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Delhi on the HOHO bus

Delhi on the HOHO bus

Delhi, the National Capital, is a melting pot of different cultures and traditions. Dotted with historical monuments, the city is home to places of architectural brilliance, illuminated bazaars, landscaped gardens and a lot more. One just cannot get enough of the city since Delhi gets on your mind and heart. Such is the flamboyance of Delhi that can leave a heady effect on you.

When it comes to exploring Delhi, one day falls short. Organised tours weigh heavy on your pocket and unguided tours may not make you familiar with the true essence of the city. Tourists throng Delhi in huge numbers but often go back empty handed. To give people visiting the city a tourist friendly-guided tour across Delhi, the state government has initiated a new bus service that provides sightseeing options to tourists who are willing to explore Delhi with a more flexible schedule.

Joy ride begins
Started during the period when the city hosted Commonwealth Games in 2010, I first heard about this purple beauty from a fellow passenger in Delhi Metro rail. The second mention about Hoho came from my seven-year-old niece who wanted me to take her on a Delhi tour. Promising her, I checked details about this talk of the town on the Internet. While checking on the Delhi tourism’s website, I noticed Hoho was not just a simple bus service, it was rather an initiative, to inform visitors, to entertain them and to make them aware of the glorious past and the charismatic present the city of Delhi holds. I booked for my joy ride on Hoho on the internet, which was rather cool for people who have access to the internet most of the time.

May is the time when temperature soars with every passing day. That is when you know summers have arrived in Delhi. The air remained still and not a leaf was stirring when we embarked our joy ride. This is the perfect time to hop on the fully air conditioned bright purple coloured HOHO bus – the all new Hop on Hop off service started by the Delhi government. Holding my niece’s hand, I walked to the starting point of Hoho – Coffee Home on Baba Kharag Singh Marg. The moment when got their, our spirits rose. The joy ride began with a photography session by Juhi (my niece). Amazed to see the low floor bus, part of the Delhi government’s initiative to help children, senior citizens and handicapped to get into the bus, we sat and watched the open alley of state handloom emporiums on the BKS Marg. I didn’t expect the air conditioning would be stunning for state transport, seats comfortable and plush.

Stealing a moment
Offering tours in specially designed buses that move along a charted route, allowing tourists to witness the grandeur the national capital beholds. As we moved ahead towards the Feroz Shah Kotla, the cricket stadium lying amidst the remnants of the fortress built by Sultan Ferozshah Tughlaq, the well-informed tour guide briefed us about the charted route of the bus service. He told us that tourists could board or alight at any of the pick up and drop off points on the charted route. Enabling you to explore Delhi like never before, Hoho bus takes you not only to historical monuments but also museums, galleries, gardens, shopping malls, bazaars and hotels. On top of that, you just don’t need any definite planning to board Hoho.

Greenery and glory
Delhi looks beautiful no matter what time of year you visit the city. Passing through congested crannies of Daryaganj, the bus made its way to Red Fort. We purchased tickets to the magnificent fort in the bus only, brownie point to the brain behind the initiative. Dotted with bougainvillea and frangipani flowers, the sprawling campus housing the Red Fort mesmerized us.

We roamed a bit in the alleys of Mughal Sultanate for a bit and started our jaunt towards Rajghat. After a date with history, we ventured into the lush gardens of Shantivan. Juhi had been enjoying all this while. Her enjoyment came to standstill the moment we entered our next destination – the Modern Art Gallery near India Gate. Since she is too young to comprehend about art, I took her to my favourite childhood spots – the children’s park. Swings and a little aquarium caught her fancy and without any mood to move further, she sat there. After an hour or so, we moved ahead to our next destination before lunch – Humayun’s Tomb. We skipped a visit to Old fort, though I would have loved clicking pictures. Humayun’s Tomb is a beautiful piece of architecture built by Mughals. The guide told us that the design of Taj Mahal is based on this tomb, which is part of the Mughal architecture for mausoleums. Bright sunlight falling on the verdant landscaped gardens and the sandstone monument made my photographs bright and colourful.

Our next stop was Dilli Haat, since we decided to ditch the rest of the places falling on the route. Though the bus didn’t not miss going to Qutub Minar, Lotus Temple and even Select Citywalk, the famous mall in Delhi. We were in mood for some shopping so hopped off at the Mecca of art lovers – Dilli Haat, INA Market. After binging on delectable momos and fruit beer, we shopped and shopped and came back home in another Hoho, that dropped us to Jantar Mantar. It was surely a great treat. If you are in for a dose of history, fun and entertainment, then hop on..!!

Catch Hoho
Coffee Home BKS Marg
Feroz Shah Kotla (Khooni Darwaza, Dilli Gate)
Red Fort (Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, Salim Garh Fort)
Rajghat (Shantivan, Shakti Sthal, Veer Bhumi, )
Modern Art Gallery (National Stadium, Children’s Park , India Gate)
Purana Qila
Humayun’s Tomb
Defence Colony Metro Station
Lotus Temple
Metropolitan Mall Saket/Select City Walk
Qutab Minar
Hauz Khas Village
Dilli Haat
Safdarjung Tomb
Santushti
Teen Murti Marg – Nehru Museum
National Museum, Janpath
Jantar Mantar

Best way to see Delhi
· Air-conditioned environment friendly luxury buses
· Frequency- every 30 minutes
· Flexibility – tourists can hop on and hop off at any pick up/drop off point
· Entertaining and knowledgeable tour guides
· Route covers all major tourist destinations in Delhi
· Audio guides
· Online booking Facility
· Onboard ticketing facility
· Covers more than 19 tourist locations
·  Monument entry tickets are available to save time

Nagada medley by Nathulal Solanki from Pushkar

Music is great we all know, but once you will hear music created by these men from Pushkar, Rajasthan, you will definitely feel music is indeed a blessing. I got this opportunity to hear the nagada medley played by Nathulal Solanki and family last year at Jodhpur RIFF. And today when i was listening to the album Solanki Sr gifted me, I immediately felt the need to put this photograph on Confluence. Nathu saab told Confluence that he and his sons are not talented at all, it is just the blessing of Brahma ji. 

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Venue: Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur

Photos: Nitika Bajpayee

Coorg, a paradise on earth

This was the view from the window of my room in Coorg. Thick blanket of mist was hanging on to the thick rainforest, and thousands of birds chirped their hearts out. For those of us who live in metro cities, visiting a hill station or a coffee county like Coorg is a sheer delight if it happens only once a year, however, for the locals, its their way of life. They are used to the monsoon that continues for seven months. No wonder they have coffee to keep them warm, day in and day out. The moment I arrived in Coorg, my hosts welcomed me with black coffee with a dash of jaggery and buoy, that was the best cup of coffee I have ever had in life.

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Venue: Vivanta by Taj, Madikeri Coorg

Photo: Nitika Bajpayee

One of many things – in love with small and beautiful things

Life is not only about big money and a great job. Happy family, naughty children and mother’s smile is the best thing that can make anybody feel satiated with his/her life. While childhood is the best gift, seeing your children grow up is the second best say the experienced ones. And who can forget the first ride on a scooter? This one is for those like me who grew up seeing Chetaks and Lambrettas. A scooter ride was one of the best enjoyed childhood activity apart from playing hide and seek when there was no electricity. And today, when scooters are considered so ‘low class’ ‘substandard’ and ‘down market’ I proudly want to peep in to my childhood and remember those days and this scooter is one of my favourite things 🙂

 

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Antique scooter @Vivaana Culture Hotel, Mandawa. Photograph by Nitika Bajpayee