We’ll be honest; the past is the days of unplanned holidays and short getaways. We should instead be aware that the way we think about travel is going to change drastically in the coming days. These past couple of months have forced us to be able to adapt to a variety of modifications. The “new normal,” according to the experts, has filtered into our lives. And those who travel with itchy feet wearing a mask when on the plane isn’t the only thing to do!
However, unlock 4.0 reduced travel restrictions and encouraged individuals to abandon their cities for getaways or work trips. Since work-from-home is becoming commonplace, it’s an excellent option to stay in a different location with the internet is all one requires!
Being very active on Instagram, I was able to see that many travel bloggers were heading into Goa (one among the very first few states to open to tourism) for up to a month which gave me a little hope of hitting the roads once more. While I’d been dreaming of waking up and seeing the Himalayas covered in snow, I was unsure of the conditions for Himachal or Uttarakhand at first, at least until two acquaintances (who have recently launched the homestay business in Uttarakhand) provided me with an idea of what’s happening in these states.
The Journey Begins From Delhi Through Nathuakhan, Uttarakhand
Uttarakhand removed any travel restrictions during the final week of September about COVID-19 special permits and negative certificates. The only thing that remains to be completed is signing up and obtaining an ePass through the Dehradun Smart City website before travel. Before this, you were required to reserve the minimum amount of 7 days in Uttarakhand tour packages, but this has been eliminated.
After much thought and planning for approximately one week, I decided to travel for a month and stay at the Doi Homestay located in Nathuakhan, run by Disha Kapkoti and Sambit Dattachaudhuri.
The state of Colorado is free of COVID, and as we were travelling from Delhi and Delhi, it was our duty to make sure that we wouldn’t carry the virus in our luggage! Some of my buddies were keen to escape the monotony of home, so we had an RT PCR Test done before departing (although it wasn’t required). We were all positive and, with joy in our hearts, we booked a taxi and headed off to spend a month in the beautiful Himalayas.
The distance between Delhi and Nathuakhan is about 340 kilometres (approx) that we completed in 10 hours. We did not stop at any point along the way, except five minutes of tea at Moradabad, UP. When we crossed the Uttarakhand border, there was a security post, where they demanded the ePass number and then let us in. The trip was straightforward in the taxi. But bus services haven’t returned to all regions of Uttarakhand, and it’s recommended to stay clear of local transportation. The first is that travelling on public transportation isn’t currently safe since it can increase infection. The second reason is that any other state-owned bus isn’t allowed in Uttarakhand.
If you’re travelling from a place within Uttar Pradesh and have caught the UP-State Transport bus, it will take you to near the frontier with Uttar Pradesh. It is a short walk before entering Uttarakhand and then takes another bus to travel within Uttarakhand.
The crisp mountain air was a welcome sight while we drove on the road uphill. We passed through various idyllic villages, one after the other, and we also came across some corners from which we could glimpse the majestic Himalayan snow-capped peaks! When we reached Nainital, We were amazed to find that the cafes and restaurants were accessible and the station full of activity as it has always been.
We finally reached Nathuakhan, the place we would call our home for the following 30 days!
Life at The Doi Homestay
In the Kumaon Region of Uttarakhand, located in Uttarakhand, the Doi Homestay is the ideal “home far from home.
Think about what your life would be like when you get up in the morning and think that nothing like COVID ever occurred to anyone in the world. That’s what I felt my very first day. As I left the room, my lungs were full of fresh air, and I could see considerable areas in the green and lush valley that had an awe-inspiring view of the Nanda Ghunti and Chaukhamba peaks shining in the sun. I was in the house with my friends as I embraced them however, I would like, enjoying every meal together and chatting with all of them without masks – these felt like the most amazing things ever.
The hotel is located in orchards in which the hosts cultivate pulses, fruits, and vegetables. The last time we were there, we spent the entire morning peeling and plucking Rajma beans! A friend was involved in yoga classes every morning, looking out over the Himalayas. I was at my computer while working and admiring the beauty of the world around me.
We would take random walks and play badminton in the evenings, go to movies with each other, and play games on the board at times. Sambit is a great cook and spoiled his guests with homemade pizzas and banana Nutella crepes with Banoffee Pies and pancakes. Stargazing was a regular part of our routine, and we would spend time looking at the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way while feeling the cold air.
There were moments where I thought, “Is this even real?” The past seven months in my home, with no contact with anyone and living in a virtual world, has transformed my life into something that I could never have imagined for me. Then, I wasn’t playing “Psych” on my phone or sitting in an area with a board of Scrabble with smiling faces. The time would fly by with one glance since there was plenty to do. I often wished my days were longer.
The closure forced me to realize that travelling free shouldn’t be taken to be taken for granted. Naturally, it was an absolute pleasure to travel in the post-pandemic world and accept that this is the way things will be from in the future and can travel safely with additional security. It’s now an act of thoughtfulness somewhat instead of an impulse desire.
If you’re feeling stuck in your home and want to travel, ensure that you’ve read through all the guidelines (as every state has a distinct set of rules) before planning your travel. In the end, it’s urban dwellers who carry the virus to places far from them, and we have to be accountable for our actions.