I had a business trip to India in late 2014. While visiting Gurgaon, Chennai, Vellore and Ahmedabad I was able to explore various cuisines as well as a few of the domestic airlines. I have already reviewed some of the excellent hotels I visited (The Westin Gurgaon and the ITC Grand Chola). Here are some of my other experiences during this trip to India.
My favorite part of visiting India, the food
Many of my travel experiences and memories are about food. I had some outstanding food on this trip.
Lunch in Chennai at Apoorva Sangeetha
Here is part of our meal at Peshawri inside the ITC Grand Chola, an obviously non-veg meal, with some excellent lamb kebabs, daal, and podeena parantha. This was one of my favorite meals of the trip. And I made an exception to my usual rule to not dine in hotel restaurants.
Lamb Kebab, Daal and Podeena Parantha at Peshawri Restaurant, Chennai
For much of this journey, an American colleague and I were traveling with an Indian colleague. He was a great host, and we had some excellent food along the way. The top photo shows our lunch one day in Chennai. Needless to say, little was needed for dinner that night. The day before, we traveled by car to Vellore, which was a long journey, on the way back to Chennai, we stopped in an Idli shop for Dosa. It was so good!
Masala Dosai on the journey between Chennai and Vellore, about $1.05
After Chennai, we headed north to Ahmedabad in Gujarat state. We had another excellent lunch, this time with a local Gujarati colleague who recommended this place. Unlimited Gujarati thali for 220 Rupees (about $3.50)
Thali lunch in Ahmedabad
In flight food? Not so good.
I had some less inspired meals while flying between these places. Over the course of the trip, we ended up doing a tour of Indian domestic carriers. Domestic flights on IndiGo and Air India, and I departed India on Jet Airways. I had a direct flight on Air India from Chennai to Ahmedabad with a stop in Hyderabad. That meant 2 ‘meals’, but it was not special at all.
Air India economy class domestic meal
Air India economy class domestic meal
After my time in India, due to a change of plans, instead of going home, I had to fly to Istanbul. I ended up on a Jet Airways flight to Dubai, an overnight layover, then I flew Turkish to Istanbul. At least that meal was better. I credit that to a longer flight, and the better service that Jet Airways is known for.
Jet Airways economy class vegetarian meal between Delhi and Dubai
As for the domestic flights themselves, it wasn’t anything too memorable. IndiGo is an up and coming low-cost carrier. As a tall person, I didn’t really like the legroom, but for relatively short flights, it was fine. At least the cabins were new, which is more than I can say for my flights on Air India.
Ground boarding both doors on IndiGo
IndiGo didn’t serve any complimentary food for drinks, and I didn’t bother buying anything on the short flights. Like many LCC’s, there were lots of items for sale. I was admittedly somewhat tempted by their Aviation Geek friendly t-shirts.
Phonetic alphabet shirt highlighting ‘IndiGo’
I’m easily amused
Along the course of the trip, I laughed at various signage in airports. Some say I’m easily entertained, but I do enjoy some odd translations that are sometimes found when traveling abroad. Most of these were found at the airport in Ahmedabad.
“No Bribe Please” near security lines
“Never Forget About Safety” near the entrance to the arrivals hall
“Use Me” for rubbish bins in the departure hall
Despite these humorous signs, the Ahmedabad airport is decent, and has recently been refurbished.
Ahmedabad airport terminal (AMD), Gujarat, India
It is a popular spot, since a fee is charged for visitors to enter the terminal. I saw this a few times, I guess it is just to keep the terminals less crowded. People just wait outside, as seen in the photo.
It costs 60 Rupees (almost $1) to enter the public areas of the Ahmedabad airport
I took airplanes and taxis for most of my travel in India, I didn’t utilize any of the various other types of transportation on this trip. Uber is available in a few cities, but I did not try it. One morning in Gurgaon, I saw a comically overloaded rickshaw. How does one say clown car in Hindi?
Efficient use of an auto rickshaw in Gurgaon. Colleague corrected me that it is not a Tuk Tuk.
Finally, I saw a unique forecast (at least to me) one day when I was in Delhi. Smoke!
Yep it was hot, and yep, I guess it was smoky too…
I participated in a 5K run in a park near the Westin, and took this photo of the polluted air
India is an amazing place. I’ve been there twice now, both times on work trips, and while it is chaotic and at times uncomfortable, I certainly plan to return, likely for work, and hopefully also someday for leisure.