The Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP), located in Sikkim, was inscribed on the World Heritage Sites’ list by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in July 2016. The park, covering one fourth of the State, is home to Mount Khangchendzonga, the 3rd tallest peak in the world.
KNP is the maiden Indian Mixed Heritage Site to be included in the list. Since the park satisfies both cultural and natural heritage criteria, it earned title of the Mixed World Heritage Site.
The park covers extensive altitudinal range: 1,220 to 8,586 meters. You can experience this more than seven kilometers’ vertical sweep in just 178,400 hectare of area. The wide altitudinal range facilitates equally wide range of ecosystems: sub-tropical to alpine. Variedness of the ecosystems is also ascribed to very steep terrain that is attributed to the narrowest Himalayas.
This tempting variety offers numerous opportunities for the photographers of all types. The park, therefore, levies different fees for different types of photography.
Sikkim introduced entry fees and related fees for adventure tourists in 1993 for the first time. Since then the fees have been revised a number of times. Today, I will look at the photography fees for KNP because photography has become a pastime of all the tourists and travelers.
1993: The government did not charge a camera fee (notification no: 54(75) Home/93/33).
Since 1997, the following five types of photography fees have been charged to the KNP visitors:
- Camera operation fee-still
- Camera operation fee-video
- Camera operation fee-movie
- Feature film making fee
- Documentary film making fee
Camera Operation Fee
1997 and 1998: A lump sum camera operation fee was charged. The two year-specific notifications did not specify the fee units like per camera, per day / per visit. But the notifications specified separate fees for the Indian and foreign visitors. The fee was not revised during these years.
2000: The camera operation fee was quoted in terms of per camera, per visit. The fee was same for both the Indian and foreign visitors.
2001, 2010, and 2016: The camera operation fee was quoted in terms of per camera, per day. The fee was same for both Indian and foreign visitors. An increase in the fee was proposed in 2010. And in 2016, the camera operation fee was revised upwards. The new fees is applicable from April 1, 2016. The camera operation fee-video recorded an increase of 33.33% and camera operation fee-still registered an increase of 50%.
Film Making Fee
Since 1997, Sikkim has been charging fee for documentary and feature films. The fee was never revised until 2001. In 2010, an increase in the fee was proposed. Six years later, the fees were hiked by 20% and 16.67% respectively. The fee unit however has never changed: one film at a time. A film maker also pays camera operation fee besides documentary / feature film making fee.