Inner line permit for Kinnaur – Spiti Valley route has been recently getting a lot of attention. And why not? The reason is pretty simple with the boom in tourism in Kinnaur and Spiti Valley, a lot of people have started visiting these beautiful and tribal places of Himachal Pradesh. So, the questions like “Do I need a permit to travel to Spiti Valley by car or where can I get a permit for Kinnaur – Spiti?” is pretty much expected on my blog.
Hence, in this article, let us get familiar with the concept of an inner line permit to visit Kinnaur – Spiti Valley and how to apply for such permits. This article acts as a step towards building a comprehensive travel guide to Spiti valley.
Let's quickly dive into the details:
Do I need any permit to visit Spiti Valley or Kinnaur?
Generally, if you are an Indian citizen then you do not need any permits to visit Spiti Valley or Kinnaur Valley when traveling from Shimla – Kinnaur side. In fact, Indians do not need any permit to travel anywhere in the Himachal Pradesh except a vehicle permit for Rohtang Pass or visit the Indo – Tibet border at Shipki La or Kaurik.
However, if you are a foreign national visiting the regions of upper Lahaul – Spiti Valley and Kinnaur Valley, then you are required to get the inner line permits for these protected areas nearby international borders.
Even though Indian citizens are not required to get any permits to visit upper Kinnaur or Spiti, it is highly recommended that you carry a valid photo ID proof of your nationality on your road trip to Kinnaur – Spiti. This region is unlike Ladakh, where Indians also need to apply for an inner line permit for Leh Ladakh to visit areas near the International border with India – China.
Rohtang Pass Permit
Please note that if you travel to Spiti Valley via Manali side, you need to apply for Rohtang Pass permit for your vehicle. In case, you are hiring a taxi to visit Kaza or Spiti from Manali side, then the taxi driver will arrange Rohtang Pass permit for his vehicle, and you do not need to arrange a permit for yourself to visit Spiti Valley or Kinnaur.
Rohtang Pass permit is available online as well as using the mobile app recently introduced in the year 2018.
In Himachal Pradesh, foreign nationals visiting the protected areas of Lahaul – Spiti Valley and Kinnaur Valley are required to get the inner line permits or ILP. Domestic (Indian) tourist do not require any permits to visit Kinnaur – Spiti. If you are Indian, then just carry a valid photo ID proof of your nationality to be on safe side.
Given below are some facts or information you may like to know about inner line permits (ILP) for Spiti Valley or Kinnaur where these permits are necessary.
Information for Kinnaur – Lahaul – Spiti Valley Route Inner Line Permits
In Himachal Pradesh, foreign nationals are required to get Inner Line Permits for visiting these places Khab, Samdo, Dhankar, Tabo, Gompa, Kaza, Morang, and Dubling as per the official website of Lahaul – Spiti region. You can travel to tourist places of Kinnaur Valley without any permit which are Kalpa, Sangla Valley, Chitkul and Sarahan. These places lie below the Inner Line region in Himachal, and hence, no permits are required.
When you travel from Reckong Peo further to the upper region of Kinnaur and Spiti, there is a place called Jangi in Kinnaur Valley (after Kalpa / Reckong Peo) beyond which up to Kaza in Spiti Valley, a foreign national is required to get the inner line permits.
Jangi – Sumdo Police Check Points
Reckong Peo to Jangi Police Checkpost is about 35 km. Please keep in mind that Jangi Village itself is off the road, but when you travel on Hindustan- Tibet road and crosses the Akpa bridge after a few km Jangi police checkpost is setup.
It is at this place Jangi where even Indians need to register first at police check post with several people traveling and vehicle number. You will need your car/bike registration certificate and a valid driving license or national id proof to submit at this checkpost.
After Jangi, a similar police check post comes at Sumdo which is the entrance to Spiti Valley from Kinnaur side. Jangi to Sumdo is about 90 km.
Where to get Kinnaur – Spiti Permits?
These inner line permits for Spiti – Kinnaur Valley are issued from DM (District Magistrate) offices located in Shimla, Reckong Peo, Kullu, and Keylong. Or, you can get these permits from SDM (Sub District Magistrate) offices located in Shimla, Rampur, Kalpa, Nichar, Keylong, Udaipur. Or, you can also get these permits from ADC (Additional Deputy Commissioner) offices located in Pooh and Kaza.
Of course, if you are traveling to Spiti Valley by car from Shimla – Kinnaur side you need to get the permits from Shimla or Reckong Peo. And, if you are visiting Spiti from Manali – Keylong side then you will need to get these inner line permits from Kullu / Keylong / Kaza villages.
Timings of SDM Offices
These SDM offices open up by 10 AM in the morning (so be sure to be present there on time) and are closed on Sunday, Second Saturday of the month and national holidays.
