Exclusive: Short Escapes with Aakash Chopra

The big game might be keeping the cricketer and commentator busy, but it doesn't stop him from experiencing new travel experiences
Image courtesy: via Aakash Chopra on Facebook

Cricketer and commentator Aakash Chopra has interests besides sports – travelling. Whilst the cricket season is keeping him busy chasing the game across cities, it does not stop him from seeking new travel experiences. In this exclusive tête-à-tête with Lonely Planet India, Chopra shares his love for new tastes, sights and smells as he travels across the cities where the big game is being played. Excerpts:

What are your favourite travel memories of Ahmedabad?

Sabarmati Riverfront is a must visit. I was there on my last trip to Ahmedabad and it remains special. If you’re in Gujarat, it’s criminal not to indulge in a Gujarati thali! I like the sweet in my daal and do try out other Gujju delicacies like the dhokla, or thepla. In the summer heat, it’s a must to have along with a glass of masala buttermilk. Indulge. Agashiye is a wonderful restaurant to pamper your taste buds.

What are the best spots to visit in beer-city, Bengaluru for a fun evening?

I’m not so much of a nightlife person, but UB City next to Marriott has a wonderful foodcourt. You’ll get to try all kinds of cuisine. But in case you want to spend an evening with friends just chilling out, I’d highly recommend the Hard Rock Café. It’s located in the heart of the city and is serviced by a good staff.

After an exciting game of cricket at Mohali what asli Punjabi khana would you like to eat in Chandigarh?

Authentic Punjabi cuisine is what I’d highly recommend. If you’re a veggie, shahi paneer and dal makhani (in winter it’s sarson ka saag and makki ki roti) and if you like your meat then butter chicken it is. Sector 16 market is a must visit.

For life outside Chepauk in Chennai, share your to-do list.

Marina Beach! Hit it as soon as you land (go there after 3pm or 4pm). South Indian food is, once again, a must – Rawa masala dosa followed by an original filter coffee. I also quite like Little Italy in Chennai, close to the Taj Coromandal, Nungambakkam. Authentic Italian food in Chennai isn’t that bad an option to exercise.


Cricketer and commentator Aakash Chopra has other interests besides sports, and that's travelling
Image courtesy: via Aakash Chopra on Facebook

What are the five best dishes you won’t miss on a food hunt while in Delhi

Chat at UPSC; Keventers Milk Shake; Pind Baluchi or Punjabi by Nature for Moghlai food; Paranthas for breakfast at Parantha Wali Gali, Chandni Chowk; Sita Ram ke Chole Bhaturey Karol Baug; and Italian at Big Chill.

What are your three best things to do in Hyderabad, the former home of the Kohinoor diamond?

Hussain Sagar Lake – a walk overlooking the lake or hitch a ride in one of the boats; visit the Charminar, for sure. Buy biscuits from Karachi Bakery; Pearl shopping.

What offerings of the City of Joy, Kolkata, can’t you resist besides its special Eden Garden cricket fans?

Misto Dahi and Sondesh, try different flavours. It’s yum! Kali Mata temple can get very crowded. So be extra careful. Take a walk on the Park Street to absorb the culture of Bengal – books everywhere, a cobbler sitting on the pavement and infinite shops selling wraps (rolls) of different kinds.

In the city of Bollywood and money, Mumbai, what are the 3 best places for a sundowner with the boys?

Marine Drive (Queen’s Necklace) – a drive anytime of the day; Gateway of India in the evening (post dusk) – the lighting will make you go ‘wow’; Race Course is a great place for people who admire the most graceful animal on this planet.

In the sea swept city of Visakhapatnam, what do you do on an evening after a game of cricket?

Beach front – just go for a walk every evening and enjoy the sea breeze; visit the Submarine – will remind you how blessed you are; take the cable car, go to the top of the mountain, enjoy great views and pay your respect to Lord Shiva, if you are the religious kind.

Now enjoy your favourite game even more by learning about quick facts and top highlights of the destination city. Our city-wise travel guides are free and easily downloadable. Start here: http://bit.ly/CricketintheCity

AUTHOR'S BIO: Sudha is a senior commissioning editor with Lonely Planet India.