Pangong to Tsomoriri via Chushul route and stay overnight at Tsomoriri
        4th Tsomoriri to Leh and stay overnight at Leh
        5th is reporting day for Trek in Leh City
        For us it is rest day
        If we want we can spend one day in Leh also after reaching Leh from Kargil and come back from Tsomoriri to Leh on 5th Aug and report straight for the trek

        Thanks in advance. 🙂

        • Hi Smita,

          You will be tired with the above journey without much rest day. Also, it is highly recommended that you do acclimatization in Leh for one day before making journey to Khardung La and beyond. Better follow it else it might end up scaring you with AMS and jeopardising the entire trip including trek. Better skip Tso Moriri part and visit Nubra and Pangong Tso only after one day rest in Leh.

  4. Sumit kumar Kabra on

    Dheeraj ji
    One tour operators gave me this itenery & quoted 29k for 2 ppl without leh stay. plz tell is this a good bargain & correct itenery

    Pick up from airport 2 day local sightseeing 3day nubra 4day back to leh 5day pangong 6day back to leh 7day local sightseeing magnetic hill/ gurduwara pathar sahid/ sangam, zanskar confluence and 8day departure to airport

  5. Sumit kumar Kabra on

    Dear Dheeraj as written earlier I have planned my visit to leh going first time. Wd reach leh on 19thapril morning and wd depart on 26th april.
    Kindly give me itenery for the tour which all places to visit. I wd be hitting a bike in leh so do & don’ts for it too.


    • Hi Sumit,

      Bike ride will only be possible for local places around Leh and may be up to Lamayuru/Sham Valley which ever you will opt for. This is because the conditions of high mountain passes are very slippery and army do not allow bikes to ply on those roads as any mishap can be fatal at that altitude. So, please avoid at any cost. You can roam around Leh.

      I am suggesting a plan below of 6 days. You can add Turtuk in it while in Nubra Valley as a day trip from Deskit since you have 7 days in hand.

      Day 1 | Delhi – Leh (By Flight)
      — Checkin at Hotel. Many hotels provide free pick and drop from Airport. Ask while you book them.
      — Take ample of rest as well as water or anything that keep your body hydrated enough. DO NOT OVER HYDRATE. Take ORS Soluted water or ORS – L tetra packs from home.
      — Do not over exert your body at any cost. Avoid too much up-down on stairs or avoid it in entirety, if possible.
      — After 5-6 Hrs of rest you can visit Leh Palace, Local Leh market, Shankar Gompa .
      — If you feel exerted go back to Hotel, have dinner at Hotel and take rest. Avoid any exertion. Else continue and,
      — Follow the sunset by stroll at Changspa road and have a nice dinner on varied cuisines offered in-around Changspa road.
      — Go back to hotel for overnight stay at Leh.
      Day 2 | Leh Local Sightseeing + Acclimatization
      — Hire a taxi from Leh taxi stand or Hotel whichever suits you.
      — Bargain hard with taxi driver. Book that single taxi for entire trip after explaining the complete plan.
      — Take his inputs if you feel reasonable and if required modify the plan accordingly but should suits you best.
      — Ask him to be with you guys starting first day itself, if required and charged reasonable else do it at your own.
      — Again DO NOT over exert and take little steps and slow walks only.
      — If feeling OK then do Local sightseeing. To know the about the places to visit check the link: Travel Guide for Local Sightseeing of Leh Town in Ladakh
      — Do not use stairs at any of these places just to see them as it will exert your body much more.
      — Overnight at Leh

      Day 3 | Leh – Khardung La – Diskit – Hunder
      — Head for Nubra Valley and stay overnight at Hunder / Diskit
      — On the way enjoy a cup of soup at Highest Motorable Pass (as claimed) Khardung La
      — Diskit has monasteries with tallest lord Buddha statue and Hunder has sand dunes and bacterian camel safari

