I first travelled to India in January 2012, a friend who I have known for many years and lived locally was a native of Tamil Nadu. She ran a charity called “Curry Aid” which supports orphaned children in a home near Kodaikanal.
It was a roller coaster of a trip full of excitement and emotion and it was then that I fell in love with India and its people.
In February 2016 I was involved in serious accident whilst working as a traffic officer, an accident which would leave me paralysed from the chest down. Upon leaving hospital I was determined to continue travelling and in particular I wanted to return to India.
This was something which having travelled there before I thought given the difficulty in getting around in a wheelchair and what I believed would be the lack of disabled facilities was only a pipe dream.
I then discovered the wonderful “Neha” at “Planet abled” and with specific requirements an itinerary was drawn up.
Neha asked every possible question about my condition and limitations, she personally checked out all of the accommodation and employed a driver who would stay with us throughout what turned out to be a road trip covering almost five hundred miles across southern India.
Upon landing at Cochin we were met by our driver “Kaleesh” he would very soon become a great friend and asset to our trip. We transferred to a CGH earth property “Brunton boatyard” in cochin to start our adventure. We were immediately impressed by the facilities at Brunton Boatyard and the staff could not do more to make sure our stay was perfect.
The following day we had a guided tour around this part of Cochin taking in the Chinese fishing nets and other wonderful sights brought to life by our very knowledgeable guide and of course Kaleesh!
Our next stop was only a couple of hours away at “Coconut Lagoon” where although I didn’t think it was possible the staff manged to transfer me on to a house boat for a day cruising the back waters of Kerela. My wife and I had a wonderful day with excellent food cooked by our onboard chef.
From there we drove to “Spice village” taking in the sights along the way accompanied by Kaleesh pointing out all aspects of Indian life. Rest stops were frequent and the places were always clean and we were welcomed with drinks, I love the Indian coffee.
We visited a spice farm and stocked up on spices for home cooking once back in the UK.
Driving through towns and country we passed tea plantations on our way to the hill station of Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu, so far the trip had been wonderful and the three CGH earth properties chosen by Neha had been some of the best places that we had stayed anywhere in the world.
We spent almost a week with friends in Kodaikanal always accompanied by Kaleesh for who nothing was to much trouble, he really became part of the family.
We visited local landmarks, had picnics in the park, went shopping and had lovely meals at the Carlton hotel where we were staying.
Having left the “family of our hearts” in Kodaikanal it was time to head back toward Cochin, first revisiting “Spice Village” before heading the another and in my opinion the best CGH earth property on our trip “Marari beach”
Set on the coast the sunsets are wonderful and as with all of the places we stayed for the staff nothing is to much trouble and as a wheelchair user there is always someone to help if needed.
It must be stated that India is not the easiest place to get around in a wheelchair and in the grounds of some of the properties it can be a bit challenging. But, help is always at hand both from the staff in the resorts and even complete strangers if out and about, this is one reason that I love India so much.
Neha and the team at “Planet abled” made my dream of returning to India a reality, their attention to detail and commitment to our wellbeing and enjoyment could not have been better.
I would thoroughly recommend them to anybody and we are already making plans to return again.
– Lord P. Holroyd
Paul Holroyd was a Highways England traffic officer who was victim to a near-fatal motor accident in 2016 on an expressway while at work. It rendered him paralysed chest down. But didn’t deter him from travelling the world like he used to earlier. He travelled to India in early 2020 with his wife, for the first time after becoming a wheelchair user. The trip was curated by Planet Abled.