Traveling To Mahe, Pondicherry During Covid

Last updated on 28 June 2021

What To Keep In Mind When Traveling to Mahe, Pondicherry During Covid

Home to streets lined with trees and colonial villas, Pondicherry is arguably India’s most famous French colony. But few people are aware that it isn’t the only colony, and is actually accompanied by a handful of others scattered across the southern region of the country. Mahe was one of these colonies and was ruled by the French up until 1954 when it became a district of the Puducherry Union Territory. Also known as Mayyazhi or the Eyebrow of the Sea, Mahe is the smallest district in India. It stretches across only 9 square kilometers; delightfully tiny, it is one of India’s well-kept secrets and quite the offbeat location to visit.

Traveling To Mahe, Pondicherry During Covid

Geographically, Mahe is located in Kerala, but it is administratively a part of Puducherry. Make sure you know your way here by reading our guide on traveling to Mahe, Pondicherry during Covid. From things to see to Covid regulations, we’ve covered it all.

How To Get To Mahe

Traveling To Mahe, Pondicherry During Covid

Mahe sits on the tip of the Mahe River, snug between the Kannur and Kozhikode districts of Kerala. Reaching Mahe is fairly uncomplicated since Kerala itself is a state that is well connected, enabling easy access to this little town. But apart from taking the responsibility to travel safely, you must also follow the Covid restrictions and regulations that have been put in place.

General Travel Regulations

You may be headed to Mahe, Pondicherry, but you have to follow Kerala state regulations for domestic travel.

People staying in Kerala for less than 7 days are exempt from taking a Covid test or quarantining. All other passengers are required to home quarantine for 14 days. If you wish to avoid the quarantine period, you must present a valid Covid-negative test or opt for a test upon arrival.

The Puducherry Union Territory currently does not have any restrictions on domestic travel; you do not need an e-pass or a Covid-negative test, neither are you required to quarantine. We advise you to install the Aarogya Setu app, as well as fill and carry a self-health declaration form just in case the need arises.

Getting To Mahe By Air

Mahe has its own railway station, well connected to surrounding cities and regions. Trains run to Mahe from Pondicherry, Chennai, Mangalore, Bangalore, and Trivandrum. The nearest major railway station is Thalassery, 9 km away from Mahe. You can take an intercity train to Thalassery from other metros like Mumbai and New Delhi, and then take a cab to Mahe.

Getting To Mahe By Rail

Mahe has its own railway station, well connected to surrounding cities and regions. Trains run to Mahe from Pondicherry, Chennai, Mangalore, Bangalore, and Trivandrum. The nearest major railway station is Thalassery, 9 km away from Mahe. You can take an intercity train to Thalassery from other metros like Mumbai and New Delhi, and then take a cab to Mahe.

Getting to Mahe By Road

The National Highway 66 runs through Mahe, connecting it to major cities along the west coast of India. This makes it a great destination for a road trip. The highway is extremely busy, so make sure you drive safely when making your way to Mahe.

Things To Do In Mahe

This little hamlet has a smattering of things to do and places to see located within its 9 sq km. Don’t expect the exotic or the fancy, as Mahe is a town with a deep history and an old-world charm. Its beauty lies in its simplicity, and of course, in the lack of tourist hordes swarming all over!

Traveling to Pondicherry During Covid,Traveling To Mahe, Pondicherry During Covid

Walk To Tagore Park

Walking to this quaint little park is a pleasant experience itself, as the park is accessed by a walkway. The walkway runs alongside the Mahe River, and dotted with benches and tables, makes for the perfect place for wanderers to soak in their surroundings with the constant rush of the river for company. The park itself is an oasis of green, and a path from the park leads to a heritage picnic spot and lighthouse – perfect for explorers and peace-seekers alike.

Climb Up To Hillock

Climbing up to this heritage site is fairly easy, for young and old alike, and boy is it rewarding. Reaching the top, or what is known as Hillock, you are greeted with the Arabian Sea spread out like a carpet, sea breeze in your hair and salt on your lips. Hillock in itself is a wooded sight to behold, recently renovated and maintained for its historic position in Mahe. Benches are placed for those who would like to take in the view, and secure railings ensure there’s no danger of kids running off the edge. Hillock can be accessed by the riverside walkway and houses the historic lighthouse that served the French.

