Travelling for differently-abled people is no walk in the park. Whether one is wheelchair bound, old or incapacitated due to any reason, it is hard to navigate the world that is not built keeping in mind the needs of people with special requirements. Many stigmas and myths are tied to wheelchairs that the people in them pull along everywhere they go. Fortunately, thanks to increasing awareness, tourism is well on its way to becoming considerate and wheelchair-friendly! In 2016, the Archaeological Survey of India recognized around 50 sites with high footfall where measures to make them disabled-friendly were taken. Here are a few of them:
Kerala: Kochi Fort was the very first tourist spot in India to be declared disabled-friendly in the year 2016. Kerala Tourism took the steps in the right direction with the introduction of specially crafted ramps and non-slippery tiles to aid the differently-abled and elderly to move comfortably. Self-functioning ramps, special restrooms in hotels and even special houseboats were later introduced by Kerala Tourism.
Goa: Goa’s Candolim Beach was the first wheelchair-friendly beach in India! Not only that, but Candolim Beach also hosted a wheelchair-accessible beach festival that included activities like Aquatic Beach Chair, wheelchair cricket, kite-flying, beach bowling and so on. Goa is equipped with a wheelchair user’s guide that has 35 hotels, popular tourist hotspots and restaurants.
Delhi: Delhi’s monuments including the Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb, and others are well-equipped with ramps. Places like the Indian Air Force Museum and the National Gallery of Modern Art along with open-air spaces like Dilli Haat also have ramps all over.
Odisha: Tourist spots like temples usually remain jam packed, which makes it very difficult for the wheelchair users to visit. The elderly and the differently-abled devotees can make ‘parikrama’ of Odisha’s Jagannath temple in a wheelchair. The Golden Beach of Odisha proudly holds a blue flag for cleanliness and for being disabled-friendly.
Agra: It is no secret that Agra is one of the most important tourist destinations in India. And to make it disabled-friendly, authorities have installed ramps at Taj Mahal. Places like Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri offer wheelchairs and golf carts to people who need it, with the latter also being equipped with Braille boards.