Konark Temple

ASI had issued an order in 2001, that all historical monuments be made accessible to persons with disabilities. In May 2001, Samarthyam conducted an access audit of Safdarjung Tomb, which also houses the office of the Superintendent Archaeologist (Delhi Circle).

The Superintendent Archaeologist admitted that ASI did not fully realize the problems faced by people with disability and also pointed out that nobody had approached them with suggestions on how accessibility should be improved. He welcomed Samarthyam’s suggestion of disabled friendly toilets. Braille information plates describing the history of the monument, facilitated by National Federation of the Blind, were mounted in December 2001.

In December 2003, ASI has offered to work hand in hand with Samarthyam to make other popular historical monuments barrier free. There should be partnership, a shared responsibility, with individuals and NGOs, in ensuring that Government and relevant agencies are made aware of their specific needs and requirements.

On 25th January 2004, Samarthyam was invited to provide inputs in making Janter Manter (heritage monument) barrier free. All these efforts have received a great deal of positive media coverage with regular articles in all of India’s daily national newspapers. The result is an overall increased awareness of the issue of accessibility within the community, the commercial sector and with in Government.

Braille Plates being mounted at Safdarjung Tomb, New Delhi
Braille Plates being mounted at Safdarjung Tomb, New Delhi

In 2008, Samarthyam was invited to vet the plan of Qutub Minar and provide recommendations for universal accessibility. Currently, Samarthyam is working to promote accessibility in world heritage sites and ticketed monuments of East and South India

Konark Temple
Konark Temple

In 2012, Samarthyam has initiated project with the ASI Delhi and Odisha Circle to promote universal accessible features. In Odisha, Konark (Sun) Temple which is a World Heritage Site and 10 key temples are access audited. ASI and other concerned agencies are involved in implementing access audit report recommendations for making these temples accessible

Samarthyam has partnered with UNESCO and ASI to make the World Heritage Monuments accessible for all. With Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment’s support, Samarthyam has access audited Humayun’s Tomb. UNESCO and ASI is working to make the site barrier free and improving access for people with disabilities and reduced mobility.