Situated on the Chennai – Bangaluru National Highway, the city of Ambur is not very famous for its tourism and it is absolutely understandable if you haven’t ever heard of it being touted as one. However, it is well known to those who are into the leather business, since Ambur is also called the Leather City and is credited with tons of export of finished leather products, such as shoes and bags. It is home also to leather manufacturing and training institutes.
The leather industry churns out leather products for big companies such as, Hush Puppies, Woodland, Gucci and so on. The leather market is a thriving place right opposite the Ambur railway station. Some products are export rejected due to very tiny faults that sometimes are not even known or visible to anyone. These products, especially shoes are then sold at much lower rates and hence Ambur is a great place to shop for leather items. Shop after shop are lined with shoes, bags, belts and wallets and once you enter anyone of them, it is difficult to come out empty handed. That is because the quality is good, prices reasonable and lots of designs and variety to choose from. All this for the lay shopping person, however, for those dealing in business items, a stop at Ambur could well mean finding contacts and manufacturers in business.
The narrow street where the shops are located, tell the story of street shopping in India. The manufacturers, who export to renowned companies all over the world, sit in these overcrowded outlets, with helpers who have been with them for years. The street outside is filled with motorcycles and autos and children from the madrasa are seen walking happily in their white kurtas and cap. There are cycle pullers, tiny pan shops and other items sold along this entire stretch of the street and the main road that faces the station. It seems most of the business activity takes place around this area.
However, it not only business alone in Ambur for it is also well known to those who are die hard Biryani fans. Ambur is famous for it’s absolutely mouth watering biryani.
A Muslim dominated city, Ambur is known for its Biryani and people travelling on the NH 46 sometimes make it a point to stop at Ambur and have a delicious Biryani meal for lunch.
Served on leaves or pattas (the South Indian equivalent of a plate), the waiter plants generous loads of the curd salad and brinjal chutney to be eaten alongside the biryani. At first when I took a look at the bowl serving biryani for one person, I was quite sure I would find it difficult to wipe off the entire serve. But to my surprise I did, since the biryani was great, rich in spices and meat. The flavours burst in my mouth and the chutney and salad enhanced the taste.
Photo by Aleksandr Zykov
The meat is soft and the rice well flavoured, as the biryani scores a perfect ten and keep you asking for more. Honestly, it is not only the taste of the biryani but also the unique way in which it is served that give your meal a whole new look and experience.
If you are travelling from Bangaluru to Chennai or vice versa, make sure you do not give the Ambur Biryani a miss.
Ambur is also a train stop on many trains plying to and fro Chennai and Bangaluru. However, the ride on the national highway is also fun, with hills in the background and coconut trees along the sides. The highway is well maintained and is a pleasant ride.
I had not really heard about Ambur, until I visited it on my way back from Yelagiri. Ambur is not a tourist destination by itself, but is a definite stop for a couple of hours ( lunch hours included preferably), when you are travelling anywhere around Chennai or Bangaluru.