137 Mountain Peaks in 4 States opened to foreigners

The Government has opened 137 mountain peaks for foreigners desirous of obtaining Mountaineering Visa (‘MX’) for mountaineering and trekking. These peaks are located in the States of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim. While the highest number of 51 peaks have been opened to foreigners in Uttarakhand, 15 peaks of Jammu and Kashmir have also been included in the list. The Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (IC), Shri Prahlad Singh Patelhas expressed his gratitude to the Home Minister, Shri Amit Shah for acceding to the request of Tourism Ministry to open up more peaks to foreigners. It is an historic step towards promoting adventure tourism in the country, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel said.

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Earlier, while addressing the Tourism Ministers from States/UTs at the National Tourism Conference in New Delhi, the Tourism Minister emphasized on the need for ensuring safety of those travellers going for adventure tourism. He urged the States to exercise utmost caution while registering adventure tourism operators and also to ensure that the adventure tourism guidelines are followed by the States. The Indian Adventure Tourism Guidelines 2018 cover land, air and water-based activities which includes mountaineering, trekking, bungee jumping, paragliding, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkelling, river rafting and many other sports.

The MHA order said subject to necessary clearances by appropriate authorities for issue of inner line permits, and clearance by security agencies the following guidelines may be adhered to: The expedition team will not carry a satellite phone and thuraya unless prior permission is taken from the department of telecommunications (DoT), all information gathered including photos will be shared with local formation, members will not enter/film or take photographs of any installation without consent from local formations, expedition will strictly follow the approved routes for induction and de-induction. Members will not cross over to the areas where prior explicit security clearance is required. The MHA order stated that the instructions will come into force with immediate effect.

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