Weddings: A new bridge between India and Turkey
BARÇIN YİNANÇWedding ceremonies are important anywhere in the world, but if we talk about weddings in India; that is a case apart. The very basic fact the global gold market keeps an eye on India’s wedding season is revealing enough for itself. Reading the impact of India’s wedding season on global markets in the economy pages is one thing, but personally witnessing it; you understand why it has such an impact.
Nayan and Hina Mirani, the parents of the
groom seen during the religious ceremony,
which lasts three hours (up). The groom
Tanmay Mirani (c) poses with his parents.
Attending a wedding in Udaipur in Western India of a family from Mumbai, took me to my childhood. My father comes from a large family in Eastern Anatolia. So I spent part of my summers as a child attending the weddings of my elder cousins. Just like the ones in India, they used to last for a couple of days. Just like in India, having henna in your hands ahead of the final ceremony is, for instance, among the ritual.
So I was not surprised at all to hear that Turkey, despite its distance to the country, had recently become one of the most popular destinations for Indians organizing their weddings. Historic Istanbul with the Bosporus; Cappadocia with its magical setting and Antalya with its holiday resorts are the three most preferred destinations for weddings. Besides being an exotic choice, the cultural affinity between the two countries, especially regarding the wedding tradition, makes Turkey one of the best options to accommodate to the needs of a traditional Indian wedding.
Dhara Patel is accompanied by her
relatives to greet his husband to be
“More than 95,000 Indian tourists visited our country in 2013,” Burak Akçapar, Turkey’s ambassador to New Delhi, said to me. This means a sevenfold increase in the last 10 years.
“The number of tourists visiting our country increases by 20 percent each year. With the implementation of the e-visa system settling down this year we expect an explosion,” said Akçapar adding, “The numbers in our hands as of mid-June indicate that there will be a 57 percent increase in the number of visas issued for travelling to Turkey in 2014.”
The wedding organizations of some Indian families in Turkey, as well as the shooting of Indian movies, have a multiplier effect in the promotion of the country, said Akçapar.
The challenge remains in the transport, since flights between India and Turkey are already fully saturated. There are, in fact, efforts to increase twofold Turkish Airlines (THY) weekly 7 flights to New Delhi and Mumbai and start flights to new destinations in India, according to the Turkish envoy. As 14 million Indian tourists travel abroad each year, the increase in the number of THY flights will enable Turkey to welcome more tourists from India. THY as a global brand not only contributes to the promotion of Turkey as a touristic destination it also contributes to India’s economy by carrying 250,000 travelers to India each year.