Leh – Ladakh journey (especially by road) is quite an experience in anybody’s life who loves to travel and I feel one must visit Leh – Ladakh at least once in his / her lifetime. The mesmerizing beauty offered by mother nature in this region is simply jaw-dropping and takes your soul away within minutes. Although it has been quite a time since return from my Ladakh journey, I feel only my body has managed to arrive back and soul still explores that breathtaking vistas in my dreams. Surely, there is no other place like Ladakh in the world and in case you have a good plan for your Ladakh trip, it cannot get any better !!!
Being on the International borders, one need Inner Line permits to visit various inner line areas of the Ladakh region. The DC office is located in Leh town which issues the inner line permits to tourists visiting the different regions of Ladakh district and once you have the permits you can then move on with the further exploration of this cold desert. Given below are some facts or information you may like to know about inner line permits for Leh – Ladakh…
Update: 2018 = Permits for Hanle and Chusul route needs different stamps
- You need to apply for Hanle permit and Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri via Chusul permit in DC office Leh and they will provide an extra stamp on your permits for Hanle and Chusul. Unless you have these extra stamps, you will not be allowed to pass through Loma and Chusul check-posts.
Update: 2017 = Ladakh Inner Line Permit Available Online
Update: April 2017 = Pay environment fees and apply for permits again
- The environment fees of Rs 400 & Inner Line Permits (most likely as well) will again be required in Ladakh for Indian Tourists / Nationals with effect from April 1st, 2017. This has been recently announced and is available on official website of Leh administration. It is expected that a public circular should follow soon as well. Hence, like it used to happen before 2014, all Indian Nationals or Indian Tourists WILL need to pay environment fees and may need to also get the inner line permits in Leh – Ladakh region in order to visit the restricted places like Dah, Hanu Villages, Pangong Tso, Man, Merak, Tso Moriri, Nyoma, Loma Bend, Khardung La, Nubra Valley, Turtuk, Tyakshi, Digger La, Tangyar (for trekking only).
Information for Leh – Ladakh Inner Line Permits
- Inner line permits are required to visit places like Nubra Valley, Khardung La, Pangong Tso Lake, Tso Moriri Lake, Dah – Hanu Villages,Hanle, Chusul, Tsaga, beyond Loma bend, Chumur, Marsimik La, Batalik sectors.
- No permits are required to visit the local places near Leh town or Leh local sightseeing, places on Srinagar – Leh Highway, places on Manali – Leh Highway, Pangong Tso, Tso Moriri, Dah Hanu, Khardung La, Nubra Valley, Wari La, Turtuk for Indian Tourists
- Inner line permits are issued from DC office in Leh town and you need to fill the application form to get the approval for your permits.
- Timing of the Leh DC office are 10.00 AM to 5.00 PM (as told to us by clerk there but not confirmed as we didn’t saw it in written) but they generally do not accept applications after 3 PM I guess, so go there before 2 PM. Leh DC office is closed on Sundays and other national Holidays, hence plan the journey accordingly such that your exploration day does not start with Sunday. Having said that, I have heard that DC office is sometimes open on Sunday for half day as well but I will say don’t count on it.
- If somehow you gets late and plan to reach/visit Leh DC office late afternoon (like after 1 PM), don’t do so because its is highly unlikely that you will get it that day. Rather try to catch some travel agent or talk to your Hotel staff to get you the required permits. They will very likely arrange these permits for you. Always try to reach the Leh DC office by 10 AM to experience a hassle free process for getting permits.
- The permits costs you Rs 20 per day per person There is a fees of Rs 10 which is charged per tourist one time towards Red Cross Fund. Update 2012: There is a special fee for students, guess one time Rs 20 only and you need to show/attach the i-card I think with the permit copy. Also, as a part of environment fee, you might at charged Rs. 200 per person (one time) starting from 2012. (Thanks “A Jeet” below in comments, for providing updates)
- You need to have photocopies of valid nationality proof’s Photo-IDs (Passport, Driving License, Voters ID, PAN card etc.) which proves your identity. Although the photocopies were not checked for attestation for us but I feel one should not take any chance with it and get them attested before venturing to Ladakh.
- You may apply the permits for your entire group but you need to attach an attested photocopy of photo-id cards (nationality proof) for each member in the group and make sure to fill the required details of all group members in the permit application form.
- Anyone who has yours or your group’s photocopies of valid nationality proof’s Photo-IDs, he/she can get these permits for you as well. Usually, the hotels in the Leh town does provide this facility if you are OK with sharing the photocopies of your nationality proof’s Photo-IDs with them either via email or fax.
- The permit approval process may take 0.5-3 hours and hence it’s always nice that you reach early morning at the Leh DC office. Sometimes, when there is a rush of tourists, the permits are issued in two batches viz. morning and evening. Hence, try to be in for early morning batch so that you have some time to partially head towards one of the destinations of your plan or do it at ease and consider Leh local sightseeing as side option for the day.
- The application forms required to apply for the inner line permits are mostly available at the Photostat shops nearby (one is just behind Leh office). You can also download the inner line permit application form for Leh – Ladakh from the following download link as well: Inner Line Permit Form and Application Letter. Usually, the form remains same so filling the attached form at home and completing the documentation including required photocopies can save a lot of trouble running to-fro from Photostat shops.
- In the application form, for each member you need to mention the name with parent/guardian name, complete permanent address, the name of all the places you need to visit and the specific dates or date range for which you want these permits. At the last in copy information section, you may mention the hotel name plus address, you stayed or are staying in Leh.
