India opens up 137 Himalayan peaks for foreigners, including Kanchenjunga
As of now, foreigners have to seek permission from the ministries of defence and home to climb these peaks. With this, foreigners can directly apply to the Indian Mountaineering Foundation for permits.
India has opened up 137 Himalayan peaks, including the mighty Kanchenjunga located at a height of 8,589 metres, for foreign climbers and trekkers in a major bid to boost tourism, officials said.
As of now, foreigners have to seek permission from the ministries of defence and home to climb these peaks. With the government opening them up, foreigners can now directly apply to the Indian Mountaineering Foundation for permits.
The tourism ministry made the proposal to open up these peaks for foreigners.
The peaks include Dunagiri (7,066 m) and Hardeol (7,151 m) in Uttarakhand; Kabru South and North in Sikkim, both over 7,000 metres; Mount Kailash (6400 m) in Jammu and Kashmir; and Mulkila (6,571 m) in Himachal Pradesh.
Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel called it a historic step to fuel tourism.
The home ministry said that a proposal to allow mountaineering and trekking in all Himalayan states was under consideration.
"It has been decided to open 137 mountain peaks located in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim to foreigners desirous of obtaining mountaineering visa for climbing, trekking on these 137 mountain peaks," an official statement said.
Of the 137 peaks, 51 are in Uttarakhand, 24 in Sikkim, 15 in Jammu and Kashmir, and 47 in Himachal Pradesh.
However, if the expeditions want to carry satellite phones, they have to take permission from the department of telecommunication, the home ministry said, adding that all information will be shared with local authorities.
The ministry also said that the teams will have to stick to the approved routes, and not deviate.