How to Travel Safely to Uttarakhand during Covid Times

| LATEST UPDATE (Sept 23rd, 2020):

The Uttarakhand government has announced that tourists and trekkers do not need a COVID negative certificate to enter the state any more. They don’t need any proof of hotel bookings either. Here is the government circular for your reference.

All you have to do is fill this form and continue as usual with your travel plan.

September 17th:

Today, I’m sharing with you a comprehensive guide to travel to Uttarakhand during these COVID times.

After I sent my newsletter last week, I realised that trekkers had been on their toes, waiting for Indiahikes to reopen trekking in a safe way. There’s been a sudden rush of registrations, emails and phone calls, with trekkers sounding out their worries to us.

In this post, I’m going to clarify everything you need to know about travelling to Uttarakhand during COVID times.

The Documents Required by the Uttarakhand State Government

There is just one extra step you have to take outside of the regular travel to Uttarakhand.

And that is to fill this form, which requires some basic travel information from you. The form is pretty straight forward and requires your address proof.

Your Flying Experience to Uttarakhand

If you’re flying to Dehradun, things are mildly different from pre-COVID times.

Here too, I want to share some tips with you, based on the experiences of three of my colleagues who have flown from Mumbai, Kolkata and Ranchi.

1. Reach the airport at least 2 hours in advance. This is important because of all the processes the airlines have to go through — sanitizing your bag, giving you Covid safety kits, etc.

2. Download the Aarogya Setu app on your phone. You’re required to show a “green signal” that you’re safe on the app when you’re at the airport.

3. The earlier you check in, the better, to get the right seats. Anyone sitting in the middle seat has to wear a PPE kit. If you’d like to avoid that, make sure you check in at the earliest. The check-in starts 48 hours before the time of flight with most airlines.

4. Take a screenshot of your boarding pass and use it wherever you need to show it. You don’t need to open it from your mail again and again.

5. Most airlines have increased the weight of the allowed check-in baggage. Check with your airline in advance so that you can pack accordingly.

6. Carry your own comfortable mask and sanitizer. Every passenger is given a kit with a mask, a face shield and some sanitizer, but the mask they give can be suffocating, it’s best if you have your own, a mask that you are used to wearing.

7. Take home-cooked food in your own cutlery and eat at the airport before boarding. Avoid eating in the flight, it’s best not to take off your mask and face shield while flying, since you’re in close proximity with many people.

8. Use the washrooms at the airport and avoid the in-flight washroom.

9. While boarding and de-boarding, do not rush. The airline will also encourage you to keep distance as you move out. Follow that.

If You’re Not Flying to Dehradun

There are three options you have:

Your best option would be to bring your own car or take a cab. 

There’s enough parking space at the base camps. But this could turn out to be pretty expensive. (If you’re going to Brahmatal or Deoriatal, our team can help you with private cabs from Dehradun airport to Rishikesh. Just get in touch with your Trek Coordinator for this.)

Your next option is to take a train. 

The Jan Shatabdi and Nanda Devi Express (renamed as Kota DDN Special) are both running. If you’re travelling by train, make sure you take your own food and blanket for the train journey. The pantries are not functional and they are not giving sheets to passengers. Avoid touching anything in the train.

Train Schedule

Your third option would be to take a bus. 

A few of my colleagues have taken overnight buses over the past few weeks and had a safe experience. The seat next to them was empty. They also travelled by non-AC buses for better air circulation. Of course, here too, always have your mask on and keep a sanitizer handy.

| Note: Whether you’re travelling by car, train or bus, the rules are the same. You need to fill up the form on the Dehradun Smart City websiteKeep in mind that there are several check posts on all highways in and around Uttarakhand checking for this.

If you’re travelling by your own vehicle or a cab, account for the extra time that it’s going to take at these check posts. According to our latest reports, there is a lot of traffic on the highways as well. So keep around 2-3 extra hours for your travel.

Returning to Your State

Every state has its own set of regulations when people are re-entering. Make sure you read up on your own state’s regulations before entering, the same way that you’re checking the requirements of Uttarakhand.

In Conclusion

Outside of small changes, travelling has almost returned to how it used to be pre-COVID times. Whether we like it or not, it has almost become like COVID is part of our lives.

While you are on the trek, we have our 31-point safety check in place. You’re in safe hands.

But while you’re travelling, a lot of the onus is on you to stay safe and keep others around you safe. I hope you always wear your mark, sanitize your hands and follow social distancing norms while travelling.

If you have any doubts, drop in a comment below. We’ll help you out.


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40 thoughts on “How to Travel Safely to Uttarakhand during Covid Times

  1. So if you are travelling to Uttarakhand with covid negative certificate ,you don’t need to quarantine yourself,? You can directly travel to base camp on the day you land?

    1. Finally some good news arrived. Thank you Indiahikes for starting trekking in Uttarakhand.
      This also helps many people including local vendors near these trekking spots along with our trekkers. In this current situations. There are some limited treks available with limited resources. This initiative will be very helpful for our trekking community. This is also great example for ‘Vocal for local’.
      Glad to be part of Indiahikes Indiahikes community.

