Guide To Traveling To Uttarakhand Pradesh During Covid
The tourism industry is a big part of the economies of many Indian states. All these states have taken a major hit during the lockdown phases of the Covid pandemic.
While Uttarakhand had opened its doors to tourism, the recent second wave has resulted in more restrictions being imposed by the government. With that in mind, we recommend that you avoid traveling anywhere altogether. But in case you do need to visit this state, here’s what you need to know if you’re traveling to Uttarakhand during Covid.
Uttarakhand Regulations And Guidelines
As of writing this article on 11 May 2021, the Government of Uttarakhand has imposed a Covid curfew from 11 May to 18 May. This means that only essential services are allowed to run and those with emergencies allowed to travel.
People from containment areas of their respective states/districts aren’t allowed to register in the portal.
Those arriving from outside Uttarakhand are supposed to produce a negative RT-PCR test that’s not older than 72 hours, without which entry is barred.
Interstate arrivals will have to undergo 7-day home quarantine.
For a more in-depth look at the regulations and guidelines, the Uttarakhand tourism website offers a comprehensive set of documents that you can read through before you plan your trip to the state.
Getting To Uttarakhand
While states have started opening up their borders, the government still recommends that we should view travel as only a necessity and not as a source of entertainment. Even the transport facilities have been kept minimal because of this. So if you plan on traveling to Uttarakhand during Covid, you could find some trouble finding transport facilities for your trip.
There are daily flights from major cities to Dehradun Airport. However, you should consider taking adequate precautions before traveling by air because airports also have the toughest screening process. People who do not pass the temperature checks can be asked to quarantine for the next few days.
Those arriving from Maharashtra, Kerala, and Gujarat will be administered a Covid test free of cost, and those with positive test results will be quarantined. Those who provide a negative Covid test will be exempted from quarantine.
While trains are the cheapest option of traveling during this time, they are also the least available option. Most of the major metro cities like Mumbai and Bangalore have no trains going to Dehradun, which is the primary station for out of inter-state trains.
There are, however, a few Covid Special Trains running from New Delhi to Dehradun. These trains have to be booked months in advance. So do not opt for train travel if the need for travel is more immediate.
Traveling by road is relatively safer, although it is also the costliest option. Traveling by a small car (while adhering to the rules of social distancing) is really the best and safest way to travel during this pandemic. So if you can afford to travel by road via a private vehicle, please take that option.
The state has also allowed inter-state and intra-state public transport but at 50% capacity and subject to SOPs by the State Transport Department. However, if you are going to opt for this option, you will need to check if there is any provision for such a bus from your state to Uttarakhand. You’ll also have to be extra careful while traveling because buses are closed environments where social distancing is harder to enforce.
Things To Keep In Mind When Traveling
Traveling during lockdown/curfew is going to be a little more complicated than before. You have to be a lot more careful about who you come in contact with, and what resources you should use during your trip. Here are a couple of things that we think you should keep in mind while traveling:
Keep Your Circle Small
The best way to travel in these times is to travel alone. This significantly reduces the chances of you being in continuous close contact with another person. If traveling alone is not an option, then try to travel in a group of fewer than 5 people.
This way you’ll be adhering to Section 144 (which states that a gathering of more than 5 people is prohibited) which was imposed on multiple occasions to reduce contact.
Use Private Vehicles
As far as possible avoid using public transport. There is no way of telling who you are coming in contact with, or if your co-travelers could be carriers of the virus.
When using private vehicles, you can actually choose your co-travelers.
Make sure to find out who they have come in contact with in the past 15 days as an added measure of safety. This brings us to the next point.
Recheck For Infection
The most recommended course of action is to get tested negative for Covid before you travel. In fact, presenting a Covid negative test is mandatory in Uttarakhand.
Make sure that you or your fellow travelers are not suffering from any of the regular symptoms of Covid. Also, make sure to ask them if they have come in contact with any Covid positive person in the last 15 days (ask yourself the same question).
Once you have taken all these precautions, then you can consider traveling.
Reduce Contact Based Transactions
Since minimizing interaction is the ultimate goal, you can start off by doing the following:
Book every stay in advance via online transactions.
Pay for meals and other shopping items using UPI or other online wallets.
Things To Carry When Traveling
Hand sanitizer (preferably alcohol-based although herbal is also okay)
Lots of clothes (avoid doing laundry)
Smartphone with Aarogya Setu app, and UPI payment app (Internet is required)
Covid negative certificate
Things To Do In Uttarakhand During Covid
Dehradun actually is a gateway for people who are planning on visiting popular places in the state like Rishikesh and Mussoorie. So it is best to be cautious. Considering the places will be open to tourists soon and social distancing will still be a priority, here are a few things you can do.
