Blind French tourists get a feel of India
If not the sights, the sounds of Rajasthan certainly came alive for a group of visually impaired tourists from France who got a feel of the desert state's cuisine, culture and crafts during their visit here.
The 11 visually impaired tourists were amongst a group of 24 travelling through north India in a two-week trip organised by the Accueil Ile De France, an association that was formed 20 years ago with the aim of planning global trips for the blind.
After an extensive tour of Rajasthan visiting all the tourist hotspots like Jodhpur, Udaipur and Pushkar, the group will now head for the city of the Taj, Agra in Uttar Pradesh.
Coordinator of the trip Benoit Zermoe Tessier said members of the group appreciated the feel of Indian culture and had a great time visiting the state's many monuments and palaces.
They found Indian music lively, in comparison to European music, which is mostly pre-recorded, he said.
"The tourists appreciated the feel of the carpets and silk in a carpet factory they visited. They admired the continuity of past and present of Indian culture," Tessier said.
A local tour guide said the visitors were entranced by the monuments and listened attentively as he explained the history and legends behind each place they visited.
Food was the other major attraction. "In our cuisine, vegetables are boiled but here it is so spicy, so different. I just love it," said one of the tourists.
The visitors want to come back to India, but this time visit the southern part of the country.
The visually impaired tourists work with the French government or as physiotherapists. Several live on their own.
The Accueil Ile De France has a membership of around 100. Any visually impaired person who wants to travel can register and travel through it. This was the first time that the association had organised an India tour.