It was Monday morning 5 am, and we were all set to hit the road towards Chennai. We knew the only stops along the way would be for food and loo breaks, plus fuel. The roads were near empty as we exited Bangalore, the only traffic we encountered for a while were trucks carrying windmill blades. I love watching these trucks drive by, the blades are so long and massive, makes me feel minuscule. Set against the morning light, they glowed.

There are two possible routes: the first route is via Hosur and Krishnagiri, and the second route is via Hoskote and Chittoor. The Hosur-Krishnagiri route is the shorter of the two routes, but it is also the more congested cos it is preferred by most travellers. The Hoskote-Chittoor route is longer, but it is less congested and offers more scenic views.

We took the Krishnagiri route. The roads between Bangalore and Chennai were mostly in good condition, but there are some sections that can be bumpy and potholed [from Ambur and then from Ranipet, the roads were bad, and some repair work was going on].

We drove past Krishnagiri, and a few other places before stopping for places at a small hotel along the highway called Saravana Bhavan, though we knew it had nothing to do with the original HSB brand. Well, it was a small place, but boy oh boy, the food was delicious. Piping hot pongal, vada and fresh off-the-steamer idli along with a nice cuppa filter kaapi was served. For company we had a dog and 2 cute tiny pups curled up and sleeping. Refreshed, we hit the road once again.

We were approaching Vellore, which is the midpoint between Bangalore & Chennai. Vellore is a town known for its historical monuments, including the Vellore Fort and the Jalakanteshwara Temple. With no need for a break, we drove on towards Ambur and that is where the roads got bad. The bridge that I knew was under repair and so we had to make do with what was available. After filling fuel, we crossed Sriperumbudur. This town is located just outside of Chennai, and it is home to the Sri Ranganathaswami Temple, one of the largest Hindu temples in the world. The town rose to fame with Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination & Nokia factory You will cross a tall statue of Rajiv Gandhi on the highway. From there, as expected traffic was quite heavy, and it crawled all the way to Poonamallee High Road.

A friend in Bangalore suggested we take a diversion, heading towards OMR, and make a stop at The Farm for lunch before heading home. This way, we will get to beat the traffic and explore the beautiful space and food. but as luck would have it, the place is shut on Mondays & Tuesdays. So, we had to weave through the heavy traffic all the way to PH Road and to Gramma’s home. Reached around 12ish and was greeted at the door by my parents.

The next 4days were going to be in Chennai…  While we didn’t really have a fixed agenda, there were a couple of things we wanted to do, including meeting a few friends, completing some pending tasks and of course spending time with family [ my uncle & aunt from the US had come down, plus P was meeting my family for the 1st time]

How we spent our time in Chennai
1. Met a friend for dinner at Cakebee – amazing food and space.
2. Driving along the Marina beach, all the way to Fort St George, along the Checkerboard Napier bridge…
3. Had to squeeze in a visit to the Dermatologist [ cos P got a major allergy breakout]
4. Did some touristy things with my uncle and aunt – Dakshin Chitra, Mahabalipuram, and a day in Pondicherry [included a heritage walk, catching the sunrise at the beach & catching up with a dear friend].
5. P managed to meet a biker buddy and do a quick night bike ride.[testing out a new bike]
6. Shopped quite a bit [for us & friends in Pune]
7. Went out for breakfast where P got to try Fried ice cream- Sangeetha Apoorva, Nungambakkam [something I’ve been wanting for him to experience]
8. Enjoying our stay in Chennai, having the apartment to ourselves & exploring the neighbourhood cafes.
9. Met more friends for dinner at Entrance Cfe – beautiful space, mixed bag when it came to food
10. Having multiple cups of filter kaapi – both at home and outside.

Overall, it was one jam-packed trip alright. every day by the time we hit the bed, we were fairly exhausted but had a big smile on our faces. The days were fun, with plenty of amazing conversations, and experiences, meeting so many friendly dogs and the delicious food and company of good people.
Were there things we wanted to do but couldn’t? Yes
Were there people we wanted to meet but couldn’t? Yes
Did we have a blast doing all we did? Yes!!

Well, it was Friday night, and we were winding up our Chennao trip, packing our bags and getting ready to hit the road the next morning. The return journey was going to be via Hyderabad… We had booked ourselves a room at the Holiday Inn Express, Banjara Hills and looked forward to exploring Hyderabad by the night.

Stay tuned for the last leg of our journey..

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