Cricket mania grips India all year long and the IPL in the summer is when it reaches a crescendo. Here is what you must do and what you can eat when you are in these cricket destinations.
The Silicon valley of India still has the best weather in the country and wears its heritage and culture with the same aplomb as its technology prowess. Known as the garden city, Lalbagh and Cubbon Park, the large lung spaces are a must see. Check out Vidhan Soudha, Banerghatta National Park, ISKON Temple, Tipu Sultan’s palace, Bull temple and the Venkatappa Art Gallery in Bengaluru. The Wonderla amusement park, Bangalore Palace and HAL Aerospace Museum are other places that will give you a wonderful insight to India’s most cosmopolitan city too.
Eat: Try an authentic thaali meal at Mavalli Tiffin Room in Lalbagh where you can also sample the famed Masala Dosa and Rava Idli.
The capital city is home to several historical gems. Do not miss the Red Fort, 5 stories Qutub Minar, India Gate, Humayun’s Tomb, Lotus Temple, Akshardham and the 80 acre Lodi Gardens. Walk around Old Delhi for a spot of shopping and admire the heritage architecture. The Jama Masjid, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Gandhi Smriti Museum, Jantar Mantar, Raj Ghat, Laxminarayan Temple and Iron pillar are other important sites in Delhi. Shop at Khan Market, Hauz Khas Complex, Dilli Haat and Janpath. Go on a walking tour that can get you up close with Delhi’s majestic history, hop on to a sightseeing bus or embark on a food trail, there is so much to discover in Delhi that you will always feel there is so much more to see.
Eat: Head to Paranthe Wali Gali in Chandni Chowk for authentic parathas – not just stuffed with potatoes but also eggs, kheema, cauliflower, radish, dal and even bananas.
The city of pearls, Hyderabad is home to the famous Charminar, an iconic mosque with four minarets and arches that is in the old city and a must visit. Also check out Golkonda Fort, Salar Jung Museum, Chowmalla Palace, Birla Mandir, Qutub Shahi Tombs and the iconic Nehru Zoological Park while you are here. Other places not to be skipped include the Ramoji Film City, a state of the art space for all things movies as well as the Lumbini Park that will leave kids happy. Head to Hussain Sagar for a boating experience, Shilparamam an arts and crafts village and also check out the Durgam Cheruvu, a lake and park. Do shop for pearls and perfumes in the old city.
Eat: Try the authentic Hyderabadi biryani at Cafe Bahar & Restaurant at Old MLA Quarters Road in Hyderguda.
Set on the banks of the Ganga, Kanpur was one of the important centres of the industrial revolution. While you are here check out Bithoor a pilgrim spot that played a part in the 1857 revolt and the battle of the Siege of Cawnpore. Do visit the Valmiki Ashram, Brahmavart Ghat, Patthar Ghat, Dhruva Teela, Siddhidham Ashram here. Stop by the Boodha Bargad, Kanpur Gardens, Shri Radhakrishna Temple, Jain Glass Temple, Allen Forest Zoo and Jajmau home to one of the largest tanneries in North India. Also pay a visit to the Kanpur Memorial Church and Baradevi Mandir for a spiritual fix. Referred to the Manchester of the east, Kanpur is famed for its leather products and has over 1000 tanneries which you must visit too.
Eat: Indulge your sweet tooth with traditional desserts Thaggu ke Laddu and Badnaam Kulfi at one of the six outlets at Thaggu ke Laddu.
The City of Joy, Kolkata is a wonderful place to make joyous memories. Check out its rich colonial past by visiting the Victoria Memorial, an art Indian history museum, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Fort William, The 2300 foot cantilever road Howrah Bridge, 19th century Dakshineswar Kali Temple and 19th-century cricket ground Eden Gardens. Pay obeisance at the Kalighat Kali Temple and St. Paul’s Cathedral dating back to 1847. Visit the Shaheed Minar, Birla Industrial & Technological Museum, Rabindra Sarobar, Alipore Zoological Gardens, Marble Palace, Birla Planetarium and Calcutta High Court, the country’s oldest high court started in 1862. Visiting one of the many art galleries here is a great way to understand the city’s artistic pulse.
Eat: Do not miss the Macher Jhol a Fish-curry that is a staple food at one of the Bhajahori Manna outlets.
A well known cricket venue, Mohali is a commercial hub close to Chandigarh and is fast becoming an IT Hub of the state. Since Sikhism is the main religion here, a visit to the Gurudwara Amb Sahib, Gurdwara Mata Sunder Kaur and Gurudwara Singh Shaheedan – Sohana is a good idea to understand the history of the place. Also visit the Rose Garden, Fateh Burj (India’s tallest minaret), Baba Banda Singh Bahadur War Memorial, Sikh Museum and Kila, Sohana (Ramandeep Singh) a historical landmark. A shopper’s paradise, Kanpur’s SAS Nagar has some local options like the Punjabi jutis or shoes, hand-woven carpets, woollen garments and Patiala salwars.
Eat: Sample traditional tandoori and Punjabi fare at Pal Dhaba at SCO 52, Phase 3b2 and SCO 151-152, Sector 28D
Have a dream holiday in the city of dreams, Mumbai. The financial capital of India is home to several wonders including the waterfront Indo-Saracenic triumphal arc, the Gateway of India, the ornate Victorian Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station and piligrimage site in anisaland – the Haji Ali Dargah. Check out the Elephanta Cave Temple, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Siddhivinayak Temple, EsselWorld and Chowpatty Beach. Head to the Buddhist Rock temples at Kanheri Caves, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya an art and history museum and pray at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Mount at Bandra. Drive along the Marine Drive, a 3 kilometre long boulevard to come up close with the Arabian Sea.
Eat: Street food is a must so sample Kheema Pav at Gulshan-e-Iran, Crawford Market and also Bun Maska and Mava samosa of Mervan’s, Grant road.
The Queen of the Deccan, Pune is in close proximity to Mumbai and has its own flavour. Aga Khan Palace with its infamous Gandhi prison, the 18th-century Peshwa fort with a large gate Shaniwar Wada, Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple, Mulshi Dam, Saras Baug and Raja Dinkar Kelkar Museum that houses his personal collection of artefacts must be on your Pune itinerary. Pune is also well know for the Osho International Meditation Resort, founded by the late Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and continues to blend the old and the new with a rare aplomb. With rapid urbanisation, there is still a colonial-era charm seen in some old buildings that must not be missed.
Eat: Sample the Puneri Misal a spicy preparation that has gravy with lentils and topped with fried munchies, onions and a squeeze of lime at Munjabacha Bol, Narayan Peth.
Situated in the industrial area of Gujarat, Rajkot is home to Aaji Dam, a beautiful dam site constructed during British times. Pay a visit to Kaba Gandhi No Delo, Mahatma Gandhi’s childhood residence that has been converted in to a memorial called Gandhi Smriti and has photographs, objects and belongings of Mahatma Gandhi. Also check out the Watson Museum, Rotary Dolls Museum, BAPS Shree Swaminarayan Mandir, Jubilee Garden, Indira Circle, Pradhyuman Zoological Park and Shri Ramakrishna Ashrama here. While you are here indulge the shopper in you by purchasing traditional Gujarati Bandhani sarees and mirror work and bead work dress materials at traditional market places like Dr Yagnik Road, Dharmendra Road and Gundwadi.
Eat: Local food Ganthiya is a must try and comes in different options like Fafda, Vanela and Bhavnagari at Kankai in Race Course Road.
This story appeared in the April 2017 issue of Spice Route here: 80 IPL Special-Final