Indian food now simmers in the cafeterias of many high-tech companies in Silicon Valley. Indian shops are sprinkled throughout San Jose, and Bollywood is a household word.
When the first high-tech emigrants from the Indian subcontinent moved to the area about 40 years ago, few imagined that one day samosas and chutney would be as ubiquitous as tacos and chow mein. Now, India's influence is so prevalent in San Jose, it's easy to steep yourself in the culture without leaving city limits.
San Jose is about 50 miles south of San Francisco on U.S. 101. A great way to begin the trip is to take the Capitol Expwy. E. exit. Head right on Aborn Rd. and then left on Murillo Ave. to Sikh Gurdwara. From the temple's terraces, you'll have a spectacular view of downtown San Jose.
Sikh Gurdwara Visitors can meditate under the temple's golden dome, enjoy a free vegetarian meal from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily in the adjoining kitchen, or just look around. INFO: 3636 Murillo Ave.; 408/274-9373.
Indian Movie Center 6 Kick back with a masala chai and chaat (savory snacks), and take in the sizzling beats and melodrama of Bollywood. INFO: $8; 1433 The Alameda; 408/603-4700.
South India Fine Arts Classical music and dance performances by renowned Indian artists take place most weekends at the Anthony Soto Theatre. INFO: From $20; 701 Vine St.; 408/666-9343.
Amber India The lunch buffet tempts with fragrant aromas and sheer volume, and typically includes warm breads, fritters, dal, curries, and saffron rice. INFO: $$; 377 Santana Row, Ste. 1140; 408/248-5400.
Chaat Café Indian fast food in a vibrant setting. Exotic wraps and samosas are a specialty. INFO: $; 834 Blossom Hill Rd.; 408/225-2233.
Kumud The grocery offers several kinds of fresh roti (bread), packaged dishes such as butter chicken, and traditional favorites like bitter gourds and curry leaves. INFO: 4436 Pearl Ave.; 408/979-9229.
At Ayoma LifeSpa (closed Mon; treatments from $55; in the Hotel Valencia Santana Row; 408/423-5424), one of a handful of ayurvedic spas in the country, consultants will help you find which of the three doshas (temperaments) - air, fire, or earth-water - you have as you relax in the Indus lounge. Services based on ayurveda, a 5,000-year-old Indian healing system, include oil therapies, wellness massages, and skin-care treatments keyed to your dosha type.