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Archaeological Survey of India breaks barrier to make monuments disabled-friendly

Wed, 07/18/2012 - 17:21 -- admin

Monuments like Aga Khan palace, Shaniwarwada, and Raigad fort will be among the first to have ramps, wheelchairs and information boards in Braille. They will become barrier-free allowing the disabled to access them, according to an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) plan.
The effort includes nine ticketed heritage structures in the Mumbai circle, an ASI official said. Audio-guide tours, a recorded spoken commentary about the history, art and architecture of the monument through a handheld device for the visually impaired have been proposed for monuments including Ajanta and Ellora in Aurangabad, a senior ASI official from Delhi, said.
Ramps and accessible toilets for the differently abled have already been provided in the Ellora caves, a World Heritage Monument. "Ramps for easy access to Persons with Disabilities (PwD) have been built outside caves 16, 5 and 29 of Ellora caves. A separate toilet block for PwDs, with a ramp outside has also been constructed," an official from ASI's Aurangabad circle said.
A site management plan for Ajanta and Ellora is currently being drafted by consultants. "Pamphlets describing the monument will be printed in Braille for Ajanta, Ellora and other monuments in Aurangabad. Accessible toilet blocks, signages and guidebooks in Braille for monuments have been proposed," the official added.
Another official from the ASI's Aurangabad circle said that since Ajanta caves are on a high terrain with undulating surface and ramps were not possible. "We have a 'doli' system here for the differently abled as well as accessible toilets. Audio-guide tours will also happen," he said.
A site management plan currently being prepared by different ASI circles in the country, has an elaborate section on 'pedestrian access', making the major areas of a monument easily accessible to all persons, including the differently abled.
ASI's Mumbai circle has already constructed a ramp outside the main Elephanta Caves off Mumbai. "The information board bearing the monument's description is also in Braille.

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