Originally his question was about protected wildlife areas. Such areas in India are designated as wildlife sanctuaries or national parks. These areas, although not intended for housing or economic activity, are very open to foreign and Indian visitors to explore and observe wild animals in their natural environment. The entry rules for these parks are written by the respective administrations and, although they may have restrictions on the number of people allowed or the type of equipment they can bring, you can walk to the ticket counter and buy a ticket (although for Foreigners' prices are generally 6-10 times higher than for Indians.)
- If you want to see Asian lions in the Gir National Park, you can buy a "permit" for a safari online.
- Kanha National Park also stipulates that foreign visitors must pay double the fee.
If you want to visit wildlife sanctuaries or national parks, I suggest booking a resort that is close to that location and then the resort management will be able to provide you with any additional documentation / restrictions that may exist. But. they are generally open to everyone.
the other protected areas
Certain areas near India's external borders have been reported as restricted or protected areas (the link edited in your question) for security reasons. Foreigners and, in some areas, Indians who are not residents of those areas need a special permit from the Home Office (which deals with Homeland Security in India) to visit these areas.
Depending on whether the area is a Restricted or Protected Area, you need a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) or a Protected Area Permit (PAP).
Why would someone want to visit those areas? Because these areas have gems like
These FAQs issued by the Home Office answer most questions about RAP and PAP. Quote:
Under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order of 1958, all areas between the "Internal Line", as defined in that order, and the State's International Border have been declared a Protected Area. Currently, protected areas are located in the following states: –
(i) All Arunachal Pradesh
(ii) Parts of Himachal Pradesh
(iii) Parts of Jammu and Kashmir
iv) All Manipur
(v) Mizoram integer
(vi) All Nagaland
(vii) Parts of Rajasthan
(viii) Sikkim total (partly in the protected area and partly in the restricted area)
(ix) Parts of Uttarakhand
MHA has powers delegated to various authorities to issue the necessary permits to foreign visitors The authorities that can grant such permits vary for each region. You can contact the local Indian mission to find out if they have the power to issue such permits for the areas you want to travel. A complete list of authorities for each location is on immihelp. For some states, such information is also provided on the respective tourism websites:
- For Sikkim, you can get permission from Indian missions abroad.
- For the Andaman and Nicobar islands you can also get the permit from abroad or by air to Port Blair.
- For Leh and Ladakh, permits are issued only by the District authorities in Leh and conditions are stricter.
In general, PAP applications should be made in groups (2-4), with an authorized guide and predefined itinerary (Source from Leh PDF. However, if you are a citizen of China, Pakistan, Afghanistan or are of that origin, or a solo traveler, your case will be referred to MHA and may take much longer Source: From MHA Frequently Asked Questions
In all cases related to the granting of PAP / RAP for an individual
foreign tourist, the proposal would require prior authorization from the
Ministry of Interior. The required authorization would be transmitted
by MHA only on the basis of the recommendation of the State Government
In order to promote tourism, some areas (notified by the
Government of India from time to time) may be visited by
foreign tourists, either in groups or as a couple in the case of a
husband and wife, or by individuals, after obtaining what is necessary
permission of the competent authority. Powers needed have been
delegated to various authorities to issue the special permit,
without the prior approval of the Ministry of the Interior,
to facilitate foreign tourists subject to the following
(i) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues special instructions applicable to foreign diplomats and members of the United Nations and international organizations with a diplomatic / official passport.
(ii) Citizens of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan and foreigners of Pakistani origin will not receive a special permit without prior approval from the Ministry of the Interior.