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Great Indian Food Trip – ScoutMyTrip

#GreatIndianFoodTrip is a #FAM Trip sponsored by ScoutMyTrip to explore the Biryani in South India.

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2017 has been a wonderful year with Travel for me where I welcomed in the New Year in 2017 with a trip to Goa followed by Ooty, the queen of hills in June 2017 and the mother of all trips, Spiti Circuit in Sep 2017.

I was already using ScoutMyTrip to plan my road-trips due to the simplicity of using the Ultimate Road-trip planner with not just the route but also aspects like fuel stations, dhabas, rest-places, attractions en-route a destination and this was in Oct-Nov’17 when ScoutMyTrip approached me to join them on the GreatIndianFoodTrip starting Dec’17 for a duration of 10 days and my joy knew no bounds.

This was my first FAM trip and i was not sure on how could i contribute when i realized that the quest was to identify the best Biryani in the Four South Indian States of India.

This was soon demystified with Deepak and Vineet from ScoutMyTrip speaking to me on the value-add that we could contribute to the trip and particularly with the great company of Himanshu Sehagal from MyYellowPlate and Saumya Rai from RoadtoTaste who i have been following for a while on Social media were to join us which started to make the trip interesting.

Vineet having given me the responsibility to map and support Deepak on the entire route which got me into a challenging role to ensure that we had a robust trip plan and in ensuring that we landed at the best places in search for the best biryani’s that we are searching for. The first contribution here is to request a change in route from the initial planned one.

The concept is unique, you search for the best biryani on a day in a given city and in the evening having identified the best biryani, get this packed the next day before you leave for the next city. 

The Team

Deepak, Co-Founder and CEO of ScoutMyTrip came down from Mumbai to Hyderabad driving down in his Skoda Superb and the second scout Srikanth met him in Hyderabad to discuss on the route and finalize the itinerary who were later joined by the Bloggers Saumya Rai from RoadtoTaste and Himanshu Sehgal from MyYellowPlate.

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Left to Right: Srikanth, Himanshu, Deepak & Saumya

The Route

Now coming to the journey, here is the route plan- we started the BiryaniTrail from Hyderabad on the 9th Dec 2017 in our quest for the best Biryani and started our journey in the city of Nizams on 9th with our trip starting on the 10th Dec 2017 and covering Bengaluru, Chennai, Coimbatore, Calicut.

Initial plan was to travel in one vehicle but all that gets planned might have some tweak to it and we had a Milton representative join us as well which made us start our journey with two vehicles.

Vehicles: Skoda Superb, Renault Duster

Total Kilometers Clocked: 2,559 kms (excluding city travel in the cities on Biryani Trail and Hyderabad to Hyderabad)

Route Map using ScoutMyTrip: Great Indian Food Trip – RouteMap

The Journey:

9th Dec 2017: Hyderabad Biryani Trail

10th Dec 2017: Packing the best Biryani & Travel to Bengaluru

11th Dec 2017: Bengaluru Biryani Trail

12th Dec 2017: Packing the best & Travel to Chennai

13th Dec 2017: Chennai Biryani Trail

14th Dec 2017: Packing the best & Travel to Coimbatore with a detour to Mahabalipuram

15th Dec 2017: Coimbatore Biryani Trail, Packing the best & Travel to Calicut

16th Dec 2017: Calicut (Kozhikode) Biryani Trail & Official Close of Great Indian Food Trip

17th Dec 2017: Deepak & Srikanth bid adieu to the bloggers Himanshu & Saumya to start to Bengaluru, stopover in Bengaluru for the night

18th Dec 2017: Deepak & Srikanth Onward to Hyderabad & bid adieu and leave for respective destinations after reaching Hyderabad

GreatIndianFoodTrip Roadtrip Map
GreatIndianFoodTrip RouteMap with Live Tracking

 The Trip

Leg One: Hyderabad to Bengaluru

So the travel started with the team having the biryani packed from Hyderabad and taking this to Bengaluru.

