There is an unspoken spiritual aura in Gujarat, a state where the iconic Hindu temples and coastal panoramas create a magical destination that is as diverse as the travelers who come here. People from all over the world travel to Gujarat for an escape from the monotonous life and indulge in history, architecture and retreats that focus on calming the mind, rejuvenating the souls and connecting with nature.
After the months-long lockdown restrictions, the state government is finally set to welcome back visitors who are eager to travel again. According to the advisory released by the Health Department, new protocols are established to safeguard the people entering the state and residents to avoid any further spread.
Read below for a detailed post-covid travel guide to Gujarat for your post-pandemic travel planning.
Gujarat Travel Advisory During Covid-19
The state of Gujarat is inviting more travelers by opening up its tourism industry slowly but the key priority is the safety and wellbeing of both the travelers and the residents. In line withe the National Covid-19 guidelines, Gujarat has issued Unlock-5 Covid-19 advisory. Here’s a list of some of the other important Covid-19 guidelines issued by the state of Gujarat that travelers must follow:
- COVID-19 negative certificate is no longer mandatory: Passengers traveling to Gujarat by land, air, or sea route can enter the state by just passing the thermal screening.
- Face masks must be worn at all times during commute and public travel or they may have to pay a penalty amount for the same.
- The Covid-10 RT-PCR testing is capped at INR 800 for everyone in the state of Gujarat.
- Cinema halls and multiplexes will open at 50% capacity.
- Government and private buses will be operating at 75% capacity.
- All areas outside the containment zones will be accessible for travelers given that they follow all the SOPs issued by the government.
- Entertainment parks and similar facilities are also open for recreational activities.
- All hotels and restaurants will operate as usual till 23:00 IST and there is no such time limit applicable for takeaway services.
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit Gujarat is from October to March when the temperature averages between 25 to 35 degree Celsius. It is also a time when most domestic and international visit the state so you can expect a slight increase in the crowd at popular hotspots.
How To Reach
The Gujarat state government has removed all travel restrictions to allow the influx of tourists from all parts of India. Please note that international travel is still not operational till 31st December 2020. The authorities have also introduced a fine for those who are not wearing their mask during commute/entering the border.
- Travelers can take a flight from the closest airport to Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Bhavnagar or any other airport that is operational to reach Gujarat.
- There are also a limited number of trains operating to Gujarat and you must check the availability on the IRCTC website before booking.
- If you are planning to travel by road, you can hire a car or drive yourself from the state border to your accommodation. There will be temperature screenings at certain checkpoints and you must wear your mask at all times until you reach your destination.
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There are multiple modes of transportation available for travelers who want to go around Gujarat. There are many alternative modes of transportation available for travelers currently in the state. For intra-state travel, you can take private cabs, a limited number of local and private buses on selected routes or auto-rickshaws for quick trips from your accommodation. Please note that train travel is currently restricted on limited lines and you must check with IRCTC before booking any journey.
Places To Visit In Gujarat During Covid-19
From bustling metropolis culture with a traditional spark to countryside gems that will make you want to spend a few extra days in the blissful scenery, Gujarat is much more than a spiritual escape. There are alleyways that lead to hidden architectural wonders in suburban societies, uncovering a lifestyle most of us haven’t heard of. The mere observance of a morning prayer in accordance with the Hindu religion is enthralling, irrespective of your background and beliefs. Gujarat is an amalgamation of many histories, and today, it is a beautiful reflection of its past.
As Gujarat is reopening, the way we approach travel might have changed but the beauty of the places remains the same. If you are planning to make a trip, make sure you don’t miss out on Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad, Gir National Park, Dwarka, Rann of Kutch, a day trip to Bhuj and Rajkot and the capital city, Gandhinagar.
Things To Do In Gujarat During Covid-19
From unbelievably detailed and religiously significant architecture that you can ponder on for hours to platters of traditional dishes with a unique flavour you can find throughout the state, there is something for everyone when it comes to planning an itinerary. It doesn’t matter if you are planning to visit for a couple of days or weeks, the non-exhaustive list of offerings Gujarat has is a charm in itself.
Some of the most popular things to do in Gujarat are:
- Walking tour of the salt marshes in Rann of Kutch.
- Safari in Gir National Park
- Souvenir hunting in Dwarka
- Street food tasting in Vadodara
- Visiting the Jubliee garden in Rajkot
- Checking off Akshar Dham from your list of Dhams to visit
- Participating in excavation site activities in Dholavira
- Boating in Bet Dwarka
The state of Gujarat has removed all the travel restrictions imposed during the lockdown and travelers no longer need to book a stay in advance. From short stays to week-long vacations, you can enjoy your time in Gujarat by choosing to stay at some of the most amazing hotels and Airbnbs. All hotels are now following the government advisory for reopening which includes a deep sanitization process during and after every guest, limited capacity of beds, closure of community areas like pools and gyms, and contact tracing.
