Sixty-five-year-old Sarla Sareen (65) has lived all her life in Janakpuri but never got to see much of her own city all these years.
On Friday she and her three friends left home early to explore the Capital by purple-coloured, air-conditioned HoHo bus (Hop On Hop Off), a joint venture by Delhi Tourism and Purple and UMTC Transit private limited.
A large number of Delhiites, young and old, are hopping on to the HoHo buses every morning with a Delhi travel guide and cameras in hand to discover their city.
“I have lived in Delhi all my life but somehow I could never visit monuments like the Red Fort and Feroz Shah Kotla. There is so much excitement in the city because of the Games. I thought this is the best time to discover my own city,” said Sareen, travelling on the HOHO with her friends.
Pooja Kalra, an advocate, is also on the same bus to explore the city with her daughter Damini (12).
“I was born and schooled in the city but saw most of the monuments only from the outside. I want my daughter to know her city better. I think there was never a better time for Delhiites to explore their own city,” Kalra said.
“The city is so neat and clean; everyone is so courteous, the city has never looked so good. But I hope everything remains the same even after the Games.”
Her daughter pitched in: “Today I want to see the monuments that I have only seen in my school textbooks.” And Rajghat is on top of her itinerary.
Ambresh Kapoor, a Noida-based software professional, has taken off for a week from office.
“My son's schools are closed. For the past three weeks, I have been discovering the city with my son by the Metro and HoHo buses. We have walked the narrow lanes and by- lanes of Chandni Chowk and explored many majestic boulevards in Lutyen's Delhi. It is a great experience being a tourist in our own city,” said Kapoor while taking pictures of his 14-year- old son Vivek with Pura Quila in the background.
Sam Miller, the author of Delhi: Adventures in a Megacity, a best-selling books on Delhi whose paperback version has just been released, said one of the reasons why more and more Delhiites are coming out to explore is the city's vastly improved transport system.
“Spanking new buses and the Metro are encouraging people to explore their own city which they know little about. Big events like the Commonwealth Games tend to make people proud and loyal to their city,” he added.