In this article, we will explain why you need a permit for North East India, how to get one, and what are the best places to visit in this region. North East India is a region of stunning natural beauty, rich cultural diversity, and strategic importance. It comprises eight states: Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, and Tripura. However, not all of these states are open to foreign tourists without a special permit.
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Why Do You Need a Permit for North East India?
The reason why you need a permit for North East India is because some of these states share borders with China, Myanmar, Bangladesh, and Bhutan. Due to security and geopolitical reasons, the Indian government has imposed restrictions on the entry and stay of foreigners in these areas. These restrictions are enforced by issuing Protected Area Permits (PAPs) and Restricted Area Permits (RAPs) to foreign nationals who wish to visit these states.
A PAP is required for visiting Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and parts of Sikkim. A RAP is required for visiting Andaman and Nicobar Islands and parts of Sikkim. The permits are valid for a specific period of time, usually ranging from 10 days to 30 days, depending on the state. The permits also specify the places that you can visit within the state.
How to Get a Permit for North East India?
The process of getting a permit for North East India varies depending on the state you want to visit and your nationality. Generally speaking, there are two ways of getting a permit: online or offline.
Online: You can apply for a permit online through the official websites of the respective state governments or through authorized travel agents. You will need to fill an application form, upload scanned copies of your passport and visa, pay a fee (usually around $50), and wait for approval. Once approved, you will receive an email with your permit that you can print out or show on your mobile device.
Offline: You can apply for a permit offline at the Indian missions abroad or at the designated offices in India. You will need to submit a physical copy of your passport and visa, along with two passport-sized photographs, a letter of sponsorship from an Indian citizen or an authorized travel agent, and a fee (usually around $50). You will receive your permit after verification.
What Are the Best Places to Visit in North East India?
North East India is home to some of the most scenic and diverse landscapes in the country. From snow-capped mountains to lush green valleys, from ancient monasteries to vibrant festivals, there is something for everyone in this region. Below are some of the best places to visit in North East India:
- Arunachal Pradesh: This state is known as the land of the rising sun and the orchid state of India. It boasts of having the largest number of tribal groups in the country, each with their own unique culture and traditions. Some of the attractions in Arunachal Pradesh include Tawang Monastery, Ita Fort, Namdapha National Park, Ziro Valley, and Mechuka Valley.
- Sikkim: This state is known as the land of flowers and the last Shangri-La. It is the second smallest state in India but has the third highest peak in the world, Kanchenjunga. Some of the attractions in Sikkim include Gangtok, Rumtek Monastery, Tsomgo Lake, Pelling, and Yumthang Valley.
- Assam: This state is known as the land of tea and rhinos. It is famous for its Assam tea, Kaziranga National Park, Majuli Island, Kamakhya Temple, and Bihu Festival.
- Meghalaya: This state is known as the abode of clouds and the Scotland of the east. It is famous for its living root bridges, Cherrapunji, Mawlynnong, Shillong, and Nongkhnum Island.
- Manipur: This state is known as the jewel of India and the land of jewels. It is famous for its Loktak Lake, Keibul Lamjao National Park, Kangla Fort, Imphal, and Sangai Festival.
- Mizoram: This state is known as the land of the hill people and the land of the blue mountains. It is famous for its Mizo culture, Phawngpui Peak, Dampa Tiger Reserve, Aizawl, and Chapchar Kut Festival.
- Nagaland: This state is known as the land of festivals and the land of warriors. It is famous for its Naga tribes, Hornbill Festival, Kohima War Cemetery, Dimapur, and Dzukou Valley.
- Tripura: This state is known as the land of temples and the land of bamboo. It is famous for its Tripura Sundari Temple, Ujjayanta Palace, Neermahal, Agartala, and Kharchi Puja Festival.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Do I need a permit for North East India if I am an Indian citizen?
A: No, you do not need a permit for North East India if you are an Indian citizen. However, you may need to carry a valid identity proof such as Aadhaar card, voter ID card, or driving license.
Q: How long does it take to get a permit for North East India?
A: It depends on the mode of application and the state you want to visit. Online applications usually take 2 to 3 days, while offline applications may take up to 10 days.
Q: Can I extend my permit for North East India?
A: Yes, you can extend your permit for North East India by applying at the nearest Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) or Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) in the state you are visiting. You will need to pay an additional fee and submit a valid reason for extension.
Q: Can I travel with a group or solo with a permit for North East India?
A: Yes, you can travel with a group or solo with a permit for North East India. However, some states may have a minimum or maximum number of people allowed per permit. For example, Arunachal Pradesh requires at least two people per permit, while Sikkim allows up to 15 people per permit.
Q: What are the benefits of getting a permit for North East India?
A: The benefits of getting a permit for North East India are that you can explore some of the most beautiful and unexplored places in the country, experience the rich and diverse culture and traditions of the local people, and support the development and tourism of the region.