Govt. opens up 137 Himalayan Peaks to foreign mountaineers and trekkers

It is an historic step towards promoting adventure tourism in the country, Government of India has allowed access to 137 mountain peaks to foreigners desirous of obtaining Mountaineering Visa (‘MX’) for mountaineering and trekking. These peaks are located in States of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim.

In recently concluded National Tourism Conference, New Delhi, in which Tourism Ministers from States/UTs participated, the Tourism Minister emphasized on utilizing the adventure tourism potential in Indian economy and the need for ensuring safety of those travellers going for adventure tourism.

Key Highlights

Out of 137 Mountain peaks, the highest number of 51 peaks have been opened to foreigners in Uttarakhand and 15 peaks of Jammu and Kashmir have also been included in list.

Current Scenario: Until now the foreigners have to seek permission from Defence Ministry and Home Ministry to climb these peaks. Now with government opening them up, foreigners can now directly apply to Indian Mountaineering Foundation for permits. This decision comes following a proposal from tourism ministry to Home Ministry for opening up mountaineering and trekking in all Himalayan states.

Rule to be followed:

Home ministry has clarified that for carrying satellite phones the expedition teams have to take prior permissions from department of telecommunication and all information gathered during journey have to be shared with locals formations.

The expedition team is not allowed to take any photos of any installations without consent and also will have to limit itself to approved routes.

Way Ahead

States must exercise utmost caution while registering adventure tourism operators and should ensure that Indian Adventure Tourism Guidelines 2018 are followed by States. The Indian Adventure Tourism Guidelines 2018 cover land, air and water-based activities including mountaineering, trekking, paragliding, bungee jumping, river rafting, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkelling and many other sports.

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