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Eightythree-year-old Karuppan has never been outside his village Karassery in north Kerala. But he along with about 80 other senior citizens have now embarked on a journey to see the Taj Mahal. The elders, in the age group of 65-85, yesterday boarded the Nizamuddin-Mangala express from Kozhikode, to see one of the wonders of the world, built by Mughal emperor Shahjehan as a tribute to his wife Mumtaz Mahal. The 81 elders, including 33 women, are on a mission to see the Taj, Red Fort and other places of historical importance, says V K Vinod, Karassery Panchayat President. This is the first time any local body in Kerala has undertaken such a mission outside the state. "These days we mostly hear about children abandoning their aged parents or sending them to old age homes, Vinod, who is accompanying the team, told PTI. "We want to make our panchayat an elderly friendly village", he said. Pennuty (85) said they were happy to undertake the trip to Delhi to see the monuments about which "we had read when we were in school", while Moidu said "we never thought we will be able to undertake such a trip". Sixty eight year old Kora, a tribal, also is part of the group. According to Abdulla Kumaranellur, Standing Chairman of the Panchayat, this was a promise Karassery panchayat in Kohzikode district had made to the people that if the Left Front was voted to power they would be taken to Delhi to visit the Taj and other monuments. "These people have never been even outside Kozhikode district", Abdulla said. Last year, the elders from the panchayat were taken to Kozhikode and visited the ancient port town of Beypore, the sea and the beach. The all-expenses-paid trip is being met by a private group, he said.
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