Travel lover Krishnakumar refuses to give up his passion despite inaccessible tourist destinations
Holiday season is round the corner and everyone is gearing up for a vacation. Krishnakumar PS, an ardent traveller and disability rights activist from Kerala points out that most of the tourist locations in not just Kerala, but across India still remains largely inaccessible. He has a few tips for wheelchair users who are planning vacations with family and friends.
The holiday season is round the corner and everyone is getting ready to pack their bags for a vacation. When you are a person with a disability, especially someone with mobility issues, travelling can be difficult.
However, Kerala disability rights activist Krishnakumar PS, who is a wheelchair user, refuses to let that come in the way and has travelled extensively across God's Own Country. A few months ago, he also visited Mysuru in neighbouring Karnataka.
Krishna travels everywhere with his mother and cousins. He does one-day trips mostly with friends. A nature lover, Krishna loves to explore places that are green. Kerala remains a favourite.
The only place that I have not visited in Kerala is Idukki and I'am unable to go there due to high altitudes and cold weather. I can easily have physical issues. Apart from that, I have visited every other place across the state. After my recent visit to Mysore, I realised that whether it is Kerala or Karnataka, tourist places still remain largely inaccessible and are not disabled-friendly at all. - Krishnakumar PS.
A few Kerala-based NGOss and disability rights activists have teamed up with the state government to launch Breaking the Barrier. This is a tourism project which aims to make tourist destinations across the state disabled-friendly. Krishna hopes this will change the scenario for disabled people in a few years. "Until seven years back, all the places were inaccessible for people with all kinds of disabilities. But slowly, a change could be witnessed with officials being a little more sensitive", he says.
His tips for a disabled traveller would be to be prepared in all possible ways and get help if needed.
"Kerala is known for Alleppy backwaters, but even that is not wheelchair friendly. I feel 70% places are accessible. But that is not enough. There is still a long way to go", says Krishna who is planning for a trip to North India next. "From the research that I have done, I understand that tourist places in north India are not any different, including the Taj Mahal, so a lot of planning is needed". He is happy that like in railway stations at Ernakulam and Trivandrum, Kollum will also introduce portable ramps.
Bijumon K, Krishna's cousin, is his constant companion in all travels. "It is disheartening to see the government not do anything to make places accessible. I know a lot of disabled people who wants to get out of their homes and travel independently. But they are unable to do it without help. It gets even more difficult if it is a girl who has a disability. It is high time that the government steps up and does something about it", says Biju.