As I informed earlier, among us are 8 Wheelchair users, and one person with visual impairment and rest of us are persons with orthopedic impairments, using crutches etc. 4 persons with disabilities had joined us from Maharashtra among whom are three with orthopedic impairments and one with visual impairment.
After reaching few of the volunteers who are travelling with us first left the to make inquiries about our accommodation and to make arrangement for transportation. We heard that arrangement has been made within Golden Temple itself at Ma Ganga Niwas, where travelers can stay during their visit to temple.
We took various autos to reach Golden Temple and took our accommodation at Ma Ganga Niwas. After we reached Ma Ganga Niwas we learnt that there were no rooms for us but the authorities were very helpful and helped us find rooms. Though some of the rooms were in first floor there was Lift facility at the temple and throughout the temple we found ramps constructed for the benefit of persons with disabilities.
The temple was overall accessible and we had good positive experience throughout. The staffs and volunteers were very cooperative and helpful and consistently helped us throughout our stay at the Golden Temple.
Our train Akal Takht Express reached Amritsar at around 6 pm in the evening of 30th August, 2018. We all came out of the railway station, and took several autos to reach Golden Temple where we also planned to stay in guest house within the premise.
Access Check: Amritsar railway station had lift as well as ramp along with tactile markings on pathways. Overall the railway station at Amritsar provided us a smooth experience in contrast to Patna Junction, which was totally inaccessible.
Today, 29th August we began our first leg of journey towards our ambitious attempt to pursue fun filled and leisurely travel with a purpose to create awareness among few tourism authorities on the way.
Group photo of VAM accessible tourism team before boarding train
The regional media also turned up to encourage and support the manch activists.
Our team of 20 persons with disabilities supported by 10 volunteers are planning a trip to Amritsar, Jammu and eventually culminating at Vaishno Devi mandir. More than 8 members are wheelchair users. Tomorrow there is a flag off ceremony from Patna Junction in which our well wishers, Mr. Nitin Kumar, Dr. Diwakar Tejasvi, Dr. Niraj, Amit Chandra, Dhananjay Kr and others will be present during departure of train to give us support, courage and confidence to proceed further.
Train: Akal Takht Express
Venue: Patna Junction front of Reservation Counter, Mahavir mandir side
Viklang Adhikar Manch, Bihar