11 Places In India That Tourists Are Not Allowed To Visit
By: Pinki Mon, 02 Oct 2023 12:58:56
India is renowned worldwide for its iconic landmarks, unparalleled natural beauty, and incredibly stunning destinations. However, many are unaware that there exist enigmatic, concealed, and astounding locations in India that remain off-limits for exploration. Surprising, isn't it? That's precisely why we have compiled this roster of prohibited sites in India that are inaccessible to both locals and foreigners.
Please note: This article is not intended to deter tourism in India in any way. Its purpose is solely to raise awareness about places in India that are off-limits to both Indian citizens and international visitors.
Despite their extraordinary beauty, it can be disheartening for passionate travelers to discover such places that come with a figurative sword hanging over them. In this blog post, we have curated a list of 11 forbidden locations in India, each barred for reasons that add to their mystique and leave you astounded.
From Ladakh to Mumbai, and from Sikkim to India's prominent islands, this compilation includes significant places that you should absolutely refrain from attempting to visit. Doing so may lead to serious consequences, something nobody desires, right?
# Upper Part of Pangong Tso Lake, Ladakh
You may be pondering how a pristine lake like Pangong Tso could find its way onto this list of off-limits locations in India. Frankly, it is a bit unexpected given the substantial influx of tourists who visit this mesmerizing, color-shifting lake each year.
However, it's crucial to understand that a significant portion of the area surrounding the lake remains inaccessible to tourists. Why, you ask? Well, it's because 50% of Pangong Lake is situated within a disputed territory.
The Line of Actual Control (LAC) demarcates the Indian-administered region from the Chinese-administered region, and it traverses right through Pangong Lake. The section of the lake that is accessible to tourists lies on the Indian side.
# Stok Kangri, Ladakh
How many destinations have you heard of that have been adversely affected by excessive tourism? Stok Kangri is one such example. Situated within the confines of Hemis National Park, one of Ladakh's most popular attractions, Stok Kangri Peak stands as one of the highest trekking peaks in India, but it has been off-limits due to the issues stemming from over-tourism.
In December 2019, the All Ladakh Tour Operators Association officially declared that Stok Kangri would be closed for trekking and climbing from 2020 to 2023.
For the time being, this is one of the places in India that you are not permitted to visit. We remain hopeful that it will reopen soon, allowing you to embark on that climbing expedition once again!
# Aksai Chin, Ladakh
Aksai Chin is nothing short of a paradise for explorers and adventurers, graced with mesmerizing salt lakes, valleys, dramatic gorges, expansive salt plains, and the unspoiled Karakash River.
However, it falls into the category of restricted areas in India. This region has been the center of intense contention, with India asserting its inclusion within the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.
In reality, though, it forms part of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). This terrain is a frigid desert, devoid of tourist activity, and ranks among the most hazardous locations worldwide.
# Mount Kanchenjunga, Sikkim
Numerous mountaineers and adventure enthusiasts in India aspire to conquer Mount Kanchenjunga, the world's third-highest peak.
Regrettably, this aspiration is currently unattainable, at least from India's side. In 2001, the Sikkim Government imposed a ban on expeditions to Kanchenjunga, citing the provisions of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act of 1991.
This decision was made in response to strong objections from the local Buddhist community, who viewed the mountain's ascent by what they considered irreligious foreigners as a form of desecration.
As a result, Mount Kanchenjunga has been off-limits for two decades, making it one of the prohibited destinations in India.
# Cholamu Lake, Sikkim
Cholamu Lake, one of the world's highest lakes, remains inaccessible to tourists.
Also referred to as Tso Lhamo Lake, it is situated just a short distance from the Tibet border, rendering it among the restricted areas in India.
Cholamu Lake in Sikkim is exclusively accessible to the military and Sikkim police/administration personnel.
That being said, the natural splendor of this lake is truly unmatched. Its crystalline waters are nourished by the Kangtse glacier, the Pauhunri glacier, and the Zemu glacier, serving as the pristine source of the renowned Teesta River.
# Barren Islands, Andaman and Nicobar Islands
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are undoubtedly one of the most stunning destinations to explore in India. Nevertheless, not all parts of this archipelago are open to tourists. One such location is Barren Island, a pristine jewel in the Andaman chain and the sole active volcano in India.
