India has countless sights and experiences to offer to the intrepid traveler, but being differently abled should not stop you from experiencing them. Several hotels, monuments and heritage sites in the country have made changes or introduced new facilities in the past years to make things easier for travelers with special needs, but finding this information itself can be difficult. Many find it difficult to simply plan their trip, because finding travel information on friendly destinations can be challenging in itself. To make things simpler, here is a quick list of holiday destinations in India for the differently-abled. ALSO READ: 10 best holiday destinations in India to visit with family and kids
Taj Mahal, Agra
Lying besides the majestic and holy Yamuna River, Agra draws in millions of tourists every year because of its historic legacy. The Taj Mahal itself is a big draw, and most of this sprawling, breathtakingly beautiful mausoleum is open and accessible to visitors in wheelchairs. Travelling up the stairs within the main mausoleum itself can be difficult because of the lack of a ramp, but the rest of the area is open to admiration by one and all. Fatehpur Sikri, another major tourist attraction and a World Heritage Site, is fully accessible, with ramps at all places and information available in Braille in many spots, as well as accessible washrooms at strategic locations. It’s just that the hustle and bustle of the streets, vendors and everyone else can get maddening at times.
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Church in Goa
The beach paradise of Goa has several hotels, resorts and tourist spots that have been updated to accommodate differently abled tourists. You can find several hotels that are wheelchair-accessible and close to the pristine beaches of Vagator, Aguada, Miramar, Ashwem, Anjuna, Baga and Calangute. Caculo Mall in Panaji is very accessible to differently abled tourists, with reserved parking spots and ramps for wheelchair accessibility. Mall De Goa, Porvirim and Delfino’s in Candolim are two other places that are easily accessible. Plenty of taxis are available to roam through the streets and roads of Goa, though help would be needed to experience Goa’s popular beach shacks. ALSO READ: Family holiday destinations in India that you must explore!
Jai Vilas Palace, Gwalior
The historic city of Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh is famously disabled-friendly and barrier-free. In fact, 95 percent of the Gwalior district itself is barrier-free, which is quite an incredible feat. The city’s public spaces and historic sites are open to everyone and easily accessible to those with disabilities and travelling via public transport is relatively pain-free. And Gwalior has a lot to offer to travelers, from the magnificent Gwalior Fort, described by Mughal Emperor Babur as the “Pearl in the Necklace of Forts”, to the beautiful Sun Temple and labyrinthine Jai Vilas Palace. The Sun Temple, while relatively new, is actually a reproduction of the legendary Konark Sun Temple, with the outer facade made of red sandstone and white marble inside. The Jai Vilas Palace, meanwhile, is a unique blend of several European architectural styles, built for the decidedly Indian ruler Jayajirao Scindia of the royal Maratha Scindia dynasty.
Red Fort, Delhi
The capital city of Delhi has witnesses several efforts by the local and central government to open up to the differently abled, and it has succeeded to a large degree. Several of its local metro train stations and the trains themselves are wheelchair accessible, so public transport is not that much of a hassle. Delhi also has several heritage sites and monuments that are open, almost entirely, to the differently abled. The iconic Red Fort, for instance, has won the National Tourism Award for its facilities for those with special needs, such as ramps at all strategic locations. Connaught Place, Janpath and Akshardham Temple are wheelchair accessible almost everywhere, and so is most of the legendary Qutub Minar. While the main complex of Humayun’s Tomb is not accessible by wheelchair, the rest of its intricate, beautiful area is. You can also shop around the Dilli Haat area with ease. Traveling is best done by cab, with buses and auto-rickshaws being the last options you would want to take to explore the city.
Chinese fishing nets, Fort Kochi
The historic town of Fort Kochi is the first heritage destination in the state of Kerala to be easily accessible to the differently abled. The town has recently been updated with facilities to help people who have visual, cerebral, hearing or mobility impairments. These include slip-resistant walkways and new ramps, among others. Travelers and visitors with special needs can now explore the town and its history with greater ease and step out and experience the old days of the town without worrying about accessibility problems. And Fort Kochi has a lot of places that take you to the past. You can sit back and relax at Fort Kochi’s cafes, art galleries and libraries, like the Pepper House Café, Kashi Art Gallery and David Hall Art Gallery. The St. Francis Cathedral and Fort Immanuel give a glimpse into the region’s colonial era, as does the Thakur House and Parade Ground. The Indo-Portuguese Museum is another big draw for the history-lovers, as is the Maritime Museum. ALSO READ: Summer holiday destinations in India for solo travel
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