      Day 4 | Hunder / Diskit – Sumur – Panamik – Sumur – Khardung La – Leh
      — Sumur has a famous monastery to check out and Panamik has hot water springs
      — Overnight at Leh

      Day 5 | Leh – Pangong Tso – Leh
      — Do not plan to stay overnight at Pangong Tso as you will not be acclimatized and may fall sick. So, make a day trip only.
      — Overnight at Leh

      Day 6 | Rest day at Leh to enjoy local culture and some shopping OR Monastery tour OR Sham Valley tour OR Fly back home
      — Overnight at Leh
      — Monastery tour may include Hemis, Thicksey and Shey monasteries. They come on the route of Pangong Tso but as you will be doing day trip, it will be a bit hectic to include them on that day only.
      — Sham Valley include Alchi, Likir, Basgo Palace, Magnetic Hills, Confluence at Nimmu, Gurudwara Pather Sahib

      • Sumit kumar Kabra on

        Thx Dheeraj for information. I have seen pics ppl traveling to khardung la on bike so we can also go on bike, if not reasons plz.

        Sd we opt for share taxi for other places if not why.
        Asking u as it’s our first visit to laddakh.


        • Hi Sumit,

          It is not that bikes are not allowed to be taken to Khardung La. What I am trying to tell you is, that during the winter months when snow is present on roads and hard ice makes it very slippery conditions at high altitude passes like Khardung La and Chang La, army does not allow people to take bikes for the safety of the riders. Once the summers comes in and black ice is not present on the road, then bikes start plying on such routes. Hence, in April you can only use bikes for local sightseeing around Leh or up to Sham valley for your own safety.

          Again getting a shared taxi could be difficult due to lack of number of tourists in off season of April. In case you find people who are tourists you can go ahead and share the taxi with them. However, in local taxi you will just do destination to destination without any stops in between where you would have liked to stop the car and take few pictures.

  6. i would like to share my story about bike rental in Leh too.

    we got cheated by the rental company.

    i want to share my experience i hope this won’t happen to other travelers.

  7. i just back from kashmir & Ladakh trip. For non-indian, you can get the permit at any travel agent. DC office no longer issue the permit. Only travel agent can help.

    Few things need highlight here:

    1) Each travel agent give you different price. So, pls do survey to get better price. i found some ask for around 1000 rupee. The lowest i found is 650 rupee including processing fee.

    2) if you travel alone, a bit difficult to apply the permit. most of the travel agent refuse to do because they may be have less customer and you the only one apply the permit. So, you have to put more afford do survey around Leh. i travelled with 2 friends, so a bit easy to apply the permit.

    3) You only have 7 days permit

    we were planning to go to Nubrah valley, but after we reached check point, the officer took our permit and not allow us to go to nubrah valley due to heavy snow. We only managed to go up to Khardung La. Only taxi and car can go to Nubrah valley if heavy snow. we rented a bike.

    • yeeenn, thank you so much for the valuable updates. These will be very useful to all other planning the trip to Ladakh. I am surprised to come to know that DC office is no longer issuing the permits. Did you go to DC office and someone in DC office confirmed or did anyone else tell you about the same?

      • Hi, Thanks for respond. Yes we went to DC office. They told us, they no longer issue the permit and then we went to tourism office near post office in Leh to validate, the answer is the same.

        You only can get the inner line permit from travel agent. Pls do survey 1st. Each travel agent give you different price. This is very important.

        i would like to share my Ladakh experience here. There’s many good and bad stories. Can you tell me which platform should i write to share to public or readers here?

  8. Iam a bike riding freak now posted in Delhi, this september begining i planned a trip to Leh via srinagar, and started by evening 5 pm from my delhi home, and reached srinagar by 9 am, but due to curfew the road was blocked till evening 5, then i reached sonamarg for night halt and started to early morning to leh and reached by 2pm in Leh, thought of going further a bit and halted for night halt in a tented accomodation, and started early morning and reached non stop to delhi by early morning.

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