Himachal Pradesh, especially Manali, is an enigmatic place that draws first-time visitors and regulars alike. While there are several hill stations surrounding the mighty Himalayas, there is something about Manali that is just about right, making it a go-to name for most Himalayan travelers. While the lockdown brought businesses and the entire economy to a standstill, it also pulled the brakes on tourism since people stayed indoors to prevent the spread. Last month, as the Government of Himachal Pradesh announced the resumption of tourism activities in the state, many travelers itching to leave their concrete homes and unwind in the lap of nature started making express plans for Manali. While the lockdowns have been lifted, there are certain things that you need to keep in mind before you start your journey.
The Himachal Government has mandated that anyone wishing to travel to Manali must carry a COVID-19 negative certificate not more than 72 hours old. This test must be done by an ICMR-accredited lab. Also, you will have to pre-book your hotel and stay there for at least 5 days. Further, you need to apply for an e-pass at least 48 hours before the trip.
Safety and Sanitization
Lifting of the lockdown doesn’t mean that the pandemic is over. Around the world, some countries have been struggling with the second wave of the virus since people were not careful enough. Hence, safety and sanitization should be your primary goals. Ensure that you book a hotel/homestay after enquiring about the sanitization steps taken to ensure your safety. Also, try to avoid hotels that are nearly full as that would mean having to deal with crowds. Further, while in Manali, keep your mask on and a sanitizer with you at all times. You can opt for a safe and sanitized Manali taxi service to help you go around the place and find a quiet and peaceful spot amidst nature and away from people.
While the Government has announced the lifting of the lockdown, many hotels and restaurants have yet not opened. Also, those magical impromptu trips to small villages might not be possible as locals would be worried about their safety too. Hence, visit areas that the authorities have marked as accessible and don’t venture into restricted areas. Medical facilities are scarce in the mountains. Ensure that you maintain an adequate social distance with the locals.
Be prepared for traffic and huge crowds
Most people have been locked away in their homes beyond their tolerance limits. Hence, with Manali opening up for tourists, there will be a surge of people trying to get there. Hence, plan your trip carefully. Choose a hotel or resort that is not famous and try to visit non-commercial locations to avoid unnecessary crowds. This can be a good time to take a quick trip to Leh. Also, you can hire a safe and reliable car rental in Leh with an experienced driver to travel around and soak in the much-needed joy.
We all have been waiting with bated breath for life to get back to normal and businesses to resume. As the country cautiously unlocks the economy, it is essential to ensure that you take maximum precaution to keep yourself and others around you safe while stepping out into the world again. Remember, we are all in this together and if we all take precautions, we will soon be able to travel without restrictions again!