    2. Sir, I m Shobha main janana chati hu ki Delhi se Dehradun ane ke liye bus direct available h y Uttarakhand border per bus change krni h

    1. Hi Rahul, thank you for pointing that out. 🙂 It is true that the Uttarakhand govt is accepting TrueNat tests as well. But for safety’s sake, the RT-PCR test is a lot more reliable. We would recommend that over the TrueNat test.

  2. Hi Swati,
    You have mentioned that the we can enter Uttarakhand within 96 hours of our covid test, but on going through the Uttarakhand tourism website, it says that a person has to enter within 72 hours. Can you please clarify this.

  3. Swathi, this article of yours is profound and writ large! Appreciate!
    This is what makes IndiaHikes stand different from others.
    Thanks for what you all have been doing to make treks more safe.

  4. I am resident of Dehradun Uttarakhand.If I go outside of Uttarakhand (going to non high load city)and come back at Dehradun in 7 days.What is procedure.Covid report required ? Quarrantine required ?

    1. Hi Rajan, it would be best if you can check with your local authorities. We know details about non-residents of Dehradun. But for residents, the rules might be slightly different. IF you find out, we’d love to know the rules as well.

  5. In Mysore u meed to be referred by govt appointed dr to get rt pcr done at govt hospitals free of bost. Ref. will not be given to asymptomatic and for screening purposes. Private hospital charges r high.

    1. So it means one has 4 days to enter in Uttarakhand from the time report has been issued not the sample given. Someone raised this doubt,hence clarifying.

      1. I have entered Uttarakhand with a RT-PCR negative report and staying in our own home in Sattal. We were intercepted and checked atleast 3 times on the way. What’s the rule to move inter district? We want to go and stay in Binsar for a couple of days. Do I need to do a re-registration for inter-district option on the smart city portal???

  6. Fantastic guidelines.
    Dear Sir,
    I am now retired after a long service as Finance Head of two State Govt organisations in Bangalore. Now I am 73years old, hale abd healthy. I have been travelling to since late eighties Hardwar, Rishikesh and up the mountain to Badrinath temple and around since 2014( three visits to Badri). In last December(pre covid time) also I was at Rishikesh and Hardwar, traveled by Airlines upto Dehradun. I have now urge avain to visit these hollowed places alone. Can you please help me with your advice?

    1. Dear sir, it’s wonderful that you’d like to visit the foothills again. But since COVID is affecting those above 60 more strongly, I would suggest waiting for a few months before heading out. Life has not yet returned to normal in places like Rishikesh and Haridwar. So it would be best to wait until March, April to head back. After that, you can go back to Dehradun by air, as you have done before. 🙂

  7. What if someone living in dehradun, has to go trekking or hiking in some other district. I mean inter-district leisure transport. What formalities need to be done ?

  8. This seems such a hassle.. For a family of 6 extra cost of test is 15000 rs ! Best stay home and walk around the fabulous monument parks we have here.

    1. Hi Prathik, that’s not true at all! You can go to a government hospital and get it done for free. Over 15 of us went to the government hospital here in Bangalore and we didn’t have to pay a penny. It’s completely hassle-free. All you need to do is go in non-crowded hours (before 10 am is what we recommend).

  9. The form you have to fill for the uttarakhand government in column 3 requires a covid negtive report. You are saying this is not required. What is the status

      1. It’s still not updated. They are still asking for covid reports while registering. Let me know how to register with out covid report?

    1. Hi Sarvesh, you’ll get a registration ID once you sign up, you can download that and keep a copy of it on your phone. That should be enough. The end page looks something like this:

    1. Hi Samvesh, this depends on which state you’re travelling from. You will have to check in your state what the rules are. It differs from state to state.

  10. Can we enter without covid negative report to uttarakhand from karnataka?. is instituational quarantine mandatory for everyone ? .

    1. Hi Nishant, you can enter the state without a COVID certificate. You will not have to quarantine yourself. They have completely opened up travel now.

  11. Covid 19 test report price is still very high even if we are charged 980 INR for an individual and the family is traveling with 5-6 members, it will cost us around 6000 INR which is very expensive than what we would spend on accommodation, tours, and ticket pricing. It is easy to say that if we have a Negative test report will make the job easier but just imagine how a common man would be able to afford such tests.

    If these tests are mandatory then, the states which are enforcing Covid regulations as per the state that it stands to differ from the other, then they should do it for free and not charge an amount for testing. Why can’t the Government spend some money on tests for people touring their states?

    Just think this report is valid for 4 days thereafter when you return back to your homes, there would be another set of rules to enter your own state where you live so another 6000 INR.

    Every state government wants to earn revenue from we tourists and still don’t care about getting Covid tests for free.

    Hope the country’s think tank is reading this and I urge you to take this important step if you want tourists to travel hassle-free to your states.