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Hyderabad – Bengaluru RouteMap

The route was interesting with us taking the ORR and joining the Bengaluru Highway on AH43 on the wonderful four way highway.

The Route goes through Kothakota – Kurnool – Anantapur – Bengaluru and you would find traffic until around Kurnool post which it is relatively very stress free route.

While we started around 11:00 hrs from Hyderabad, en-route, we stopped at Food Pyramid for lunch around 13:30 hrs and ordered some food.

Post lunch we started onward towards Bengaluru and continued on our journey and had a stop at Iskon temple, this was something i have multiple times crossed on my road-trips but the first time captured it in my camera.

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Iskon temple, Anantapur

Having crossed Anantapur, we were nearing Penukonda towards sunset and we did a quick stop to capture the sunset.

After a brief stopover, we continued to Bengaluru and reached around 20:00 hrs to the outskirts and Google and Deepak helped us give the traffic a miss and reach out stay location.

We were put up at OYO Townhouse at MG Road (behind Garuda mall) and after checking in, we did a quick change and headed to Arbor Brewery for a quick dinner.

We started the next day after a wonderful night at OYO Townhouse and started around 09:30 hrs with blogger friends from Bengaluru in search for the best biryani in Bengaluru.

Roads with nice shady trees on either sides in Bengaluru…

This is the city we met Sakshi Rajat and Chittra who are bloggers themselves and avid foodies.

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Left to Right: Sakshi Rajat (writes at mytravelrecital), Nikhita Biswas, Himanshu Sehgal, Deepak, Srikanth Chittra (writes at masalaboxtravel), Saumya

We used Ola in Bengaluru to move around the city as we explored various destinations for the best biryani in town. We had a wonderful evening and we visited multiple food joints in search.

After a tiring day, we finally finished our quest and called it a day, to get ready for our journey onward from Bengaluru to Chennai.

Leg Two: Bengaluru to Chennai

We started around 09:30 hrs and were already on the highway towards Hosur en-route Chennai via Ambur.

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Bengaluru – Chennai (via Ambur)

I never realized on how the highways were in Tamil Nadu until on this trip, most of the important highways were neatly laid 6-lane highways and most importantly other than the Hosur Toll Gate, FastTAG was working flawlessly at all toll gates.

We were enjoying the ride and stopped at a A2B for a quick coffee and checking our tyres where i got a puncture done interacting with a few locals who were fascinated with the fact that we were coming all the way from Hyderabad and that we are in search of biryani. They asked us to ensure we stop at STAR Biryani in Ambur which was already in the must-go list.

We continued on our journey and stopped at Ambur for the most sought after biryani here. All of us after a wonderful lunch started back on our journey towards Chennai.

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Chai Stop on the NH towards Chennai
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Sunset yet again towards Chennai
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Sunset in the car rear view window

As we neared closer to Chennai, we stopped at a coffee shop for the much missed Filter Coffee at Kanchipuram, this was something which i was missing since starting on this trip.

Filter Coffee at Kanchipuram

As we crossed Sriperumbdur, Kanchipuram we started entering the two lane roads with heavy vehicle traffic. Traffic was coming to a standstill, with heavy traffic jam and we finally reached our destination in Chennai at around 2045 hrs after around two hours in the Chennai Traffic (reminded me of the Hyderabad Traffic if i started from work after 1800 hrs).

We had a few friends who are food bloggers from Chennai already waiting for us where we had the biryani we packed from Bengaluru and en-route from Ambur packed.

We woke up early next morning at 05:30 hrs to witness sunrise in the Marina beach and with our blogger friends reached the beach on time.

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Sunrise @ Marina Beach
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Srikanth @ Marina Beach

We started the day after our morning at the beach with another Biryani trail in Chennai and were exploring the various food eateries in the city. We completed our quest towards evening around 1900 hrs and returned to our hotel back.

We reached the hotel and were exploring on a detour before reaching out to Deepak and after a lot of convincing and reconciling of the plan for the day decided to detour to Mahabalipuram en-route Coimbatore.

