The Great Circular Indian Bread Challenge

The GCIRC R&D squad have moved on from the minor trivia of trying to work out the rail schedule, we’ve sent that conundrum off to Deep Thought for some thorough testing. The current hot topic is food. In view of the splendid variety of circular starch based supplements on offer to the hungry traveler, “The Great Circular Indian Bread Challenge” has been announced as a sub-contest for the subcontinent.  The concept is to eat as many different kinds of bread as you can manage in the 2 weeks, plus an award for the best bread of the trip, though I suspect that will go to the one with the nearest oven with the bread still deflating as it hits your plate. We’ve so far listed about 16 basic bread types, with over 100 sub types. I am awaiting the list of 44 different basic dosa types it is claimed exist, which we will be attempting to devour on our 12 hour stop in Chennai, regional capital of the Masala Dosa. I know dosas are made of rice before you start getting technical on me, but we’ll probably be sick of the sight of bhakri, chapatti, dhirde, gulachi poli, luchi , naan, paani puri, phulka, pooranpoli, puri , radha pollobi, sheerma, thalipeeth, thepla, all kinds or roti, even more of paratha,  and countless  kachori by the time we hit Madras, and so a dosa fest will make a convenient change. Many of the breads we’ve listed arent made of wheat flour anyway.

We’ve also located a number of circular eateries, including a revolving restaurant in Jammu Tawi that looks like it was designed by Gerry Anderson, and this splendid circular coffee house in Trivandrum. We’ll certainly be taking tiffin in the coffee house. We’ll need a security briefing before we make any decisions about Jammu.

I’ll be compiling the research team’s findings into sub pages to the Route section of the site once we have sufficient data. We have agents in the field as I write who are assessing Gujarat and we hope to have the whole gastronomic route reconnoitered by end of Q1 2010.

The party now stands at 15, including several real life engine drivers!, and I am expecting the league of Indian computer programmers to start filling up seats before long.



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17 responses to “The Great Circular Indian Bread Challenge

  1. skk

    Nice pic. For some reason that India Coffee House Building picture reminded me instantly ( geddit?) of the Capitol Records building in Los Angeles –

    If you find your interest in round, ribbed tall buildings a trifle unhealthy and need to discuss it, never fear – we now have a psychiatrist on board ! So, your list now stands at 16.


  2. skk

    Never mind about food, got INR 20 lakhs lying around, spare – but refundable ? That’s what Indian Railways requires before it will let me access their API/Web-services to their dynamic timetable. There’s a hint that their static data – the Trains At A, Glance ( TAAG) in electronic form basically lives as CSV files ! Now.. where’s the ftp URI for that ? Anybody ?

    No worries – I’ve managed to put together all the trains, indexed by train number into a DB, and the rest is going to follow in due cours – But, I only come up with 2000 or so trains ! The wiki says that Indian Rail 9000 passenger trains daily – That’s a heck of a difference. Any ideas ?

    I’ve reached out to VSP to resolve this, of course.

    This is all in aid of doing a algorithmic optimisation of the perimeter journey round India – Djikstra algorithms, suitably modified, rulez – just in case they don’t, I have genetic algorithms in my back pocket too.


  3. skk

    Looks like I have the end of the static data ETL phase – the static timetable data acquisition, all 2000 trains, cleansing, validation and loading into a DB in sight. Another couple of days or so and it will be done. Onto the fun part – the math part. This is going faster than I reckoned.

    • Lester

      Did you get the location data so you can work out that Chennai’s Central and Egmore are walking distance apart, and that Porbander is just down the coast from Dwarka ;), Nagercoil is taxiable from Kannyakumari, Panvel is on the metro, etc etc etc.

      • Murli

        Hi Lester, to answer one question, Madras Central to Egmore is better accessed by crossing the road across the Central and taking the Park Station (Metro connection) and hopping on to a EMU and getting off at the second stop, i.e. Park Station Board, skip Chetpet, and get off at the next Station: Madras Egmore. Faster and quicker, and you avoid the road traffic, which is quite heavy, and I think there are hardly any good footpaths. Yes, you cross the street by using a subway.

      • Murli

        Further to my post on Madras Central to Egmore, there is a train from Nagercoil to Kanyakumari and the distance is : 20 kms by rail approx. Taxis will be available. There is a daily train from Nagercoil to Kanyakumari leaving 1140 hrs arriving 1215 hrs. Leaving Kanyakumari at 0530 Train Numbers 6381 and 6382 coming from Mumbai CST and leaving for Mumbai CST !!! Regards and good wishes.

      • Lester

        Murli, thanks. We will of course be making an extensive detour via some of Chennai’s finest dosa palaces as we go from A to B.
        (I think we can only nest replies 3 deep in here).

        I think the plan has us on the rails all the time for the cape section. But there is the option of getting a taxi. Actually I think that was the previous version, we don’t actually get an overnighter in Kannyakumari with the currently advertised plan, but using rubber will be a standard contingency plan at each of the extremities if it’s gone badly wrong.

  4. Murli

    Hi re query on Metro from Panvel to Mumbai CST, here is the link

    Type in Panvel in the search box and it will throw up the various timings. Be sure to ensure that you are looking at Mumbai CST-Panvel or Panvel-MumbaiCST and not Panvel-Vashi or some stuff like that ! 🙂

    Good wishes.

  5. skk

    re: Physical distance between stations; yeah excellent point. I have placeholders in the DB for latitude and longitude and currently working through the kml ( keyhole markup language) xml schema/standard, so that I can pull that information out as needed from some .kml files I’ve seen online – I need to understand kml anyway for the google maps mashups for point-n-click methods of route selection.

    There may be other places where station lat and long information lives – Ideas ? If so, some of the kml learnings will be unnecessary but it will have been fun for sure.

    • Lester

      while you are there. my thingy to nab the delay value from these pages
      has takers, murli and steven of course.
      i’ll bet there is sommat you just config to do something as easy as this, any ideas ?.

      • skk

        I’m still in analysis mode on that one. Re:config – for the static data I just hacked my existing stuff to go for these pages. For this, this dynamic data – since its a daily task, running for days and days and feeding into other downstream tasks, I want it integrated in Sql Server Integration Services – does SSIS have web scraping components ? 2005 didn’t, but 2007 ? I’ll have to look into that.

    • Murli

      Re lats and longs, take a look at this. It’s in wikipedia…. I just typed in one station and it shows the lat and long…

      Does this help ?

      Good wishes.

      • skk

        Hey, good find – I checked out Dadar (19.01798, 72.844763) and Matunga (19.033333, 72.833333) – you don’t need to be told about Matunga, right 🙂 {I’m right, you are Tamil, right?} and they have it, with sufficient significant digits to be able to discriminate places that close – Also has Mumbai Central.. also Mumbai CST/VT/छत्रपती शिवाजी टर्मिनस ,
        and Mumbai central ( 18.970586, but that’s in the wrong place but no worries. This will be an important resource – thanks.

        Separately, check your email. I sent you a suggestion for your problem of PDF files.


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