10 stunning places in India banned for tourists!
There’s something about the forbidden fruit that makes it all the more tempting! Well, there are a few forbidden fruits for travellers as well! Even though India remains one of the most geographically blessed destinations on earth, many places in India are banned for tourists.
As it turns out, some of the most exquisite, scenic, and jaw-dropping places in India are one of the most illicit and dangerous for visitors. However, if you are someone with in-depth knowledge of India in its geographical, historical, cultural, and geopolitical context, these travel restrictions are quite understandable.
Most of these places are banned for tourists due to protective measures for the travellers, the locals, and the environment. Or at least, that’s what the authorities need us to believe. Nevertheless, the mysteries of such illicit places certainly evoke curiosity amongst people. Did the headline of this blog evoke your curiosity too? Well, the wait is over!
Here are the 10 places in India banned for tourists:
In the bosom of gigantic snow-clad mountains lies the ravishing region of Aksai Chin. The border is a ceasefire line (Line of Actual Control) that separates the Indian-controlled area of Jammu and Kashmir from the area patrolled by the Chinese military since the 1962 Sino-Indian war.
This high-altitude desert is not only one of the most beautiful places on earth but also the most dangerous ones. Aksai chin region also encompasses the Pangong Tso lake, another scenic spot, which intersects the LAC, with its upper part in the Chinese-controlled area.
- China Occupied Arunachal Pradesh:
Just like Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh has been infiltrated by the Chinese too. The Chinese authorities have illegally claimed portions of land (about 50 sq. km.) at the Arunachal Pradesh’s border, where they have built a village occupied by the PLA (People’s Liberation Army). The PLA has maintained an Army post in this region since 1959.
The disputed region of Arunachal Pradesh is dangerous not just for the travellers but for the locals as well. The serene beauty of this region remains forbidden for travellers.
- Stok Kangri:
Popular as a trekker’s paradise, the Stok Kangri in Ladakh is a banned destination for tourists from 2020-2022. Surprisingly, the reason behind this ban is the tourists themselves!
For years, numerous trekking groups were responsible for polluting the limited water supply of the villages at its base. To make matters worse, the boost in tourism and overcrowding resulted in overconsumption of the available water. To bring the situation under control, the “All Ladakh Tour Operators Association (ALTOA)” prohibited tourism to this region for three years.
- Chambal River Basin:
The terror of the “Chambal ke Daaku” is not just a Bollywood fancy! In fact, it is a dreaded place by the locals and travellers. The ravines of Chambal have given birth to some of the most fearsome dacoits and most horrifying stories of banditry.
Wryly, some ancient Indian texts even describe Chambal as a cursed river. It is a shame that this river basin of awe-inspiring beauty is surrounded by many perils!
Phulbani is a small municipality in Odisha, consisting of some of the most tranquil and breathtakingly beautiful waterfalls that nature has to offer. The place not only has an aesthetic appeal but also great religious significance.
Unfortunately, this little place is marked as a red zone due to several Maoist attacks!
Once a princely state in colonial India, the city of Bastar is turbulent for Naxalite activities. It is depressing that the city with abundant natural beauty, waterfalls, forests, and shrines is now a red corridor due to unethical practices and terror.
- Silent Valley National Park:
At the heart of the Nilgiri hills of Kerala lies the Silent Valley National Park, a breathtaking gift of nature to mankind. Once a popular ecotourism spot country-wide, tourism to this place was banned by the Government of India.
This region has been home to some of the largest cannabis cultivation all over the country. Additionally, due to human activity, forest fires in this region became a matter of great concern. To make matters worse, the place had fallen victim to several Maoist attacks in 2014 and has gained its problematic reputation ever since.
- Barren Island:
One of India’s uninhabited possessions, the Barren Island of Andaman is the only active volcano in India. Barren island has been notorious for several eruptions historically, and more importantly in recent times.
After more than a century and a half, in 1991 extreme ash emissions, lava fountaining, and lava flows till the oceans were observed, with similar activities followed in 2005 and in 2018. Its most recent thermal alert was in 2020, with ash plumes and red lava at the core; this was less notorious than the previous eruptions (Global Volcanism Program).
The magnificent beauty of Barren island is unreal! But evidently, and with all rationality, it is a prohibited area. Nonetheless, on the bright side, you can catch a glimpse of this volcano from a distance in the safety of a small ship.
- North Sentinel Island:
A mysteriously secluded Andamanese island with a tiny population of 80-150 people, the beautiful North Sentinel Island is a typically xenophobic one. The indigenous Sentinels who call this island home determinedly protect their voluntary isolation from the outside world, often by force.
The Government of India recognizes the demand of the tribe and legally prohibits any visitors, including researchers, journalists, and government officials. One of the reasons behind this legal prohibition is also the protection of travellers from local hostility. In fact, one of the instances of hostility is quite a recent one.
In 2018, an American missionary, who illegally visited the island, was killed by the locals. The man allegedly wanted to propagate Christianity, which outraged the tribe. Untouched by outsiders for centuries, this island remains one of the most scenic places on earth!
- Nicobar Islands:
While most of the Andaman islands are flourishing tourist attractions, the Nicobar islands remain quite the opposite. Unpolluted, tranquil, and exquisite, these islands are strictly prohibited for tourists. The tribes in Nicobar are one of its first-ever inhabitants and do not wish to be a part of any development or civilization. Similar to the Sentinelese, these locals too, have a history of attacking those who forcefully enter their land with arrows.
The Nicobar island is watched over by the Indian navy. Very few researchers are permitted entry to these islands, that too, after rigorous formalities.