Trip to Hyderabad and Chennai, India

Aaron Newcomer
Nov 21 · 9 min read

I recently had the opportunity to visit our software development partners in India. Gathi Analytics — the company who has helped us create our Modern Data Platform and given us some powerful tools and resources to store, model and present our large amounts of data — sponsored the trip to help extend the relationship between our companies and allow our teams to get better acquainted.

Gathi’s India team is based in Hyderabad, Telangana, India which is right in the middle of the northern part of South India. I flew over on British Airways and found a nice flight out of Pittsburgh which allowed just a single connection in London. It takes about a full 24 hours of travel to get there but I was able to get some sleep on the flights and catch up on a couple things on the computer so it really was not too bad. It helped that they flew me over Business Class which made it much more enjoyable.

One of the first things I noticed when I arrived was all of the dedication put into plants and trees and shrubbery along some of the roads. The whole 40-minute ride on the freeway from the airport to my hotel was lined with manicured trees and flowering plants. It’s part of the GHMC urban forest project. It reminded me of how a road would be in the most expensive areas of Florida. My hotel also had a green space where the entire wall was covered in plants and flowers.

The next thing I noticed was the juxtaposition between the old and new. Hyderabad is an old city that is transforming into a modern technology hub.

The Old
The New

The city is growing extremely fast. Millions of people are moving to the area. Because of this there is a lot of construction is happening. There are easily hundreds of tech complexes and apartment building being constructed in HITECH city — the tech center of Hyderabad.

Construction everywhere
View outside my hotel window

Gathi put me up in the ITC Kohenur, a luxury hotel owned by the Indian Tobacco Company. It was a very nice modern hotel with all the amenities one could ask for. It was full of excellent food and service and made the long trip away from home a little easier.

I spent the majority of my time in Hyderabad with Srinivas and Vinit and spent time with their team to better understand their processes and explain ours in more detail. Their office is in the Mindspace Madhapur IT Park which is a tech complex of multiple buildings.

We ate so much good food. And everyone eats a LOT! Hyderabad is famous for a rice dish called Biryani which is cooked with saffron and other spices and has lamb or chicken on the bone mixed in. My hotel also had a fancy chocolate shop in it which we may have visited a few too many times. One of the barbecue-style restaurants we ate at had emu and shark as an option (seen in the little red bowls below) which I obviously had to try to add to my list of exotic foods I have eaten.

Vinit and Srinivas were very good hosts and gave me a very good overview of the food, culture and sights of Hyderabad.

We visited a couple palaces…

And the Salar Jung Museum which is the largest single-man collection in the world.

Everywhere we went had a LOT of traffic.

And it was just as busy at night as in the daytime.

There were a lot more motorcycles and scooters on the road than cars. and people would bring the whole family on them!

It was definitely great to meet the whole team that works on our projects and put faces to the names I see in our online chats! Thank you Gathi for this opportunity!

Srinivas, KrishnaBhargavi, Aishwarya, Aaron, Sapthagiri, Balaraju

Journey to Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

We also work with another company with a development team in India.

Sesh and Suresh from TechAffinity heard I was coming to India and got the approval to sponsor an additional day to my journey to bring me down to Chennai to visit their offices. They have been working on custom web development projects for us for a couple years now.

It was a short flight down to Chennai and the very first thing I noticed was how much hotter it was. Hyderabad was pretty warm, but Chennai was hot! It was about 100°F with about 99% humidity. They told me that in the summertime it can get up to about 122°F and during the middle of the day people don’t even go outside. It also rains a lot more here. A few years ago they had some flooding which caused some areas to be covered under 7 feet of water. Many of the tech complexes were damaged from that but TechAffinity’s building was not affected much.

They put me up in the ITC Grand Chola which is another luxury hotel in the area. The president of China even stayed here on his visit to India a few years ago.

Chennai is famous for its “filter coffee” and the people here eat a lot more south Indian style food than in Hyderabad.

Sesh and Suresh showed me around their offices and we were able to have some discussions around our future partnerships with them as our most recent project is nearing an end.

The TechAffinity team who has worked on our project
Suresh has a fancy view outside his office!

That evening we drove down out of the city into a slightly more rural area where the roads were used by cows just as much as cars. We drove along the Bay of Bengal on the Indian Ocean.

They took me to visit the Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram which is a collection of 7th- and 8th-century religious monuments in the coastal resort town of Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu, India and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The giant boulder is known as Krishna’s Butterball. Scientists say the way it’s been sitting defies gravity and hundreds of years ago they actually tried to move it with 7 elephants but it would not budge. The story of it is that Krishna really enjoys butter and was eating a big pat of it and this little stone (in comparison to him) was in it and he spat it out.

Overall it was a very good trip where I was able to meet both of our teams we work with in India and learn a lot more about the culture of the area. Thanks again to Gathi and TechAffinty for showing me around and being so hospitable!

-Aaron Newcomer, Sr. Software Engineering Manager for InterDesign, Inc.

Aaron Newcomer

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Web Developer | Photographer | Researcher

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