The requirement to apply for an inner line permit
These permits are issued to foreigners in a group of two or more people coming through a reputed/registered travel agency in India. You can also try your luck going without any travel agent (especially at Reckong Peo) as well. However, it may or may not work depending upon the strictness at that point in time.
What Places come under Inner Line for Kinnaur – Spiti region?
According to the official document of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the following areas fall under the Inner Line region of Kinnaur and Spiti Valley.
Distt Kinnaur:- Pooh Block:- (1) Sumra (2) Shalkhar (3) Chango (4) Nako (5) Maling (6) Maling Dogri (7) Yang Thang (8) Kaa (9) Leo (10) Hango (11) Chuling (12) Hangmat (13) Namgia (14) Khab (15) Tashigang (16) Dubling (17) Dabling (18) Pooh (19) Labrang (Pooh) (20) Shayaso (21) Shunnam (22) Giabung (23) Taling (24) Ropa (25) Rushkulang (26) Nasang (27) Kanam (28) Labrang (29) Spillow (30) Moorang (31) Gramang (32) Thobaring (33) Khopka (34) Shilling (35) Ruwang (36) Thangi (37) Lamber (38) Charang (39) Kunu (40) Lippa (41) Asarang.
Distt Lahul & Spiti:- Spiti Sub Division:- (1) Dhankar (2) Shichling (3) Poh (4) Tabo (5) Hurling (6) Lari (7) Gue (8) C.P. Samdo (9) Korik.
What documents are required for a permit?
The documents required to get these permits are completely filled Inner Line Permit application form, a letter of sponsorship by a recognized travel agency, a defined itinerary of your travel, a copy of your valid passport & visa and three passports sized photographs.
How to apply or get an inner line permit for Spiti and Kinnaur?
The whole process of getting these inner line permits for Kinnaur – Spiti will take anywhere about 2-4 Hrs or maybe more at times. So, it is best to plan the itinerary of your road trip to Spiti – Kinnaur in such a way that you get at least a day’s stay at the place from where you wish to get these permits.
Once the permit is processed it is signed by the ADM/ADC and you have to be present in front of him in person at the time he is supposed to sign the permits.
The validity of Permit: The permit is valid for a period of 2 weeks.
After you get the permits, make 5-6 copies of it as you will be required to submit them at police checkpoints mainly at Jangi and Sumdo. Nowadays I guess the guys at police check-posts note down the details from the issued permit or ILP.
Inner Line Permit Fee
Although as per the government rule, there are no fees charged for the permits. But you should have all the documents prepared in advance. In Shimla, to make the process faster and efficient, they have set up a Sugam center. They charge a fee of Rs 150-200 for the permits. However, to the sorry state, the time of processing and efficiency is almost identical with or without that center. Of course, now you are required to pay Rs 150 – 200 for the permit which was free of cost.
Even at Reckong Peo and other places, people have been asked to pay about Rs 150 – 200 as a fee towards Inner Line Permits now and then but again the HP Tourism official website still says that these permits are free of cost. Not sure where it might be going. The point is that you should be ready to shell out Rs 150 – 200 for these permits depending upon your luck 🙂
Which is the best place to get an inner line permit for Spiti – Kinnaur?
Out of all, Reckong Peo is the best place to get the inner line permits because first there is less tourist rush and it is hustle free. Secondly, people at Reckong Peo are helpful. Thirdly, there is a computer with a Webcam, which takes the photos to paste them on the permits so that you won’t need separate photos. Lastly, you can always utilize the permit processing time (good 2-4 Hrs) to explore a beautiful Kalpa town about 12-13 odd km from Reckong Peo.
Additionally, you will be spared from all the nuisances which Shimla office might have. So, you shall generally avoid getting the inner line permit through Shimla based on reading the not-so-good experiences of many travelers in the past.
Can I get an online permit for Spiti Valley?
Well, the protected area permit for Spiti Valley and Kinnaur will only be available at the government authorized centers. You will not get these protected area permit online. Only Rohtang Pass Permit is an available online or mobile app, but that is a separate permit to cross Rohtang Pass when traveling to Kaza from Manali. Hence, you need to be present in person at these government centers to get the protected area permit for Spiti – Kinnaur.
In the end, I hope the above article provides you with some helpful information about the inner line permit for Spiti and Kinnaur Valley. I look forward to your thoughts or inputs or suggestions or experiences about applying the inner line permits of Kinnaur – Spiti Valley. Please leave your comments below if you have further questions, I will try to be back with an answer as soon as possible.
If you know your friends or family are planning a trip to Spiti – Kinnaur, do share this article with them to help them make a memorable trip.