Sandstone covered walls, quaint bylanes, blossoming gardens, hawkers, temples, mosques, crafts and mouthwatering street food... exploring all this on a single day by bus has never been more fun. No, we are not talking about the ramshackled buses you see on Delhi’s roads. This one’s air-conditioned, clean and certainly not bad for someone who’s never been on a bus before. Delhi Tourism’s HOHO (Hop On Hop Off) is a ride worth experiencing.
Fourteen buses, 19 stops... If you are a tourist on a sightseeing spree or a Delhiite wanting to brush up your knowledge of the city you live in, let the bright and colourful HOHO bus take you on an unforgettable journey. Before boarding, buy the ticket. At first, the Rs 300 tag may seem a tad pricey, but after going through the list of monuments, museums, malls and markets that are covered in the tour - in comfort - you realise it’s worth every rupee spent. So where do you get the ticket? There’s a HOHO centre at Baba Kharak Singh, but you also have the option of booking online (www.hohodelhi.com) and getting the ticket on board.
While you have the option of boarding the bus from any of the 19 stops, we chose to start at the beginning, from the HOHO centre itself. A guest relations officer welcomed us on board. And then we were off! A word of caution: arrive on time as the bus halts only for five minutes at each stop (we missed ours and had to wait 45 minutes for the next one!). The seats are comfortable enough to make you feel you’re sitting on your plush sofa at home. Settling in with our bottles of chilled mineral water (bought separately), set our eyes on the drop-down LCD screen, perched on the ceiling of the bus. But the telecast didn’t hold our attention.
Slowly, the bus took us to well-known landmarks - Feroz Shah Kotla, Red Fort and Qutub Minar... some passengers got off, others got on. For most of us, these well known landmarks have been an integral part of our growing up years. But the HOHO ride gave us nuggets of information we’d never known before. Did you know, for instance, that the Yamuna river once flowed on what is Mahatma Gandhi Road today, or that there are 6,000-odd books on the Mahatma at the National Library? Or that there’s a road in Chandni Chowk, that has a mosque, Hindu temple, Jain mandir and a gurdwara?
Clearly everyone was impressed with the information. Elderly women reminisced about their first visit to India Gate, teenagers looked for bargains at Dilli Haat and a few mystics tried to catch a glimpse of the Lotus Temple. Yes, HOHO is for everyone!
LADIES & GENTLEMEN...
• The bus plies every day expect Monday
• There’s a special offer till the end of the month. Each ticket is valid for two days.
• Children below 3 ft get 50 per cent off on the ticket
• The stops are: Feroz Shah Kotla, Red Fort, Rajghat, NGMA, India Gate, Purana Kila, Humayun’s Tomb, Lajpat Nagar, Lotus Temple, Saket malls, Qutub Minar, Hauz Khas Village, Dilli Haat, Safdarjung Tomb, Indira Gandhi Memorial Museum, Nehru Museum, National Museum, Janpath Market and Jantar Mantar
• You can deboard at any of the above 19 stops. When we were on board the next bus arrived every 45 minutes. But now the frequency has changed to 30 minutes
• The Guest Relations Executive will give you details about tickets, timings, costs of entering a monument or museum, where to eat and what to buy
• A GPS system tracks each bus
• The buses are disabled-friendly.