Monthly Archives for June 2016

7 British Monuments That are Not to be Missed on Your Next Visit to Chennai

Blog, Destinations, Heritage & Culture - GoroadTrip - June 24, 2016

Chennai, previously Madras, was a favourite with the English East India Company in the late 20th Century. The British made Madras their services and manufacturing hub for India and left many indelible marks in the city with several prized monuments functional and enjoyed even today.

High Court Building:

The highest court in Tamil Nadu and among the largest judicial buildings in the world, it was constructed in 1892 under the supervision of British architect Henry Irwin. Comprising of stained glass, beautiful minarets and walls with ornamental decorations, the High Court is an attractive building.

Ripon Building:

Serving as the seat of the Chennai Corporation, Ripon Building showcases three styles of architecture; Gothic, Ionic and Corinthian. It was named after Lord Ripon and constructed by Loganatha Mudaliar.

Fort St. George:

A colonial monument, Fort St. George is currently the headquarters of the Legislative Assembly. It was built in a western architectural style and the construction was supervised by Andrew Cogon and Francis Day. It houses Fort Museum and also Saint Mary’s Church which is the earliest Anglican Church.

Senate House:

An architectural wonder, an Indo-Saracenic style of architecture was adopted in the construction of the Senate House. With many artistic features, stylish porticos and a huge central hall with stone pillars, the Senate House was built by Robert Fellowes Chisholm and depicts the skilful architecture of the British of those times.

Santhome Bascilica Church:

Initially built by the Portuguese in 1523, this Roman Catholic Church in Santhome was reconstructed by the British in 1896.

Central Railway Station:

One of the main landmarks of Chennai, the Central, as it is more popularly known, is built in an impressive Gothic Revival style. It also has some Hindu and Itatianate nuances. It was originally designed by George Hardinge and then additions like the side towers and the central clock were done by Robert F. Chisholm.

Napier Bridge:

One of Chennai’s oldest bridges, it is oft used by the media to represent Chennai. It was built by Francis Napier, the Governor of Madras in 1869. It is built over the Coovum River and connects Fort St. George and the Marina Beach. The bridge is one of the finest testimonies to the architectural skills of the British.

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Meals Ready

Blog, Food - GoroadTrip - June 13, 2016

‘Saapadu tayaar’ or ‘Meals Ready’ is a common board found all over Chennai and Tamil Nadu from 7a.m. till late at night. These boards, very often a small blackboard with chalk writing and the day’s menu scribbled on it, informs the consumer what he can eat that day in that eatery. This custom of eating a full-blown meal early at the beginning of the workday is uniquely a Madras..okay…Chennai… habit and its inhabitants carry it with them where ever they go.

South Indian Meals

The lady selling idli or aapam (rice savoury cakes and crepes) on the pavement was an early morning occurrence. Many families boast of their hotel businesses beginning that way. It was always more economical to buy a couple of idlis with coconut chutney or an aapam with coconut milk or paaya kari (mutton curry) and begin the day, than for a household to cook the dish at home. The physical and strenuous process of grinding the dough, letting it ferment and then making the idlis on firewood was a time consuming affair for the common woman. She had to be at work early in the morning to decorate the front yards of houses where they worked for a living.

Elite society would patronise the Connemara Hotel or the tearooms of the Gymkhana, Madras Club or Cosmopolitan Club. That old lady in Luz, the Mylapore Club (their dosai and badam halwa is still ranked number one in the city) was the hang out for the law fraternity. The common man went to the ‘messes’ and even today the Karpagambal Mess in Mylapore, retains its old world atmosphere with banana-leaf meals and no-frills tiffin.

The two kinds of small eateries that came into being were the suddha saivam or vegetarian hotels and the Muniandi hotels that served non-vegetarian food. The latter began to be called military hotels because men from the Armed Services used to eating non-vegetarian food, patronised these establishments when they visited home for vacations.

