Dr. Burak Akçapar, Former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Turkey to India

“India is a living and breathing example of cultural harmony and a perfect destination for an exotic vacation”

Conversation with Dr. Burak Akçapar when he was posted in Delhi as Ambassador Of Turkey to India

Travel Within India Is Scintillating ……..

I have realized from the get-go that I couldn’t understand India just by sitting in my comfortable ambassadorial office in New Delhi. I have become a travelling ambassador. I have visited many places thus far, including Mumbai, Hyderabad, Goa, Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow, Bangalore, Aligarh, Rishikesh, Khajurao, Varanasi, Agra and many many more. There are so many other places in my list which I plan to visit in the near future.

His Love For Indian Food

I have tasted many Indian dishes in stylish Indian restaurants. Yet the best Indian food is the food served at the homes of our Indian friends. A regular at The Karim’s in Old Delhi, he loves the Butter Chicken there.

His Famous Favs…

• Favourite markets

Khan Market is very close to where I live and we can find several good places to shop. After shopping, there are many nice cafes and restaurants around to indulge your taste buds. I also like Chandni Chowk as Shahjahanabad is very exciting and colorful.

• Favourite restaurants

If we are not hosting and having Turkish food at home, we like to eat Indian and continental food outside. We like particularly Ritu Dalmia’s Diva and Diva Kitsch. She is very creative yet masterfully preserving of the original taste.

• Favourite city in India?

Delhi is home to me now. It’s also a microcosm of India. As you say, ‘Dilli me, bahut accha lagta hai’.

• Favourite places to see ?

Indian architecture is amazing also carrying the characteristics of my own Central Asian Turkish heritage. My shortlist would include: Chowmalla Palace in Hyderabad; Rastrapathi Bhavan in Delhi; Gangaikonda Cholapuram in Tamil Nadu; Khajuraho temples in MP; Buland Darwaza at Fatehpur Sikri in UP; Taj Mahal; Jama Masjid and Qutub Minar in Delhi.

Any Wish ?

I love India as it is. But, I wish there were more direct flights from more destinations between Turkey and India. We need more connectivity between India and Turkey. Turkish Airlines flies only once a day from Delhi and Mumbai. Increased frequency and destinations will not only boost the tourism sectors in both countries but would also pave the way for a better understanding between our peoples.

And some more Turkish restaurants would be good.

His Tips for fellow foreign traveler visiting India?

I advise people to plan a long and multi destination trip. There are very qualified travel agencies in India and Turkey; plan and book through them and check with them for comfort and safety tips and measures. Read the travel advisories by the Embassy and contact either the Embassy or the two Turkish consulates general in Mumbai and Hyderabad.

Bring a good camera and take lots of pictures. India makes everyone a photo artist. India will fascinate, surprise, tantalize and delight you in every way. Come prepared!

India is absolutely incredible. The saying is that “India grows on you”. I think that may be just right.

To Conclude

On a parting note, I tease him whether he would like to settle in India permanently.

“Why not?” He quips with a smile. “But I am a wandering nomad who is likely to settle back in my birthplace after several decades long eventful odyssey across the world.”

According to him, 5 Must Do Indian things

There’s hardly any Indian thing that I haven’t done or seen already. But for the others no shortlist should exclude Yoga Ayurveda; if you are not vegetarian, eating butter chicken at Karim’s in old Delhi; attend an Indian wedding; get covered in paint at Holi; attend Aarti at Ganga river in Varanasi; take a walk at Lodhi Garden with your beloved ones and pet.


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