chennai


kudlampatti waterfall sirumalai
What do you do when you are solo, working in a cozy little town thousands of miles away from home but in a naturally rich landscape? This was a question which would haunt me for months when I first came to Madurai. Then I found my answer when I realized that with such beautiful natural surroundings, who needs the typical urban trappings? And thus my Tamil Nadu adventures began. I would take a drive around town and explore the nearby hills, villages, coasts, and other towns. One of such exciting escapades recently happened to Sirumalai. This is a small cluster […]

Sirumalai: The perfect Getaway from Madurai (Guest Post)


Bangalore to chennai road
Bangalore to Chennai is a bustling route and one that I have had the pleasure of taking regularly – a regular trip would not take more than 7 hours for normal people. (Hint: I take longer, but only because I stop every 10Km like a little child) This route is common with business and official travellers as the two cities are their state’s respective capitals. However, the backpacker that I am, I have mostly taken this route for the sheer joys of traversing it. The road, which passes through the countryside of Tamil Nadu, is full of many interesting stops […]

Along the Bangalore to Chennai Route: Pitstops for a Fascinating Roadtrip


Rock temples in Mamallapuram, India
30th June 2015 – Mamallapuram, India The quest is close, and one day remains Don’t judge me when I say I did nothing today. I’ve had a hell of a year, and survived it. I deserve rest in my own serene and calming way.   Maybe it was a good thing that my family visited me here.   I find myself relaxed, without any timelines to chase or to get back. So, I decided to stay one more day in Mamallapuram, and explore it a little bit with my folks. And it wasn’t so bad as I thought.   I may have […]

Project 365: Day 364 – The big day is tomorrow!



Mash restaurant in Chennai, India 1
28th June 2015 – Chennai, India I took the fight to the rain gods, and Came out winning, flashing a proud grin. They tried to keep me subdued, But today, I am not letting myself be pinned. Finally, I left Chennai today. But not too far, I only managed a mere 40 KMs before rain forced me to settle at Mamallapuram for the day.   But before all that happened, I stepped out for an early morning sunday breakfast at one of my favourite restaurants in Chennai. MASH is so awesome, that till date, it is one of only 3 restaurant reviews […]

Project 365: Day 362 – Till we meet again, Chennai


Rains in Chennai, India
27th June 2015 – Chennai, India There is one more adventure left for me. And I should head out soon to get into it. But the rain feels incessantly malicious today, I am going to bide my time, and just sit. I should be leaving Chennai already. The last part of my trip involved riding home to Kerala, from Chennai with my bike. But through the Southern coastal route, passing by Chidambaram, Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari, and Trivandrum. The only problem: I can’t get out of Chennai.   I should have left yesterday evening towards Mahabalipuram, but a freak rain had me grounded in the […]

Project 365: Day 361 – A rainy and lazy day in Chennai


Karl Schmiddt memorial at Elliot's beach, Chennai
26th June 2015 – Chennai, India Sunrises are totally my thing nowadays. And I go from beach to beach, looking for the best. Being back again in a beach where I found myself. Feels beyond good. Feels like I’ve earned my rest.   After hanging around the Marina beach area for 2 days in the morning recently, I needed to get back to one of my more favourite beaches.   Elliots beach in Besant Nagar, has to be the place where I have spent most of my early mornings in Chennai. In fact, there was a time during my employment days in […]

Project 365: Day 360 – To the memory of a Dutchman



Kollywood at Marina beach, Chennai
25th June 2015 – Chennai, India There was no glare of the soft box or reflectors Only the distant sight of a port city, and the rising sun. I have only watched the exaggeration on screen, But I find now that the background score is also fun.   With nothing else to do again, I stepped out Marina beach again today morning. The second time in 3 days. But I had an unexpected surprise in store today. A kollywood movie shooting.   Unlike what most of my non-Indian friends believe, India is not just Bollywood. Bollywood refers to the Hindi-language movie industry of […]

Project 365: Day 359 – Kollywood. Not Bollywood.


