As many as 137 Himalayan peaks, including the mighty Kanchenjunga at an altitude of 8,589 metre, have been opened for mountaineering expeditions and trekking, government officials said on Wednesday (August 21).
The opening up of these peaks allows foreigners to climb them directly after getting permission from Indian Mountaineering Foundation. Earlier, they needed to seek permission from ministries of defence and home.
The decision comes following a proposal from the tourism ministry. The list of peaks include, Dunagiri (7,066 m) and Hardeol (7,151 m) in Uttarakhand; Kabru South and North in Sikkim, both of which are at a height of over 7,000 metre; Mount Kailash (6400 m) in Jammu and Kashmir; and Mulkila (6,571 metre) in Himachal Pradesh.
Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel said it was a historic step, which will give a big boost to tourism.
The home ministry in a order said that a proposal for opening up mountaineering and trekking in all Himalayan states was under consideration.
“Now 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 (sic),” it said.
Of the 137 peaks, 51 are in Uttarakhand, 24 in Sikkim, 15 in Jammu and Kashmir, and 47 in Himachal Pradesh.
However, for carrying satellite phones the expedition teams have to take prior permissions from the department of telecommunication, the home ministry said, adding that all information gathered have to be shared with locals formations.
The ministry has also clarified that the teams cannot take any photos of any installations without consent and will have to limit itself to the approved routes.