When i came to know that Delhi Tourism had started a new initiative to discover Delhi by a special fleet of cushy, comfortable AC buses with the HoHo ( Hop on Hop Off) theme i decided to take this trip as i wanted my daughters to get acquainted with Delhi. We had taken trips to the tourist spots in Delhi when they were very young and i wanted them to relive those memories.
You can book your tickets online from the Delhi Tourism website but they are easily available at their office at Baba Kharak Singh Marg, right in front of the State Emporiums.
The first bus leaves at 8 pm. We reached Baba Kharak Singh Marg at 7.30 a. m. As we walked towards the office, we are awe struck by a beautiful tableau on the pavement.
On reaching the office we were pleasantly surprised to see that it was already open. We handed our tickets and got our boarding passes. The GREs in their smart uniforms welcomed us inside the bus.The bus stocks bottles of water so every time your bottle is empty you can buy it from the next bus. Make sure you keep your boarding passes safe as the GRE will check them every time you board a HoHo bus.
. We were given a colorful brochure detailing the entire route of the HoHo buses. There are 19 HoHo stops throughout the day but is it physically impossible to over all. Soon more visitors joined us and at sharp 8 am we left for our first destination Red Fort. As the bus travels through the roads of Delhi, the GREs inform you about the well known landmarks on both sides of the road. Moving towards the Red Fort we passed the famous Digamabr Jain Bird Hospital next to the compound of the Digambar Jain Temple
Run by the legendary Aggarwal Digambar jain Hospital, it has separate wards in form of cages for different species of wounded birds like sparrows, parrots, domestic fowls or pigeons. it also has a research laboratory and an even an ICU. After treatment the birds are released.
Alighting forn the HoHo bus for our first venue the Red Fort we passed across banners depicting the Ram Lila as it was Navratri time.
We passed by the famous Ram Lila grounds next to the Red Fort.
The REd Fort was built in 1648 by Shahjahan the Miughal King who also built the famous Taj Mahal.The Mughal Royal family lived here and it served as their capital until 1857, when bahadur Shah Zafar was executed by the British.
We entered the Red Fort form the Lahore Gate.
As we walked in, we saw the Diwani-i am
where the King held his public court siting on this throne. The curtain in front of his throne is still intact today. Next was the Khas Mahal
where special gatherings were held. Beyond that were the bathing rooms,
the water from which filtered to the Mahals to keep them cool.
The second venue was Raj Ghat, the memorial of Gandhiji. Rajghat marks the spot of Mahatma Gandhiji's cremation on January 31, 1948.
At every venue there is a special HoHo stop where the Bus halts and in order to catch the bus, all you have to do is wait at he stop where every half an hour the bus arrives to pick up tourists.
You can Hop on, Hop off from any venue depending on the time you want to spend there and plan you own custom itinery as per your liking.
Inside the Raj Ghat you have to remove your shoes.
The memorial has an epitaph 'Hey Ram' (meaning Oh God) which were Mahatma Gandhi's last words when he was assassinated. The site also has a museum dedicated to the memory of Mahatma Gandhi.
There is a Red Cross stall inside the Memorial to take care of any emergencies.
Our third stop was at Natiuonal Gallery of Modern Art. Located in Jaipur House, former residence of the erstwhile Maharaja of Jaipur, has the most significant collection of modern and contemporary art in the country.
As we walked from the HoHo stop towards the main gate we saw beautiful banners on the boundary wall of the Gallery.
Once inside the grounds there were interesting sculptures in metal and stone.
As i clicked a couple of photographs inside the reception,
i was politely told by the security that photography is not allowed inside. This was my first ever visit to an Art Gallery and i was taken by surprise at the elegance and world class standard of the the place. We visited the cafeteria which though clean and spacious was not very well stocked, but had a few basic snacks and soft drinks.
Our next stop was at India Gate. Designed by Edwyn Lutyens in 1931, this 42 meter high monument was erected as a memorial in honor of the Indian and British soldiers who lost their lives during World War1 and the Afghan war, 1919. The names of the 13516 martyrs are inscribed on this monument.
Our fifth stop was at Puran Quila (Old Fort)
It is one of the oldest monuments in Delhi and was built at the site of the ancient city of Indraprastha founded by the Pandavas some 5000years ago. Later at the same site, Mughal emperors Sher Shah Suri and Humayun built their citadels during the sixteenth century.
A welcome booth outside the Purana Quila.
The second part of my trip is covered in part 2. Watch out for some more fun!