Notably, it stands not only as the oldest active volcano in South Asia but also as the lone active volcano within a string of volcanic formations extending from Sumatra to Myanmar. In 1991, Barren Island experienced a colossal eruption that severely impacted the local fauna, resulting in a decline in bird species and populations.
As a consequence, this locale was designated as one of the restricted areas in India. However, if you desire to catch a glimpse of the island, you can embark on a boat or ferry ride to view it from a distance. The primary concern is the safety of visitors, hence the island's inaccessibility.
Furthermore, it is believed that the waters surrounding the island are pristine, featuring Manta rays, basalt formations, and exotic coral reefs. But, who knows, right?
# North Sentinal Islands, Andaman and Nicobar Islands
Under the Andaman and Nicobar Islands Protection of Aboriginal Tribes Act of 1956, access to the North Sentinel Islands is strictly prohibited. But why is that the case?
The reason lies in the Sentinel tribal people, a community consisting of only 50 to 150 individuals, who have purposefully severed all ties with the outside world and adamantly resist becoming part of mainstream civilization, as reported by BBC News.
These island natives have remained isolated from the larger islands for countless generations, and every endeavor aimed at integrating the North Sentinel Islands with the main islands has met with resounding failure.
In 2006, the Indian Government imposed a restriction, prohibiting anyone from venturing within a 4-kilometer radius of the islands. This measure was taken both to safeguard against potential casualties and to honor the wishes of the Sentinelese tribe.
# The Nicobar Islands, Andaman and Nicobar Islands
While tourism flourishes in the Andaman Islands, the Nicobar Islands remain off-limits to tourists. The underlying reality is that the tribes inhabiting the Nicobar Islands represent some of the original and earliest inhabitants of the region, and they vehemently oppose any form of development or engagement with mainstream civilization.
These tribes have, in the distant past, attacked individuals who attempted to intrude upon their territory with arrows and bows. In order to respect their sentiments and ensure their protection, the Indian Government has imposed a ban on tourist access to the Nicobar Islands.
Even residents of Port Blair, situated nearby, are prohibited from visiting this area, and the Indian Navy maintains a vigilant presence around the island. Only a select few researchers are granted permission to visit this restricted location in India, and that too involves undergoing stringent formal procedures.
# Some Lakshadweep Islands
Lakshadweep, as commonly known, comprises 36 islands, but only a select few are accessible and open to tourists. While some of these islands thrive due to tourism, others remain off-limits to visitors.
To safeguard the interests of the local population, several of these islands have been included in the list of prohibited places in India. Furthermore, owing to its significance as a naval base, security takes precedence in Lakshadweep.
Indian citizens can obtain permits for accessing islands such as Bangaram, Agatti, Kadmat, Kavaratti, Kalpeni, and Minicoy, whereas some islands remain restricted for foreign tourists. Entry to the remaining islands in Lakshadweep is forbidden to all tourists, and attempting to breach this restriction can result in significant legal trouble.
# China Occupied Arunachal, Arunachal Pradesh
China asserts its territorial claim over approximately 90,000 square kilometers of land in Arunachal Pradesh, with an estimated 50 square kilometers falling within the border area of Arunachal Pradesh that China contends as its own.
Authorities have established a settlement on land previously occupied by the People's Liberation Army (PLA), stemming from their incursion into an Assam Rifles post in 1959 along the disputed border in Arunachal Pradesh, rather than the land under India's control.
Even following the 1962 war, China has persisted in its claim on this region, establishing a settlement reminiscent of its actions in Aksai Chin, where they've constructed airfields and other military installations. Consequently, this dispute has resulted in restrictions on tourist access to the borders of Arunachal Pradesh, rendering it one of India's most perilous regions.
# BARC, Mumbai
The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in Mumbai stands as one of the off-limits destinations in India for tourists. Situated in the Mumbai suburb of Trombay, BARC serves as the foremost nuclear research facility in India. Accessibility to the research complex is restricted to ensure security, thereby barring entry for visitors and tourists. Only students and researchers are permitted to visit this center, provided they obtain a series of permissions from government institutions.