Thousands are heading to the hills to escape north India’s stifling heat wave. While Himachal Pradesh continues to be the top choice, with no RT-PCR test or e-pass rules, a few other Himalayan states are also readying to cash in on the summer tourist rush.
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Notably, Sikkim is now allowing fully vaccinated travellers to enter the state from the Melli and Rangpo checkposts, without having to carry a negative RT-PCR test report. All they have to do is apply for a travel card on sikkimtourism.gov.in, and display a valid vaccination certificate at the checkposts.
See the official order:
Sikkim state opens for tourists who are fully vaccinated.
No RTPCR negative report required, however vaccine certificate needs to be produced at check-points. pic.twitter.com/jN8UJQgd7L
— Pooja Mehta (@pooja_news) July 5, 2021
However, there is some fine print to consider if you’re flying into the Bagdogra or Pakyong Airports. Know more here.
Moving onto Jammu and Kashmir—the UT’s weekend curfew has been lifted from 13 districts. Relaxations have been granted for Jammu, Kathua, Samba, Poonch, Rajouri, Udhampur, Anantnag, Bandipora, Baramulla, Budgam, Ganderbal, Pulwama and Shopian, which is sure to make the tourist experience easier within these areas.
Popular summer choices in these districts include Pahalgam (in Anantnag), Sonmarg (in Ganderbal), Gulmarg (in Baramulla) and the Gurez Valley (in Bandipora).
In all 13 districts, outdoor shops will now be open from 7am to 7pm on all days, and restaurants can offer dine-in at 50% capacity for vaccinated customers, as well as to those carrying a negative RT-PCR/RAT report not older than 48 hours.
More details here:
There will be no weekend lockdown in 13 districts – Jammu, Kathua, Samba, Poonch, Rajouri, Udhampur, Anantnag, Bandipora, Baramulla, Budgam, Ganderbal, Pulwama and Shopian. However, the daily night curfew will continue from 8 pm to 7 am: Govt of Jammu and Kashmir #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/gYXmYYaoft
— ANI (@ANI) July 4, 2021
Now give us a drum roll, ‘cause we’ve saved the best for last 😄
Uttarakhand’s famed Valley of Flowers is finally open for visitors! The lush national park, known for its dreamy scenery and rare wildlife, is allowing entry to all tourists carrying a negative RT-PCR report conducted within 72 hours. July to September is the ideal time to visit, as the valley comes alive with fresh blooms after the first monsoon showers.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Valley of Flowers is home to over 600 kinds of exotic blossoms across gentle meadows. Fifty species have been identified this season, according to forest officials, and those trekking to the park can enjoy stunning views of waterfalls, mountain streams, and birch and rhododendron forests.
Spread over 87 sq km, the Valley of Flowers is located in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district. For any COVID-related queries before a trip, visitors can contact these helplines: 9068187120, 7579004644, 7055753124, 7830839443. You can check our COVID-19 Travel Guide to know more about state policies.
P.S. India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation has increased the domestic flight cap to 65% for July. This means that more travellers will have access to flight bookings for summer holidays. To avoid last-minute price surges, we advise you to book early on ixigo!