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Visitors experience life without vision at a dark village museum in western India

041415-darkSTORY: A village museum in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad offers an insight into the lives of the visually impaired people.

Completely dark, the visitors can’t roam around the specially recreated village without the help of the visually impaired people who act as guides.

Opened on Monday (April 13), the village-themed pavilion with thatched roof huts, trees, bullock carts, well and a temple with sculptures of gods and goddess is designed to give lifetime experience to normal people to live life in complete darkness.

The visitors are left to explore the village for 15 minutes.

An Italian architect Paola Manzo, who has extended her support to the Blind People’s Association (BPA) in this project, described it as another world of blindness.

“Here you have to take into account many things, you have to be careful of many things. Architecture has to be like very close to people, close to their problems. So it’s challenging. It’s a great opportunity to learn, you learn a lot from them. You learn and understand there is another world and blindness is another world but you can live peacefully and live a good life,” said Manzo.

Visitors were amazed as they could relate themselves with the people without vision.

“We experience this for the first time that for 15-20 minutes we have to explore in complete darkness. We have to experience and sense everything without light. This gives a peg of reality that how visually impaired live their daily life, how much difficulties they face and how they live their life,” said a visitor, Rashi Kotak.

The project ‘Vision in the Dark’ has been sponsored by Union Bank of India.

The museum has two pavilions, including theatre and restaurant. The museum also has night vision CCTV cameras.

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