Skiing in Auli
Auli is among the handful of places in India where you can actually go skiing. Since skiing is not a very popular sport in India, Auli is not a crowded place, making it an ideal place for some social distancing approved travel.
You can find lodging in one of the many ski lodges in that area. Skiing is not an option in the monsoons and the summers, so traveling between the months of December to February is actually the smart thing to do.
If you are unfamiliar with skiing, there are courses you can take over a period of a few days to learn skiing before braving the slope yourself. Don’t forget to carry plenty of thermals. The temperatures can drop down to up to -15°C.
Jim Corbett National Park
Jim Corbett is one of the largest national parks in India. It is also the country’s premier tiger reserve. You will have to call and confirm whether the park has started allowing entry to the general public.
While Jim Corbett is usually a popular place for tourists, the remote location and the inherent requirement of the safari being for a small group makes it a good destination for social distancing-friendly travel.
A trip to Jim Corbett will allow you to actually get away from the urban life and enjoy the forest greenery for a while. Your guides will make sure to take you to areas that are frequented by animals. You’ll probably get to see fauna like chital deer, barking deer, Indian pangolin, the Himalayan black bear, and you might even catch sight of the elusive tigers.
While booking the safari, please ask the guides to make sure that the group that you are traveling with is small and is adhering to social distancing norms.
Trek to Kuari Pass
There’s nothing more social distancing-friendly than a good trek. Luckily, Uttarakhand has Kuari Pass in it. The trek to Kuari Pass is an easy level trek that can be attempted by even a novice. So if you are relatively new to trekking and looking to put some distance between you and other people Kuari Pass is the trek you should go for.
The popularity of the trek could mean that you run into more people than you’d like to.
However, you are unlikely to find a crowd, and so you should be able to adhere to social distancing rules while doing this trek.
If you do not have food, water, and shelter provisions, there are many dhabas and guesthouses along the road that you can use as rest stops to relax and restock. However, it is highly recommended that you stock up on all these things before the trek so that you can avoid interacting with other people. Carry lots of thermals, no matter which season you’re traveling in. It can get really chilly along the road.
As of writing this article, tourism in Uttarakhand has slowed down again because of the rising Covid cases. So the best thing to do now is to wait it out. And when things do start opening up, it becomes even more important to travel responsibly and adhere to social distancing at all costs.
What Is Uttarakhand Famous For?
Uttarakhand is best known for its many Hindu pilgrimage sites like Haridwar, Kedarnath, and Rishikesh. In addition to that, its location in the Garhwal Himalayas makes it an ideal mountain destination with places including Nainital, Mussoorie, Mukteshwar, and Auli.
Is There Lockdown In Uttarakhand?
Yes. As of writing this article on 11 May 2021, Uttarakhand is on a one-week lockdown from 11 to 18 May, during which only essential services are allowed.
Is Mussoorie Safe?
Yes, Mussoorie is quite a safe place to visit, even for solo female travelers.
Can The Coronavirus Disease Spread Through Feces?
Chances of the coronavirus spreading through feces are very low. So you needn’t worry about the virus spreading this way.
What Does Covid-19 Stand For?
The ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona’, ‘VI’ for virus, ‘D’ for ‘disease’, and ‘19’ refers to the year 2019.
Does UV Light Kill Covid-19?
Yes, the Covid virus dies quickly when it’s exposed to ultraviolet light from the sun.
Can I Get The Coronavirus Disease From Swimming In A Swimming Pool?
You won’t get Covid by swimming in a pool, but you must take care to avoid crowded pools.
Is Delhi In Lockdown?
Yes. As of writing this article the lockdown in Delhi has been extended to 17 May 2021.
Are Children At Lower Risk Of Covid-19 Than Adults?
Generally, children are at lower risk of Covid than adults. But that’s no excuse to let your guard down as critical cases in children have also been reported.
How Can I Help A Family Member With Covid-19 At Home?
In case one of your loved ones have become infected with Covid, here’s what you can do:
Isolate the person: Social distancing becomes a lot more difficult when within the confines of a house. The person should be moved to a different room, and if that isn’t possible, everyone in proximity to them must wear a mask.
No Visitors: To reduce the risk of transmission, don’t let anyone visit your house. Also, dedicate only one person to the care of the patient, preferably one without any medical conditions. This caretaker must wear a mask and must wash their hands after.
Regular Sanitation: The infected person must have their own utensils and linens. These must be kept separate from others and must be sanitized regularly.
Keeping A Sanitized House: Not just the infected person, everyone in the household must wash their hands regularly especially after coughing or sneezing and before eating.
Traveling To Uttarakhand : What To Keep In MindTraveling To Uttarakhand During The Coronavirus Pandemic