What To Keep In Mind When Traveling To Maharashtra During Covid
You’re probably bored of sitting at home for months on end and want to explore someplace interesting. In that case, why not Maharashtra – a place steeped in the valiant history of the Marathas, the lush green forests, and the splendid rock-cut temples? It’s a great choice indeed, but when we’re in the midst of the Covid pandemic, traveling to Maharashtra during Covid safe? Well, travel in itself is risky nowadays, but you can reduce the risks by following the Covid norms diligently.
Traveling To Maharashtra
You have to remember that Maharashtra is among the worst-affected states by Covid. As the situation is deemed to be coming back in control for now, the Maharashtra Government has started relaxing lockdown restrictions. The state’s districts are divided into five sections from Level 1 to Level 5, wherein L1 districts have no lockdown restrictions whereas in L5 districts only essential services are allowed.
Here’s an overview of the Maharashtra Covid guidelines for travel.
Getting To Maharashtra By Air
International arrivals are to register themselves on the Air Suvidha Portal and upload their negative RT-PCR test (taken 72 hours before the journey) onto it.
For domestic passengers, those arriving from Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Kerala, and Goa, must have an RT-PCR test if they’re traveling to Kolhapur or Shirdi. On the other hand, if you’re traveling to Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, or Aurangabad, the test is compulsory irrespective of where you’re traveling from. You must also install the Aarogya Setu app on your phone.
Getting To Maharashtra By Train
Train services may have resumed, but they come with their own set of rules as well – especially those traveling from or through places of ‘sensitive origin’ that include Uttarakhand, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Goa, and Kerala.
The ones whose trains either originate or have a stop in the above states must have an RT-PCR test done at least 48 hours before the scheduled arrival time in Maharashtra. Those not carrying the test would be tested after deboarding the train, where the asymptomatic passengers would be allowed to leave.
Those who display symptoms would be administered the Rapid Antigen Test and would be allowed to leave if the results are negative.
Getting To Maharashtra By Road
Every road traveler’s body temperature would be checked at the border check posts. Those traveling from the above states are to carry the RT-PCR test. The ones who show Covid symptoms will have the choice to either undergo a Rapid Antigen Test or return to their home states.
Given how being in close proximity to people increases the risk of getting Covid, we’d recommend traveling in your personal vehicle if possible. This may be an expensive and tiring way of travel, but it greatly isolates you from other people.
Places To Visit In Maharashtra
With all the restrictions and the Covid cases, it’s best that you keep away from mainstream crowded places in Maharashtra. Read on to discover some places you can visit when traveling to Maharashtra during Covid.
Pench National Park, Nagpur
If you’re a fan of The Jungle Book, you probably know that the forests in Pench National Park served as the inspiration for the story. Spread between Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and covering an area of over 758 sq km, Pench National Park is the perfect getaway for travelers to be surrounded by nature – a welcome change from life in a concrete jungle.
The forests are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna. It includes the characters in the book, of course! Wolves, sloth bears, jackals, leopards are just a few of them. Pench National Park is also one of the major tiger reserves in India, home to around 44 royal Bengal tigers. Set out on a wildlife safari and with patience and luck, you just might spot one!
Depending on your preference, you can also book one of the many well-fitted cottages or resorts in and around the park. This is where you keep away your worldly worries and get back in touch with nature.
Nearest Airport: Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport, Nagpur (about 103 km away)
Nearest Railway Station: Nagpur Junction (about 79 km away)
Road: Pench National Park is well connected by public transport to Nagpur
Space nerds would totally be over the moon about visiting this place. Why, you ask. This is because Lonar Lake was formed over 50,000 years ago when an asteroid crashed into the Deccan Plateau, thus creating a crater. With rainwater and streams collecting in it over the years, the Lonar Crater became Lonar Lake.
The unique aspect of Lonar Lake is that there’s no fish in it, as the water is highly alkaline. But it is home to a variety of algae and planktons, which give the lake a different hue and color at different times of the year. Very recently in 2020, the lake has turned from green to pink, and it definitely is a sight to see. It’s not just the lake, in the land surrounding it you’ll see many animal species too. You can also set out on a small trekking trail around the lake.
The lake continues to interest astrophysicists and scientists who use the features of the lake to better understand the mysteries surrounding craters.
Nearest Airport: Aurangabad Airport, Aurangabad (about 136 km away)
Nearest Railway Station: Shegaon (about 123 km away)
Road: Traveling via Aurangabad is the best way to reach Lonar Lake, as it’s not well-connected to other places
Suryamal is a place that has somehow evaded the eye of the mainstream tourist crowds in and around Mumbai. This is surprising, considering the beauty of the place, but during a pandemic when staying away from crowds is a priority, this works beautifully!