Also read: 6 Of The Best Offbeat Beaches In India

Relive The Past

Mahe is a tiny hamlet, but has years steeped in history. There are two main sites in Mahe that have stood the test of time: Government House and St Theresa’s Shrine. Government House is presently the seat of the Regional Administrator of Mahe, but served as the administrative seat of the French for 223 years. Authorities are now creating a museum in the House to capture the years of history it has seen.

The St Theresa’s Shrine is not only one of the oldest shrines in India, but one of the most visited. According to a record from the Carmelite Archives at Rome, the Shrine of St Theresa was erected all the way back in 1736. Not just the Shrine, but all of Mahe comes alive from the second to the fourth week of October, which is when the Feast of the Shrine is celebrated.

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Tips For Traveling To Mahe During Covid

The coronavirus has made everyday life a challenge to cope with, and being cooped up at home only makes it that much harder. Whether you are resisting the temptation to travel or finally giving in, remember that you are responsible for yourself and those around you. At no point should you stop following the Covid regulations, no matter where you are. Make sure you look up Covid hospital and care centers and dial the Covid helpline number (1800118797) when needed without delay.

Travel will certainly help boost the tourism industry, particularly for offbeat locations like Mahe. But its isolation is why it must be protected even more, and why we have the onus of being responsible travelers. Carry around a sanitizer with you, as well as a bottle of water. Avoid refilling your water unless it is from a verified place. Lastly, Mahe may be relatively lenient with its Covid protocol for the moment, but these rules can change overnight. Make it a point to stay constantly updated with the rules for interstate domestic travel, so you’re not left stranded far from home as you await a Covid-negative test result.

FAQs

Is Mahe Open For Tourists?

As of 28 June 2021, Mahe is open for tourists but the Union Territory is under lockdown until 30 June. There will be a corona curfew from 10 pm to 5 am with places of interest being closed to the public on all days.

How Do I Get To Mahi From Pondicherry?

Mahe is a part of Pondicherry, but if you’re referring to the part of the Union Territory in Tamil Nadu, you can board the Mangalore Express which connects both Mahe and Pondicherry.

You can also travel by road via the NH544 and the trip would take you over 12 hours.

What Is The Speciality Of Mahe?

The city of Mahe was once a part of Kerala but was taken over by the French. The French heritage is still evident in its architecture. Along with it, the beachfront walkways and the Hillock make for an offbeat destination worth exploring.

Why Mahe Is Not A Part Of Kerala?

The French had control over the territories of Pondicherry, namely Karaikal (located in Tamil Nadu), Yanam (located in Andhra Pradesh), and Mahe (located in Kerala). The Treaty of Cession was signed in 1956 which decreed that French territories will not be incorporated into the Indian states.

This was why when these territories were merged into India on 1 July 1963, they became separate territories but the small population and area of Yanam and Karaikal led the government to put them together under the administration of Pondicherry.

Is Alcohol Cheap In Mahe?

Yes, thanks to the lower taxes in Union Territories, alcohol is considerably cheaper in Mahe.

What Precautions Should Everyone Take In 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.

What Precautions Can I Take To Avoid Contracting Covid-19?

Four simple precautions can greatly help in reducing the risk of getting Covid-19:

Wear A Mask: Covid spreads when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes, releasing the virus particles in the air. Wearing a mask, especially the N95, can help in reducing the spread of the virus.

Wash Your Hands: Your hands touch a lot of surfaces, which may have the virus, and then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth can lead you to get infected. To remedy that, wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

Maintain Safe Distance: Keeping at least 6-feet distance from others means you’re not in close contact with someone who may be infected. Combine social distancing with a mask, and you’re even safer!

Get Vaccinated: Vaccination drives have begun. So make sure that you register yourself for the shot on the Aarogya Setu app/Cowin portal. Keep in mind that getting vaccinated doesn’t make you immune to the virus, it only makes you more resistant to it. So the other three precautions mentioned above still apply!

What Is The Minimum Distance To Be Kept From Each Other To Avoid Covid-19?

WHO recommends keeping a distance of at least 1 meter from others and not visiting crowded places to avoid Covid-19.

Are Small Gatherings Safe During Covid-19 Pandemic?

The rule of thumb with regard to Covid is that the more the people, the greater the risk of infection. But in any case, gatherings of any number involve a bit of risk during the Covid pandemic.

 

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