Two ancient Indian cave paintings, representative of their times, one from Ajanta and one from Badami, have made it to the Arctic World Archive. The works date back to fifth and sixth centuries.
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With a surge in the number of tourists visiting the popular destinations in West Bengal, local administrations in various parts of the state are asking local tourism stakeholders to ensure that only fully vaccinated travellers or those in possession of negative COVID-19 test reports are allowed to book hotels, lodges and homestays.
Popular destinations where the regulations have already been implemented are Darjeeling hills, Dooars, and Digha and its adjoining beaches.
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On July 13, the local administration for the Darjeeling hills and the Dooars region has made it mandatory that travellers arriving from outside West Bengal to these places must be in possession of certificate that they have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine or carrying a negative RTPCR report not older than 48 hours when they arrive.
The media quoted Darjeeling District Magistrate as saying that all stakeholders have been informed about the rules and have been asked to implement them strictly. As of now, the rules are for people arriving from outside the state and not for residents of West Bengal.
However, the Contai (Purba Medinipur) administration under whose jurisdiction lies Digha and a string of other popular beaches such as Mandarmani, Tajpur, and Shankarpur, has implemented the rules for all travellers, including those from West Bengal.
With the easing of pandemic containment regulations and the restarting of tourist buses between Kolkata and these destinations, there has been a significant influx of tourists in the first couple of weeks in July.
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The administration ruled on July 12 that only those who are in possession of certificate that they have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine or carrying a negative RT PCR or RAT report not older than 48 hours when they arrive in Digha or the nearby beaches, will be allowed to book a hotel in these seaside resorts.
Local hoteliers and others dependent on the tourism industry fear that the new rules may affect business. According to many of them, not everyone, especially those in the 18-plus category, has received the double vaccine. Also, getting the test reports can also be time consuming. The various travel and tour operators’ bodies in Darjeeling and Dooars are also awaiting clarification regarding those travellers who combine a visit to the area with a trip to Sikkim.
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