Leg Three: Chennai – Coimbatore (via Mahabalipuram on the ECR)

Alarms set for 04:30 hrs, we got ready by 05:30 hrs, checkout done from the hotel and were all excited for the short detour to Mahabalipuram / Mamallapuram.

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Chennai – Coimbatore (Via Mahabalipuram)

Starting from the hotel at 06:00 hrs, Google Maps confused and we ended up getting into a different route, took a u-turn and again got into a different route to reach the ECR Expressway.

We finally figured out the way and wading through the morning traffic, made it to the East Coast Road (ECR). This was re-living a memory I had as a kid where i went there with my parents to VGP Golden Beach, Crocodile Park and was a refreshing memory to look at them as i drove.

After a very smooth drive, few places where we saw the coast as we drove on the road, we reached Mahabalipuram in 90 minutes.

We parked our cars near the ticket counter as Deepak went on to buy the tickets as we realized that we were hungry, went over to a roadside kiosk and the lady there made some finger licking delicious n hot idli’s and poori. We could not stop with just one plate and ended up having multiple servings.

We then finalized the places of visit starting with: Pancha RathasThe Shore TempleMahabalipuram beach, Mahishamardini Rock Cut Mandapa, Krishna MandapamKrishna’s Butter Ball

This was an interesting detour as we were awe-struck with the architecture and the mythological belief that this town has to its name. Also, the beach has pristine and clear water which was something we did not expect.

After spending some considerable time, exploring Mahabalipuram, we started on our journey to Coimbatore, the roads were beautiful, smooth and it was not tiring us a bit as we zoomed past the highways towards Coimbatore.

We stopped for lunch around 1400 hrs somewhere towards Salem, we deviated from our Biryani trail and enjoyed Parotas with Dal and curry at a vegetarian joint.

We then moved on our journey towards Coimbatore and reached around 20:00 hrs at our hotel Zone by The Park.

After a day well spent, we had dinner at the in-house restaurant and called it a day after a while after discussing on the day which was well spent.

We started our day at 11:00 hrs the next day and went to HMR and Dindigul Venu Biryani Center in Coimbatore and had biryani for lunch and moved on with the best Biryani packed towards Calicut / Kozhikode but not before making a quick stopover at Palakkad, the native of Deepak from ScoutMyTrip.

Leg Four: Coimbatore to Kozhikode (Calicut)

Tamil Nadu and Kerala have some fine views as you travel in the nature and we were mesmerized to see the wonderful hills and the greenery which made us stop every few minutes to capture the views.

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Coimbatore – Kozhikode (via Palakkad)

Here are a few pics for you of the journey….

We started our travel onward to Palakkad and in around 90 minutes reached our stopover, to the wonderful house of Deepak.

We started onward after a break of around a couple of hours in Palakkad and towards our final stop of Calicut / Kozhikode.

We had to go at a very slow pace from Palakkad to Kozhikode due to the narrow roads for the entire stretch due to the topography of the region.

The distance was around 127 kms but roughly took us around 5 hours due to multiple conditions like narrow roads, traffic, night driving.

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Palakkad to Kozhikode Google Maps Route

Reached around 2030 hrs at our destination, did a few roundabouts due to a miss in identifying the hotel location but finally made it.

We spent the last day after getting up the next day of reaching Calicut in searching for the Biryani at the last leg of the Great Indian Food Trip.

Towards the evening after the Biryani Trail, we spent the evening before starting back to our respective destinations at the Kozhikode Beach and spend some time in exploring and spending some quiet time.

In this blog, my focus is on the road-trip, the great experiences I had, new friends I made and the wonderful roads we traveled through than the biryani which my friends are doing a great job at.

Read what Saumya from RoadtoTaste has to say on the BiryaniTrail here:

Great Indian Food Trip – South Indian Biryani Trail

Find out the best Biryaniand this is what our Himansuu err… Himanshu Sehgal from MyYellowPlate has to say about the BiryaniTrail:

Great Indian Food Trip – South Indian Biryani Trail – Part 1 of 2

Until the next blog post, this is Srikanth signing Off….

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