- For your reference, you can also download the sample completely filled application form which was approved for us from the following download link: Inner Line Permit Form and Application Letter
- You need to list all major villages / towns en-route your journey in Ladakh district Writing Nubra Valley will cover the Panamik, Sumur, Diskit, Hunder etc as after North Pullu there is no check post for Nubra Valley but if you need to visit Turtuk then you should explicitly mention Turtuk even if clerk/(or any travel agent) at the office says not to do so. There were many people who were sent back due to the same error following the clerk’s or travel agent’s advice. So, mention Turtuk explicitly if you want to visit that place.
- Besides permit application form, you need to write a request application letter addressing DC of Leh – Ladakh district for the approval of your permits. In the application, you need to express your interest in visiting the places you wish to travel along with the dates you would be visiting these places on your Leh – Ladakh trip. Make sure you write all the places that you have mentioned in application form. Both application form and this request letter should be in SYNC with each other for places and dates. For your reference you can download the sample request application from the following download link: Inner Line Permit Form and Application Letter Update 2013: The download link has been updated with template application letter where you just need to fill in the required details in pre-formatted template available at above link for download which eases out the job.
- Once, you are done filling the application form and writing the request application to accompany it, you make two – three photocopies of the entire set consisting Application Form, Approval Request Application Letter, Photo – IDs of all the members requesting for the permits.
- Once, the photocopies of the required set of documents are ready then you need to submit them at the DC office along with the original copies of the form and request application. The clerk will ask you to deposit the fees for required permits (amount will depend on number of days and number of member in the group) + red cross fund fees (Rs 10 per member) + Environment Fess (Rs 200 per member).
- Once the fees are deposited, the clerk may either ask you to get the signed approval from ADC room yourself if the rush is low or he/she will place your documents in the ongoing batch for further approval. Of course, in latter case you will need to wait for the approved permits to arrive which usually takes some time about 1-3 Hrs.
- Once, you get the stamped approved permits you need to again rush back towards Photostat shop to make photocopies of the approved permits. These photocopies of the approved permits are submitted at every check post that comes up on the way to your sightseeing destinations in Ladakh region. Hence, you should make at least 10 copies of them if you are staying longer enough in this heaven.
- Validity of the inner line permits are 3 weeks for Indians and 1 week for foreigners. However, there is no limit on the number of times you enter a place in the valid period provided you have the permits with you for that place.
- Although not required but you may carry the passport size photographs as well. In fact, I believe, on all your trips you should carry the passport sized photographs with you as none knows when you need one.
Permits for Hanle and Changthang or Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri
If you are interested in Changthang including Hanle area or going to Tso Moriri from Pangong Tso then consider that it is always better that you get the permits for Changthang yourself not through any travel agent or hotel member. The hotel or travel agents fool the tourist about these places and if they do not write any one of the check posts you will be sent back.
ILP for Hanle & this route is issued subject to the present political or border situation but they are in any case issued by Leh DC only and in most cases the Hanle permit is issued if you go yourself in person.
In order to get the permits for Hanle and Changthang or to go to Tso Moriri via Chusul – Tsaga – Loma – Nyoma route from Pangong Tso you need to mention all places en route so that you are not sent back from any post. These places are: Man – Merak – Chusul – Tsaga – Loma – Nyoma (for Pangong Tso to Tso Moriri) and Hanle (if plan to visit Hanle too)
I will suggest that do not believe on what travel agents say because many of them don’t even know about the places of Changthang Valley and they fool tourists rather travelers interested in that part of Ladakh by giving some baseless statements. It is always better to get the inner line permits for Changthang including Hanle yourself.
Update: 2013: Even after getting the permits of this route, don’t consider 100% that you will be allowed to travel as army guys sent back many tourists since 2011 even having permits based on the actual present situation there. So, unless you pass Chusul or Loma from another side there is no guarantee that you will traverse that route.
Also, photography equipment are not allowed beyond Loma towards Hanle. So, in case you have cameras then please pack them in bags and refrain yourself from taking pictures en-route of sensitive areas.
Best or Quick Approach to get Leh – Ladakh Inner Line Permits
Best way to approach processing of Leh – Ladakh Inner Line Permits is to first download the application form from the link in the article. Completely fill the form and attach the photocopies of the photo ID nationality proofs with it for all members of the group. Write a request application letter addressing Leh – Ladakh DC showing your intent to visit the desired places and request the issuing of inner line permits to you for the desired duration. If you are in a group you can write the names of all the members on the group and attach copies of their photo id nationality proofs. Staple the bundle including completely filled inner line permit application form, request application letter you will write for approval and the photocopies of photo id nationality proofs from home only.
Then, once you reach Leh go to Leh DC office and submit the bundle along with the required fees. Get the permit signed from the ADC office if asked or wait for your turn to get them processed in batch and you are done. On the way back to hotel or sightseeing ahead, get 8-10 photocopies of the permits issued to you. You need to submit these photocopies of the permits at the check posts while going to Nubra, Pangong and Tso Moriri etc. This will save a lot of time for you up in Leh as there you will need to keep running up and down to photocopy shop for one thing or the other. Even to get the inner line permit form, you will need to go to nearest Photocopy shop and all this will surely kill time over there.
I am sure this would save a lot of time and fatigue for you. Although highly unlikely, the worst case scenario would be that DC office changes the attached format of the inner line permit application form and refuse to take up the old version of it. 😥 Even in that case, you will just need to fill the new form and attach the documents with it before submission.
In the end, I hope the above article provides you some helpful information and I look forward to your thoughts or inputs or suggestions the inner line permits of Leh – Ladakh. Please leave your comments below if you have further questions/queries, I will try to be back with an answer as soon as possible.
Again at the end, to download the application form for Leh – Ladakh inner line permit you can click the following download link : Inner Line Permit Form and Application Letter