Traveling To Odisha During Covid

Last updated on 3 June 2021

What To Keep In Mind When Traveling to Odisha During Covid

While planning for a trip somewhere in India, Odisha is somehow never on a mainstream traveler’s bucket list. This is how the state earned the name, ‘India’s Best Kept Secret. This is kind of sad, because of all the amazing things this eastern state has to offer. The intricate temple carvings, the rich culture, and the vast wilderness make Odisha a place worth visiting.

Months into the lockdown may have left you wanting a change of scenery. Odisha can offer you just that, but is traveling to Odisha during Covid a good idea? If you ask us, we’ll advise you that it’s not safe to travel with the threat of Covid still looming about. But if you’re determined to go to Odisha, we can help you plan and travel in the safest way possible.

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>Traveling To Odisha

With the rise in cases, the once-relaxed restrictions were replaced by more stringent norms. As of 2 June 2021, the state government has extended the lockdown until 17 June. Keeping in mind the Odisha travel guidelines, here are the ways you can enter the state:

Getting To Odisha By Air

The Odisha Government requires that only asymptomatic travelers make the flight to Odisha.

Passengers are expected to produce their negative RT-PCR test results that were taken 48 hours prior to landing. A final vaccination certificate can be produced as well. But those who don’t carry either would be subject to a Rapid Antigen Test and if the results are positive, the passengers will be dealt with as per protocol.

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Getting To Odisha By Train

Traveling to and from Odisha by train will be allowed only if you have a confirmed e-ticket and you’ll be subject to thermal screening. Those arriving in Odisha by train will also have their arms stamped with ink and are to be home quarantined for 14 days. Keep in mind that owing to Covid, most trains will not have a pantry car. Those that do have pantry cars would only serve pre-packaged food. So you’ll need to check before booking a ticket and also pack your own food, if needed.

Getting To Odisha By Road

With the lockdown in Odisha, getting around is prohibited unless for emergency reasons. 

Interstate buses have been suspended, and those arriving from Andhra Pradesh or Telangana will have to undergo institutional quarantine for 14 days.

Irrespective of whether interstate bus services are allowed or not, a good idea would be to travel in your personal vehicle if you have one. Since you’re in your own vehicle, there is a much lesser risk of Covid transmission unlike in public transport. However, driving for long distances can get really tiring. So if you’re visiting Odisha with a group of friends/family who can drive, you can switch with them. 

Whatever your chosen mode of transport may be, you have to register for an epass whether you’re traveling to or from Odisha. And don’t compromise on wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and regular washing of your hands.

Also read: What To Do If You Get Sick When On Your Holiday?

Places To Visit In Odisha

Given the guidelines, traveling to Odisha may not be feasible at the moment. But when things start opening up, there are some places that you can consider when you’re traveling to Odisha during Covid.

Daringbadi

Widely known as the ‘Kashmir of Odisha’, Daringbadi is a beautiful hill station that is a perfect destination, particularly for the leisurely traveler. This town is nestled in the Eastern Ghats and surrounded by verdant hills with coffee plantations and pine forests which drop down to deep valleys. Also, Daringbadi has the distinction of being the only place in Odisha that has snowfall, though it’s not much. But considering how hot the rest of the state is, it’ll be a wonderful respite from the heat.

You can stay at the locally-run Daringbadi Nature Camp and live life the traditional Odiya way and also get to meet the local tribes – the Kuthia Konda and the Dongri Khond. But of course, keep in mind the social distancing rules.

While relaxing amongst the trees and coffee plantations are definitely the things you can do, the forests and ghats surrounding Daringbadi also offer opportunities for adventure travel. By setting out on treks and safaris, you can experience Daringbadi’s flora and fauna to its fullest, and have a memorable holiday.

Nearest Airport: Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar (247 km away)

Nearest Railway Station: Brahmapur (121 km away)

Road: Daringbadi is well-connected with major cities with public transport and taxis available.

Udayagiri and Khandagiri Caves

The history and architecture buff is sure to visit the temples in Bhubaneswar. But a mere 6 km outside the city are two hills – Udayagiri and Khandagiri. These hills are full of ancient rock-cut temples and caves which are sure to allure them.

The Udayagiri and Khandagiri caves were built in the 2nd century BCE by King Kharavela of Kalinga as a place of accommodation and meditation for Jain monks. The inscriptions in one of the caves, the Hathigumpha, narrate the military expeditions of King Kharavela. The Ranigumpha, on the other hand, is a two-storied cave adorned with intricate sculptures that seem ahead of their times.

