The Walled City of Lahore Authority launched a tonga service on Saturday night.
The beat of the dhol and folk music filled the Fort Road food street at the inauguration ceremony.
DCO Muhammad Usman opened the service.
Addressing the participants of the ceremony, Usman said the tonga service would add to the attraction of the Walled City.
“When Food Street opened, people visited it at weekends. Now we see a large number of people visiting the area every day,” he said.
Some of the visitors reminisced about the time when tongas were a common sight on city roads. Others said the service was an opportunity for the youth to experience a way of travel associated with a period in the city’s history.
Mina Farrukh, a nine-year-old girl on her first tonga ride, squealed with excitement as she got off. “I was not afraid of the horse,” she said. “I really enjoyed the ride.”
Irtza Javed, 50, said tongas had been a common sight in the city merely a decade ago.
“Now we only see them on special occasions,” he said.
The WCLA tonga ride will take visitors on three routes; the first will take them around the Circular Road, the second to Delhi Gate and the third to Bhatti Gate.
The service will be available on the weekend between 8pm to 10pm at a cost of Rs500 per head.
The tongas are operated and run by Adil Lahori Cultural Club. They also offer tonga rides to tourists from Lahore Museum to Bhati gate.
“The Walled City Authority has taken a special interest in this initiative. Soon, guides will accompany people travelling on the tonga,” said Zamirul Hassan of the WCLA.
He said drivers of the tongas would wear traditional clothes for an authentic touch.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th, 2015.