Santhome church in Chennai, India 5
24th June 2015 – Chennai, India Familiarity did breed contempt, thats for sure. Else how did I never check out such beautiful things? Like a forgotten teardrop on the chennai map, I finally heard the distant church bells ring. There is something very different about living in a country, and visiting there. When you live there, you are caught up in the pace of the city, and tend to ignore the beautiful things around you. But when you visit there, you are relaxed. You soak in more of the sights, you hear all the noises of the place, and you smell and feel every […]

Project 365: Day 358 – Catching up with St. Thomas


Marina beach at sunrise. Chennai, India.
23rd June 2015 – Chennai, India Home is near, I can almost smell the fish flavour And hear the sound of my mother, crying marriage. Fortunately, there are still a few sights along the way Until the destination, and the start of a new page.   I reached Chennai last evening, and went straight to bed. I wanted to count sheep, but instead counted all the countries in the last 12 months. After 3 continents, and 35 countries, I was back home.   Well, technically, not yet. Home is still 1400 KM away, tucked in the northern regions of Kerala. And it […]

Project 365: Day 357 – Mornings at Marina



whiskey, colombo, srilanka
27th December 2014 – Colombo, Srilanka India has its old monk, and turns out the neighbours had the keg. On my first day in the emerald island, whiskey was my welcome song. The hours crept up into the night, but the country doesn’t stop the party, It raged, raged against the light. Fast, furious, and long. I reached Chennai early in the morning. After getting a little bit of gym at my brother’s house, I finally caught my first international flight for the last 4 months. Oh, the motorbike was lovely, but I missed the aerial pursuits. Reached the Bandaranaike international […]

Project 365: Day 179 – Greeted by an old keg


chennai, joystick, playstation, fifa, india
21st December 2014 – Chennai, India The chaotic nature of an Indian road trip, has given way,To the more relaxed nature of chilling on a beanbag. The blisters from the handlebar of the bike, have given way too. The joystick has now started to carry my thumb into a drag. I should be going out today, and trying to click something.  But I guess, I am still recovering from the motorbike episode. So, here I was, in my brother’s house, lounging on his beanbag. While playing Fifa on the playstation. Till the point that my thumb started getting sore. What an […]

Project 365: Day 173 – Stationed and playing


mahabalipuram, india, travel, hats
20th December 2014 – Mamallapuram, India No time to surf, nor did I have the energy get up early. But an evening ride, became a pleasant affair. Watching vendors made their stuff, and strut their fare. I could keep coming back here, for all I care. When one visits Chennai, it is foolhardy not to visit Mamallapuram, which is just 30 km away. Well, I did. Last time I was here, and countless times before that. The ECR, or the East Coast Road, is one of my favourite roads in India. Purely for the views that it offers, running against […]

Project 365: Day 172 – The ECR is always beautiful



Chennai, beach, bezant nagar, india, travel, photography
19th December 2014 – Chennai, India After months in the highlands, the beach called me back To its warm bosom, and to the cold, stares of strangers. I had no bike to take care of, and no laptop to protect, I was one, with the early morning sun, sans any danger. I love early morning rides with my motorbike. But since I don’t have one now, took an auto rickshaw to one of my favourite beaches in Chennai. I have written too much about bezant nagar before, so will not write anything new. Just that, this place rejuvenates me whenever […]

Project 365: Day 171 – Back to the beach


The shores to the temple - Mamallapuram, India
21st September 2014 – Mamallapuram, India The surfers gave way to views of temple domes, And the boats grew in number, no mean feat. The myriad beachside shacks pulled me asunder, but The temple shores were waxing under my feet. I had seen two big temple cities of Tamil Nadu, i.e, Madurai and Thanjavur, but I had to see one more. Check out Moonrakers, one of my favourite Indian restaurants, in Mamallapuram. Click here! Mamallapuram, or Mahabalipuram as the Chennaites still call it, is a sleepy little seaside town located roughly 40 KMs from Chennai. I rode here today, to see […]

