Ladakh journey (especially by road) is an experience of a lifetime. I strongly feel that anyone who loves travel, must visit Ladakh at least once in their lifetime. The beautiful landscape and natural beauty of this region takes your breath away. Being on the International borders, one need Inner Line permits to visit various remote 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.
Information for Ladakh Inner Line Permits
Inner line permits are required to visit places like Nubra Valley, Khardung La, Pangang Tso Lake, Tso Moriri Lake, Dah -Hanu Villages, Hanle, Chusul War Memorial i.e. Changthang etc.
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.
Leh DC office timings: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm but they generally do not accept applications after 3:00 pm, Hence, its better to go there before 2:00 pm. 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.
If somehow you reach Leh late and plan to visit Leh DC office late afternoon (like after 1:00 pm), don’t do so because its is highly unlikely that you will get it that day. Always try to reach the Leh DC office by 10:00 am to experience a hassle free process for getting permits. The permits costs you Rs 20 per day per person and if lucky enough you can get it on how you bargain with clerk in the absence of the fee collection officer. There is a fees of Rs 10 which is charged per tourist one time towards Red Cross Fund.
There is special fee for students, one time Rs 20 only and you need to show/attach the i-card with the permit copy. Also, as a part of environment fee, you are charged Rs. 200 per person. You need to have photocopies of 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 going 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 Photo-IDs, he/she can get these permits for you as well.
The permit approval process may take 0.5-2 hours and hence its better to 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 an option for the day.
The application forms required to apply for the inner line permits are mostly available at the Photostat shops near by (one is just behind Leh office).
Ladakh Inner Line Permit Application Form:
In the application form, for each member you need to mention the name with parent/guardian name, complete permanent address, 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.
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. 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 to visit 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.
Ladakh Sample Request Application Letter:
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).
Once the fees is deposited, clerk may either ask you to get the signed approval from ADC room yourself if 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 sometime 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.
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.
Permits for Changthang are issued only to Indian Nationals not for foreign tourists.
In order to get the permits for Hanle and Changthang or to go to Tso Moriri via Chusul – Nyoma route from Pangong Tso you need to mention all places enroute 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)
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 photo copies of the photo IDs with it for all members in the group. Write a request application letter addressing Leh – Ladakh DC showing your intent to visit the desired places and request to issue the inner line permits. If you are in group you can write the names of all the members on the group and attach copies of their photo ids. Staple the bundle including completely filled inner line permit application form, request application letter and the photo copies of photo ids from home.
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. Get 8-10 photocopies of the permits issued to you. You need to submit these photo copies 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 photo copy shop for one thing or the other. Even to get the inner line permit form, you will need to go to nearest Photocopy shop.
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.