While the inscription at Hathigumpha mentions 117 caves, only 33 of them still exist. But they still offer a deep insight into the history of Jainism in the region as well as King Kharavela’s life. Despite the proximity to the bustling city of Bhubaneswar, this cave complex is sure to immerse you in a time long bygone.

Nearest Airport: Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar (6 km away)

Nearest Railway Station: Bhubaneswar (9 km away)

Road: These caves are well-connected to major cities. Since Bhubaneswar is close by, you shouldn’t have trouble getting here.

Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary

This 350 sq km patch of wilderness is in western Odisha. As this sanctuary is located between the Hirakud Dam (built over the Mahanadi River) and its reservoir, it is home to a wide variety of both terrestrial and aquatic species. 

Monsoons in Debrigarh are heavy and you’ll get to see cascading waterfalls. However, the best time to visit Debrigarh is during the winter months of January and February, when a large number of migratory birds arrive at the Hirakud reservoir, attracted by the large wetland. The bird enthusiast wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to sight and photograph them. 

As a wildlife traveler, you may need time to explore the sanctuary properly. So you can even stay overnight by the Hirakud reservoir and experience tranquility. Keeping the pandemic in mind, it’s preferable to book an entire 4-seater vehicle to yourself so that you can observe Odisha’s wildlife while being isolated from other visitors.

Nearest Airport: Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneshwar (314 km away)

Nearest Railway Station: Sambalpur Junction (32 km away)

Road: Sambalpur, the nearest town, is well connected with major cities. You can easily hire a cab from here.

Covid Precautions When Traveling

  • Ensure social distancing always – masks, sanitizers, and keeping 6 feet distance from others. 
  • If you’ve developed symptoms of even a regular flu before the trip, it’s best that you cancel it. 
  • Avoid close interactions with unfamiliar people and for transactions, go cashless to reduce the risk of infection. 
  • Look for accommodations that are Covid-ready. 
  • Whether required or not, install the Aarogya Setu app on your phone and the Covid self-declaration form. 
  • Covid rules and regulations are subject to change. So make sure that you are aware of the latest rules in Odisha and in your home state. 
  • If you’ve developed symptoms during or even after the trip, inform your accommodation staff so that they can take all the necessary measures to sanitize the place.

FAQs

Is Odisha Under Lockdown?

Yes, as of 2 June 2021, Odisha is under lockdown because of the rising Covid cases, with travel allowed only for essential purposes.

Is Bus Service Available In Odisha?

Interstate bus services have been suspended in Odisha, but intrastate services are running with the condition that there are no standing passengers.

What Is The Best Time To Visit Orissa?

The months from October to March are among the best times to visit Odisha. This is when the weather is quite pleasant. But if you’re interested in being part of the Ratha Yatra in Puri, you must visit around June-July.

Is Orissa Open For Tourists?

Some locations and monuments in Odisha are open for tourists but there are a lot of restrictions in place to ensure social distancing and reduce the risk of transmission.

What Is Odisha Famous For?

Odisha is among the most underrated places in India. Here are some of the key attractions of India’s Hidden Gem:

Temples: Odisha is home to thousands of temples, of which many of them are UNESCO Heritage Sites. The Sun Temple in Konark, the Lingaraja Temple in Bhubaneswar, and the Jagannath Temple in Puri are just among the most famous ones.

Beaches: Odisha may not come to mind when you’re thinking of beaches. But some beaches like Puri Beach, Chandipur Beach (aka Hide-and-Seek Beach), and Gopalpur Beach.

How Long Should I Self-quarantine If I Have Been Exposed To Covid-19?

If you’ve been exposed to Covid-19, you should self-quarantine for 14 days. Keep in mind that even if you’re asymptomatic, you may still be carrying the virus.

Can The Covid-19 Survive In Drinking Water?

There’s little evidence that Covid-19 can survive in drinking water. The virus spreads when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, dispersing droplets into the air and another person inhales them.

In What Conditions Does Covid-19 Survive The Longest?

The Covid-19 virus survives the longest at room temperatures and when the humidity is less than 50%. On the other hand, the virus dies quickly when exposed to UV light.

What Preventative Measures Can I Take Against The Coronavirus Disease?

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. 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 Are The Best General Tips For All Travelers During The Covid-19 Pandemic?

Social Distancing And Masks: When traveling during the Covid-19 pandemic, wearing a mask and properly following social distancing norms have to be followed.

Hygiene: Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, and also carry hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

For At-Risk Travelers: Senior citizens or those with underlying health conditions should avoid traveling altogether, especially to areas where there’s active community transmission.

 

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    A Guide To Traveling to Odisha During Covid Traveling To Odisha During The Coronavirus Pandemic

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