Project 365: Day 82 – Temple shores


The golden globe goes to... - Auroville, India
20th September 2014 – Auroville, India Take pictures, but take no souvenirs. Make no noises, but watch in awe if you must. Humanity merges with nature here, and the banyan tree has life. The golden globe shines through it all, restoring faith and trust. I rode from Pondicherry to Chennai today, but there was something that I had to see on the way. Auroville is an independent community centre, located about 13 KM from Pondichery. Aurobindo Ghosh was a famous Indian spiritual leader, who believed that “man is a transitional being”. One of his disciples, Mirra Alfassa, also called ‘the mother’, […]

Project 365: Day 81 – A country of 43 nationalities



elliots beach chennai
This was the 36th post (Day 36) of an entire year-long series, which I named ‘Project 365′. The idea was simple enough: travel for a full year and document every day of it, in the form of a daily picture and poem. I am still working on a book of this year-long travel, but till then, enjoy all the posts here. You can check out the daily posts in the details below or jump to the final day of the project by clicking here. 6th August 2014 – Chennai, India The hands stretched out and cuddled the groggy air, in picturesque yoga poses, […]

Joyrides, Indian Style. In Besant Nagar, Chennai


chennai india
This was the 35th post (Day 35) of an entire year-long series, which I named ‘Project 365′. The idea was simple enough: travel for a full year and document every day of it, in the form of a daily picture and poem. I am still working on a book of this year-long travel, but till then, enjoy all the posts here. You can check out the daily posts in the details below or jump to the final day of the project by clicking here. 5th August 2014 – Chennai, India He sat unemployed, consumed by alcohol and indifference I stood unemployed, bearded, tattooed, […]

Connecting over mothers in Singaara Chennai


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The year was 2012. I have been living in Chennai for 8 years now, on and off. And if I had known earlier that Kanchipuram was only 75 km away, I would have made the journey a long time ago. Or maybe I knew it all along, but just kept pushing that travel plan away, because I really wasn’t too much of a travel freak until a couple of years ago. Anyways, I finally found the time last week to make a one day trip to Kanchipuram. And the journey was much easier than I had thought.     How to […]

The city of a thousand temples : Kanchipuram, India



Mahabalipuram beach shacks
There is something ethereal about having an early morning breakfast in Mahabalipuram, also known as Mamallapuram. The gist of the matter is, you should know the restaurants to go to. And it need not even be at moonrakers! How to get there Mahabalipuram is only 40 KM from the southern end of Chennai district. It’s a straight road all the way, on the scenic ECR (East coast road). Be prepared for speeding sports bikes and cars whizzing past you, and sometimes, for very lazy cows who tend to make the road their home.   Where to eat   Apart from […]

Breakfasts at Mahabs


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Having lived for more than 4 years in Chennai, I must be a little ashamed to say that my favourite spot in Chennai is actually outside Chennai. Umpteen weekends have passed by with me riding on the forlorn SH-41, better known as the ECR, or East Coast Road, which connects Chennai to Pondicherry. All that was required was to pool a car, in which case one had to cough up the 50 Rs for the toll gate. Else, I could also brace my butt for a long, satiating drive on my bike, which was mostly what I choose to do. And if one […]

To the moon and back: Moonrakers restocafe in Mahabalipuram


The night is stubborn and flinty. It refuses to let a whit of light Erase the darkness out of my blinded eyes. I solicit light, to sojourn For my eyes to see, but for a while. He replies, “The moon’s I am. Let him dispatch”. But alas, the moon is under servitude To hazy, nebulous, lumpish layers. People call them clouds. I call them a disturbance And when I ask them for mercy They laugh at me, perhaps tickled by pathos. But man and his quest has never tired And it never will, its god’s decree. It was this quest […]

Solace



It has been at least 7 years since I moved out of Chennai. But every time I think of Chennai, one word immediately springs to my mind. Mash. No, not the TV series. The restaurant in Chennai that you have to visit to get a feel of the alternative lifestyle of the city. Now, it is not often that I write a review for a restaurant. But this one just simply takes the cake. The first thing you would notice, is the view from this place. The restaurant itself is set on the first floor, and has 2 sections. An […]

Mashing it at a Chennai restaurant!