Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rediscovering Delhi the HoHo Way 2

 In the second part of this post we started with our next stop which was Humayun's Tomb.  The Humayun's Tomb is a complex set of buildings  built by the Mughal emperor's wife Haji Begum1565 AD.It was the first garden-tomb build in the Indian subcontinent. Humayun's Tomb was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993.

One of the monuments inside the complex.


The tomb.

 As we moved from Humayun's tomb towards our next destination, a sudden flight of birds caught my attention and  i clicked this picture from the travelling bus.

Our next  stop was Lotus Temple

The Lotus Temple is one of the most remarkable architectures of the Bahai faith built in 1986. The temple looks like a lotus flower and is made of marble, cement, dolomite and sand.It is among the most visited monuments in India.  There are no restrictions for visitors and the temple is open to people from all religions.

The beautiful gardens leading up to the temple

It was approcahing Lunch time and we headed for the hub of Delhi, our next stop,  Malls of  Saket.

Saket the hub of malls boasts of some of the finest mall complexes in Delhi It provides a unique shopping and leisure environment. We headed straight for the Food court on the second floor and enjoyed  a mix of Italian and  Chinese. For once we skipped window shopping in this out of the world Mall with amazing shops,  from branded goods to home decor to exquisitely crafted jewelery,  as we had to board the bus for our next destination.

It was now time to visit the most loved landmark of Delhi, the Qutab Minar

Qutab Minar is the world's tallest brick minaret it is one of the earliest and most prominent examples of Indo-Islamic architecture. It is made of fluted red sandstone and is covered with intricate carvings and verses from the Quran.

Inside the complex, the famous Iron Pillar

A stone structure inside the Qutab Minar.

in Mehrauli.

Our last stop was at Dilli Haat.  

Dilli Haat is an upmarket version of a traditional Indian village or rural market. It is a Mecca for craftsmen selling Indian handicrafts and ethnic wear. It is a popular hub both with the foreign tourists and Indians.

Dancers inside the venue

Painted terracota items on dispaly

Appparels and shawls

Bamboo items

More artifacts on sale

Bottles of Coke, the official  partner of CWG 2010 were given complimentary to visitors at Dilli Haat

One of the many food stalls from the different cuisines insdie Dilli Haat

As we travelled in Delhi, the city  wore a spruced up  festive look, thanks to the crores spent to give a new lease of life to the capital, due to CWG 2010. Everywhere around  Delhi the Games banners  accompanied us,  a reminder of the variety of  action taking place at different venues. The youth volunteers in their red track suits with white jackets were omnipresent. As we reached Baba Kharak  Singh Marg the whole pavement of the Emporiums was beautifully lit up and there was a live dance performance. The spectators jostled with each other to get a view of the free entertainment , a part of the Incredible India  campaign , in keeping  with the spirit of CWG 2010. The HoHo Bus which was launched on Sep 23 with an eye of CWG delgates was commercially  opened on Oct 1 for the general public. At a cost of Rs 300 per person it is a wonderful way to discover our very own Dilli. At the end of it all i was so proud of the city and thankful to Delhi Tourism for making this possible, all in a day

Thus came the end of my HoHo journey.  We managed to cover a significant  number of venues .  I was bone tired by the time we reached home but it was a great way to show my daughters the heritage and culture of Delhi. Having spent 15 hours experiencing the spirit of Delhi all i can say is our Dilli rocks big time!  I hope to cover part 3 some day!

Rediscovering Delhi the HoHo Way 1

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.

, adjacent to the Delhi Zoo.

The second part of my trip is covered in part 2. Watch out for some more fun!