Here is a list of measures that the state of Gujarat has for the hotel industry:
- Properties are all allowed to provide room for quarantine if the travelers are coming from abroad or for isolation in case a domestic guest needs to take the precaution.
- The hotel/resort must have medical professionals on-call in case of emergency.
- All the rooms must be cleaned rigorously and the staff should use industrial grade sanitising solutions to clean all surfaces.
- The hotel must provide special Covid-19 training to its staff and instructions must be provided to wear disposable gloves, masks and PPE equipment at all times.
- Contact free work flow must be ensured by marking spaces to ensure social distancing.
- Hotels must ensure that they keep track of all their visitors by using a contact tracing form or any other data collection process.
The hospitality industry in Gujarat is reopening but the safety of the travelers and staff remains a key priority. While some of the big-league restaurants are back to normal functioning with a limited capacity, many of the food outlets have moved to delivery-only or takeaway facilities. Food franchises are also operational and open for customers with social distance seating and disposable cutlery to avoid any transmission.
What To Pack
A post-covid travel guide to Gujarat is incomplete without a smart packing list that would accommodate all your belongings and save space for safety essentials like an extra bottle of sanitizer or a PPE kit. Here’s a comprehensive list of things to pack:
- Cotton clothing is advised for the temperature and humidity levels in Gujarat and you must pack some comfortable footwear for tours.
- A pack of disposable face masks or 2-3 reusable face masks
- Sanitizer for personal use
- Sanitizing solution for outdoor/surface use
- A personal PPE kit that will include a face shield, sanitizer sachets, and a pair of disposable glove for flight, train, or any kind of commute
- Book your travel and accommodation in advance if possible and inquire about all the Covid-19 related amenities that they are providing.
- Talk with your hotel/Airbnb about their sanitizing facilities and the Covid-19 related precautions they are taking.
- Download the Arogya Setu app on your mobile phone in case you need to show it to authorities.
- Try to get tested before your travel and keep the Covid-19 negative certificate handy during your commute.
Covid-19 Prerequisites And Consequences In Gujarat
- All passengers traveling domestically to Gujarat must undergo thermal screening before they can enter the border.
- If the temperature recorded is higher than the required number, you will be asked to take a Covid-19 RT-PCR test for which you will bear the cost of the test and any commute you may have to undertake. If negative, you will be allowed to travel to your destination. If the result shows positive, the state protocol for Covid-19 will be followed.
- It is mandatory for everyone to wear a mask in public and you may incur a fine or penalty.
Further Travel Tips
- When at the temples or visiting an attraction, make sure you follow the safety marks on the floor or walls of the place for social distancing.
- If you plan to travel around, make sure that you keep yourself aware of the containment zones and avoid entering those borders.
- If you are planning to visit the temples, make sure you wear appropriate clothing in accordance with the culture to avoid being denied entry.
Nothing beats a spontaneous escape to the vibrant streets of Gujarat but in unpredictable times like this, we must ensure that safety is our highest priority. There is nothing more important than reminding yourself and other fellow travelers that we can contribute to the decline of the curve and our efforts to avoid further transmission of the virus is more significant than we may believe. Gujarat is a majestic state and we hope that it flourishes again as the paradise that has inspired countless wanderers. If you are planning a trip to Gujarat soon, this post-covid travel guide to Gujarat is all you will need.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Is Gujarat open for tourists?
Yes, the state of Gujarat is currently open for domestic tourists and travelers from all parts of the country. As per the Unlock 5 guidelines announced by the government, travelers no longer need to show a Covid-19 test or book accommodation in advance. You can easily travel from your home state by just undergoing a temperature check at entry points.
Is it safe to travel to Gujarat during the Coronavirus pandemic?
Yes, it is safe to travel to Gujarat only if you are traveling in a small group while following the state-issued advisory. As experts are warning to be cautious against the spread of the virus in cold weather, here are some precautions you must follow if you travel: When going outside, in public transport, or visiting tourist attractions, wear a suitable and fitted face mask that covers your nose and mouth. Always carry hand sanitizer with you and check with your hotel if they are providing you with regular sanitation facilities. Avoid touching any unsanitary surfaces and keep a pack of disposable gloves handy if needed. Avoid going to crowded places and if you are planning to visit any temples or marketplaces, make sure you maintain social distancing.