5 Disabled – Friendly Holiday Destinations in India
Is it 1/3rd of my social circle, or am I getting married, 1/3rd is starting a family, and everyone else is holidaying? Why wasn’t the memo sent to me too? I want to holiday again. But then, truth be told, how many holiday stations are disabled friendly? How will I travel to these places and access the essential amenities needed for people like me to enjoy these fantastic places and structures that boast our heritage?
So, let me start by telling you what my ‘basic amenities’ could be? Let me rephrase this, actually – imagine you have to go shopping for an outfit for an office party, what would you do? You would go to a few retail stores, try a few pieces, click selfies, share with friends and family, get approvals, and buy what you need, right? It doesn’t require much planning, but I have to verify if these shopping places have elevators and ramps before any of these steps. Then only can I think of stepping out?
So, a few questions disabled people need to check for before making travel plans are
- Is the place Disable friendly
- Are the airways supportive of the disabled?
- In case the destination is not accessible through the air, is the train journey disable friendly?
- Are wheech chairs, ramps, and elevators available for transfers?
- Will the places have trained guides in case one has a hearing disability?
- Are wheelchairs available for hire?
- Are the hotels disability-friendly?
I have found a few places that give a green signal on all the checkboxes.
1. KERALA = GOD’S OWN COUNTRY
Kerala’s Kochi Fort in Ernakulam was declared as the first disabled-friendly heritage site in India in 2016. The fort provides facilities for disabilities such as visual, hearing, mobility, or cognitive impairments. The defense has specifically designed ramps with anti-skid tiles on all walkways to help the disabled and even senior citizens. Another tourist village in Kerala, Akkulam, is the second phase of development to become a disabled-friendly destination. The state aspires to become the first accessible tourist destination in India.
DELHI = THE HEART OF THE COUNTRY
It started with Stephen Hawkings’ visit to the capital in 2001. He expressed his desire to visit historical and scientific places of heritage, including the Jantar Mantar, Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb, and the Red Fort. Temporary ramps were built, for him which has now diversified to all significant historical places in the city
The city has also boasted of disabled-friendly hotels with the right amenities. The Delhi Metro is a remarkable feat in this regard too. All metro stations across the city and NCT are wheelchair accessible, have elevators and ramps. They also have braille notices, specific tiles and tactile markings, and designated spots for wheelchair access.
BENGALURU = THE SILICON VALLEY OF INDIA
Did you know that The Summer Palace of Tipu Sultan was the first Archaeological survey of an Indian monument in the state made disabled-friendly? The memorial has a Braille brochure, signboards, and a tactile pathway between the palace gate and unique provision bathrooms.
BHOPAL = CITY OF LAKES & THE LAND OF SANCHI STUPA
This famous monument is ornamented with a tactile walkway for the visually impaired, there are also information plaques in Braille, and the path is also wheelchair accessible. The Sanchi Stupa distributes beepers and Braille maps in ensuring visitors’ safety. However, the highlight remains that the authorities have trained their staff to assist disabled tourists.
AGRA : HOME TO ONE OF THE SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD
At an international level, the Taj Mahal represents India and its heritage. As one of the Seven Wonders of the World, it is no surprise that the city, especially the Taj Mahal, is disabled friendly.
There is a wheelchair facility available at Taj, golf carts are accessible for disabled tourists, to ferry them even to the other tourist around the Diwan-e-Aam, or the open courtyard. With the famous shrine of the Sufi saint Salim Chishti, Fatehpur Sikri is another monument in Agra that has ramps, Braille signboards, exclusive bathrooms, and ticket counters, and a defined route along with dedicated parking.
Fun Fact: Nearly 2.1% of the population has some disability. Is the world inclusive enough for them? Can people like me visit more places like these and click selfies for Instagram?
I wish we could