Suryamal is a place for adventure, as there are many opportunities for thrilling and strenuous activities. You can either trek or cycle your way up to the summit of Suryamal Peak. This point, at 549 meters, is the highest point in the region. If this poses too much of a challenge, there are easier trekking routes here as well.
Riding through the ghats is an experience in itself, with good roads that twist and turn and offer stunning views of the hills and the Vaitarna River flowing serenely below. But we’d advise caution against traveling alone at night because the roads are desolate and pass through Amala National Park.
Considering how Suryamal has eluded commercialization so far, there aren’t many accommodations available here. The nearest resort is in Khodala, about 15 kilometers away.
Nearest Airport: Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai (about 141 km away)
Nearest Railway Station: Igatpuri (about 39 km away)
Road: Suryamal is close to Igatpuri and Wada, both of which are well connected to Mumbai
Covid Precautions When Traveling
While it may seem that the worst of the Covid pandemic is behind us, that’s no reason to let down our guard. So when you’re traveling to Maharashtra during Covid, here’s what you’ll need to remember:
You must wear a mask and keep at least 6 feet distance from others. Also, you must sanitize and/or wash your hands regularly.
It’s best to avoid traveling anywhere if you’ve got flu-like symptoms.
Those below 10 and above 65 years of age, and those with underlying medical conditions are at higher risk of getting Covid and must avoid travel.
Avoid public transport if you can. Personal vehicles offer more isolation and you can ensure that it’s sanitized.
Best avoid interacting with strangers. If you must, keep your distance. For transactions, opt for cashless methods.
Book your stay in hotels/resorts that have Covid-trained staff and follow government-mandated SOPs.
Install the Aarogya Setu app on your phone and carry the Covid self-declaration form with you. This is a requirement while traveling to Maharashtra during Covid.
You’ve seen how the rules get relaxed or more stringent depending on the number of cases. So you must keep yourself updated with the latest Covid rules of Maharashtra and of your home state.
Inform your accommodation staff and medical help if you develop Covid symptoms during or after the trip. Don’t forget to inform your travel buddies as well, so that everyone can take measures to ensure safety.
Is There Lockdown In Maharashtra?
As of 7 June 2021, Maharashtra is lifting lockdown restrictions. However, the extent of which the restrictions are removed varies from district to district based on the Covid positivity rate and oxygenated bed occupancy rate.
Will Malls Be Open In Mumbai?
As Mumbai comes under Level 3 of the unlock criteria, malls will not be allowed to open in the city.
What Level Is Thane?
Thane comes under Level 2 of the unlock criteria in Maharashtra, which means that non-essential shops can function as usual, and restaurants and malls can operate at 50% capacity.
Are Salons Open In Mumbai?
Salons will be open in Mumbai as per the Level 3 unlock criteria, but you can only visit one after getting a prior appointment and the establishments won’t be allowed to use air conditioners.
Are Restaurants Open In Mumbai?
Restaurants are allowed to open in Mumbai as per the Level 3 unlock criteria, but can seat only 50% of the total capacity. In addition to that, restaurants are to close after 4 pm and can only provide parcel/takeaway services.
How Long Should I Self-quarantine If I Have Been Exposed To Covid-19?
If you have been exposed to Covid-19, you should self-quarantine for 14 days. Keep in mind that even if you don’t display any symptoms, you may still be carrying the virus and could infect other healthy people.
Can The Covid-19 Survive In Drinking Water?
There’s no evidence that Covid-19 can survive in drinking water. It spreads when an infected person coughs/sneezes/talks, dispersing the infected droplets in the air and when a healthy person inhles the droplets.
What Are Some Of The Precautions Should I Take While Staying At A Hotel During The Covid-19 Pandemic?
Opt For A Covid-ready Hotel: Most hotel websites now explain the processes in which they’re keeping their premises sanitized. Only opt for such hotels and ensure that the safety norms are adhered to.
Wash Your Hands: Irrespective of where you are, the mask and sanitizer rule applies. Use a sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content and wash your hands thoroughly.
Avoid Contact: As far as possible, opt for cashless transactions and avoid contact with common touchpoints like elevator buttons, doorknobs, faucets, etc. If you do, wash your hands before touching your face.
Dine In: Instead of eating at the hotel’s restaurant, opt to dine in as it reduces your exposure to other guests.
How Can I Protect Myself And Others From Getting Covid-19?
Masks And Social Distancing: This is the basic tip when it comes to Covid safety. You should avoid meeting people and if you have to, keep at least 1 meter away from them and wear that mask!
Sanitizing Your Hands: Your hands touch a lot of surfaces that may have the virus on them. Touching your eyes/nose/mouth without washing/sanitizing your hands can risk you transferring the virus into your system. That’s why you must wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Stay Home: In case you come down with a flu or develop Covid-like symptoms, take no risks; simply stay at home until you recover.
A Guide To Traveling To Maharashtra During CovidTraveling To Maharashtra During The Coronavirus Pandemic