In the last week of July, 30-odd cyclists will be pedalling from Manali to the Khardungla Pass in Ladakh.
The motley group, which includes people who are visually impaired and a couple of amputees, will be led by Divyanshu Ganatra, who runs Adventure Beyond Barriers (ABB), a company that offers para-sailing and other extreme activities for those with physical disabilities.
Ganatra, who has been visually impaired since the age of 19, has not let that stop him from travelling or taking part in adventure activities. He is one among many now helping Cox and Kings curate accessible holidays for people with disabilities.Customised experiences
Launched in Delhi, Enable Travel, as Cox and Kings is calling its path-breaking ‘accessible holiday’ initiative, will offer customised travel experiences in 14 Indian cities, to begin with.
From the ramparts of the Red Fort in Delhi to the azure beaches of Goa, it promises to bring beautiful destinations within the reach of the disabled with the help of collapsible ramps, specialised wheelchairs, customised vehicles and trained escorts.
Enable Travel has been designed and curated with the help of experienced travellers such as ABB’s Ganatra, Rustom Irani, a wheelchair-bound film-maker, Prabal Malakar, a former group captain affected by multiple sclerosis, Alim Chandani, Associate Vice-President at Centum Learning, who has a hearing impairment, and Shama Noorani, a PR consultant.
None of them has let their disabilities stop them from travelling. If Chandani has travelled to 44 countries, Malakar says that although he has moved from the MiG-25 to a wheelchair, he is covering more ground now than ever before.
According to Karan Anand, Head, Relationships, Cox & Kings, Enable Travel will cater to the 2.2 per cent of the population that is estimated to suffer from some disability, as well as international visitors.
It took Cox & Kings nine months to design the accessible holiday experience with a lot of the equipment having to be imported. The company has invested in special wheelchairs that can cleave through water, and hiking chairs for the disabled.
Asked about the investments that have been made in the initiative, all that Debolin Sen, head of Enable Travel, says is: “It was a lot of emotional investment.”
Sen adds that the division is working on many plans, including marathons for the disabled, hikes and treks, and even scuba diving.