What To Keep In Mind When Traveling to Gujarat During Covid
Gujarat is a place that is equally rich in culture, tradition and with a landscape that is very diverse. From the salt marshes of Kutch to the intricate stone carvings in Patan to the lions in Gir, there’s something for every traveler to experience here – an ideal tourist destination.
But of course, due to Covid, everything came to a standstill for almost 8 months. Now, places have started to open up in Gujarat in accordance with the ‘new normal’.
If you’re planning to visit Gujarat now, we’d like to remind you that the threat of Covid is not over yet and it’s here to stay for quite a while. When you’re setting out, make sure to take all necessary precautions so that it’s safe for yourself and those around you.
How To Get To Gujarat
Since the Gujarat Government has significantly relaxed the lockdown norms, traveling to this state shouldn’t be much trouble. However, there still are regulations that you need to follow.
International passengers arriving in Gujarat have to undergo 7 days of institutional and home quarantine each. If you have a negative RT-PCR test result that was undertaken 96 hours before the journey, you can skip the quarantine.
On the other hand, domestic arrivals who are asymptomatic are exempted from quarantine and are expected to self monitor their health for 14 days.
International and domestic passengers both will be subject to thermal screening. They also have to submit their coronavirus self-declaration form at the airport and update their health status on the Aarogya Setu app on their phones.
Those arriving at Surat are mandated to download the SMC COVID-19 Tracker app and update their details.
Train services have gradually started with a number of standard operating protocols in place. You can enter the railway station only if you have a confirmed e-ticket. You’ll be subject to a compulsory screening and if you show symptoms, you’ll be barred entry. Once on the platform and in the train, you’ll be provided hand sanitizer. You’re expected to wear masks and follow social distancing at all times.
Also, an important thing to note is that most trains won’t have pantry cars as a Covid safety norm. So you’ll have to bring your own food.
Gujarat has lifted all barriers on intrastate and interstate travel by road. Given the situation we’re in right now, going on a road trip is the safest way of traveling, albeit an expensive and exhausting way of traveling. If you opt for a road trip, we highly recommend that you go in your personal vehicle. This is because you’re more likely to contract the virus in public transport. At least in your own vehicle, you can practise social distancing from unfamiliar people.
Long drives can be tiring, so a good idea would be to go with a friend/family member who can drive so that you also get to rest.
Places To Visit In Gujarat During Covid
The Rann Of Kutch
Surrounded by white salts which goes as far as the eye can see, the Rann of Kutch almost has an otherworldly feel to it. The only salt desert in India, it is a must-visit location while on a Gujarat tour.
Even though the Rann of Kutch is a startling monochromatic landscape, the culture of Kutch is anything but. Vibrant clothes and intricate embroideries contrast with their simple, nomadic lifestyle.
The most important festival here is the annual Rann Utsav, held in the winter months every year. This is the time when you get to experience the culture of Gujarat along with a tour of the most scenic locations of the state. While there were doubts about organizing the festival this year due to the pandemic, but with the Covid safety norms in place, the Rann Utsav would be held in a safe, socially-distanced manner. Here, you can live in one of the many tents, aptly named the Tent City, which also have all modern amenities. So you can enjoy this land and its culture in great comfort.
Nearest Airport:Bhuj Airport
Nearest Railway Station:Bhuj
Road: The Rann of Kutch is connected to all major cities like Bhuj and Ahmedabad, so getting here shouldn’t be much of a problem. Also, there are taxi services available.
Located at the southern tip of the Aravallis, the Idar Hills are dotted with monuments of architectural and historical significance. However, this place still remains away from the mainstream tourist radar, so it makes for a great place for an isolated holiday.
The major location here is the Idaryo Garh, a fort built on the top of a hill so steep and craggy that it was considered impregnable. But for the adventure traveler, this means a challenge. You can set on a trek towards the fort. In addition to this, these hills also offer ample opportunities for activities such as bouldering and rappelling. Getting to the top of these hills will reward you with a brilliant panoramic view of the village and the arid landscape of the region.
As we mentioned earlier, Idar is not a developed tourist destination. While you can get places to live in, there’ll not be any luxury.
Nearest Airport:Modasa Airport
Nearest Railway Station:Idar
Road:The town of Idar is connected to Ahmedabad
Gir National Park
For the traveler with a love for the wilderness and big cats, Gir National Park should be on their must-visit list. This national park has the distinction of being the only place which is home to the Asiatic lion. Of course, the Asiatic lion shares this 1400 sq km wilderness with other animals including the rare chowsinga, leopards and jackals. The waters of the Kamleshwar reservoir in the park is home to crocodiles and a considerable number of birds.
The culture enthusiast would love this park too, as it’s home to the Maldhari and the Siddi tribes. Gir National Park reopened recently after months of lockdown, with a lot of Covid safety rules in place. Keeping that in mind, the park still offers ample opportunities to the nature lover to observe the animals in their habitat. To get even a little closer, you can even go on the popular lion safari or go bird watching.
Nearest Airport:Keshod Airport
Nearest Railway Station:Junagadh/Veraval
Road:Gir National Park is well connected by road to all prominent cities in Gujarat. You may even avail of cabs/buses if you want to.
Things To Remember
With the Covid pandemic still around, it’s very important that when you’re out enjoying your holiday, you do so responsibly. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Practise social distancing always. Have your mask on in public spaces and wash your hands regularly.
Travel with a small group of people and keep interactions with strangers as little as possible.
Opt for cashless transactions to reduce risk of infection.
Whatever your mode of transport and the Covid regulations, have the Aarogya Setu app installed on your phone and bring your coronavirus self declaration form with you.
The travel regulations may change for intrastate and interstate travel may change. So keep yourself updated with the regulations of Gujarat and that of your home state.
Look for accommodations that are Covid ready.
If you start developing symptoms, get help immediately.