Muniyandi Vilas

On arriving at a restaurant, the server would serve water and the customer’s first question usually was and still is, “Sooda ennappa irukku?” (What items are available hot?) The server’s talent at reciting the menu — some twenty to thirty items all in one breath could set the epicures saliva flowing and take your breath away at the same time. He used to be dressed in white or beige with a cap on his head. Today the server quietly places a menu card and whispers, “Mineral water, Sir?” Many restaurants boast of having well-dressed stewards or hostesses to seat you, take the orders and finally give you the bill. Theme restaurants with the employees in matching clothes, the cutlery and plates fitting the décor and ambience, has become a common phenomenon.

Korean, French, Continental, North West Frontier pakhwan, Calcutta meals, Punjabi dabhas are all in the business of catering to the eclectic tastes of the city. Home delivery meals, catering for parties and special offers like price per gram of cooked food are innovative offers by restaurants to catch the hungry tongue.

Like any other city in India Chennai caters to every pocket, taste and preference. You can eat the kalavai saapadu or mixed rice that the ladies with a basket on their heads take to the offices, bus terminus, auto stands etc. You can stand in front of the corner tea shop and have a porai biscuit with your hot tea or kapi. You can eat at fast food outlets with a plate of food in your hand. You can sit at laminated tables and plastic chairs in shops, on pavements, under tin roofs, in poky rooms. You can be seated in upholstered sofas in AC comfort and order gourmet food.

The number of eating places, the choices, the tastes catered to and the ambience of the Chennai restaurants are multifarious offering a mind boggling choice to its regulars. The Amma canteens spread all over Chennai serves a mixed clientele at very reasonable prices. You will see the rag picker and autorickshaw driver eating a plate full of sambhar rice next to a ID badge garlanded IT geek…both relishing the simple but yet healthy food.

With all this food around….Burp! I think I have indigestion.

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5 beaches in the North Canara Coastline

Blog, Destinations - GoroadTrip - June 5, 2016

North Canara or Uttara Karnataka is known as the land of rivers. It has several rivers like Kali, Aghanashini, Sharavati, Gangavali, Varada and Venkatpur running through it. But the region has its own fair share of beaches as well. Some of the more popular ones are:

Rabindranath Tagore Beach:

This beach in Karwar is very popular with tourists for the golden sands and other manmade attractions. It has a recreational park with musical fountains, toy trains, planetarium and aquarium. The sight of the Kali River joining the Arabian Sea at this beach draws people and the sunset view from the Kali Bridge makes for a memorable experience.

Devbagh Beach:

Located eight kilometres from Karwar, this is a private beach. It is a beautiful beach on the Goa-Karnataka border set on the northern side of the Kali River. It is also an island beach facing the sea on one side and the scenic Western Ghats on the other. It is marked by vast stretches of golden sands and lines of casuarina trees.

Gokarna Beach:

Situated right behind Mahabaleshwar Temple, most pilgrims take a dip in the sea here before visiting the temple. The beach is very popular for viewing sunsets. The southern side of the beach has a hillock where a panoramic view of the beach and town can be seen from the top.

Om Beach:

One of the most famous beaches in Gokarna, Om Beach gets its name from its shape that resembles two semi-crescents present in the symbol ‘Om’. At the curve of the symbol a pool is present which is safe to use by even non-swimmers. The beach has to be reached on foot after climbing down about 100 steps from a point on the road. Tourists can get to indulge on some water sports like surfing, water skiing and parasailing.

Murudeshwara Beach:

Murudeshwara is one of the most scenic places of this coastline. It is bordered by the green hills of Western Ghats on one side and the lovely blue waters of the Arabian Sea on the other. The main attraction of the Murudeshwara Beach is the Murudeshwara temple by it and the 123 feet high Shiva statue erected beside it. It is the tallest in Asia and has people spell bound with the backdrop of the sea.

Exploring this stretch of the Arabian Sea is bound to turn out to be quite captivating.

Read Also the beaches in the South Canara’s Coast

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