Turkey, of the Blue Mosque and the Grand Bazaar, of hamams and painterly ceramics, of mezze platters and baklava, is a land full of surprises. This year, it’s also the setting for the Kingfisher Calendar 2015—the glamorous swimwear shoot was lensed in Bodrum, Cappadocia, and Pamukkale. Photographer Atul Kasbekar, who shoots the calendar every year, says, “Being a location-driven shoot, we always look for places that evoke the feeling of living in good times. Turkey was Dr (Vijay) Mallya’s suggestion and it’s really perfect. Beautiful locations, great weather, and amazing hotels and food— there’s a little bit of everything here.”
While the capital Istanbul, its streets choc-a-block with tourists, is Turkey’s most popular destination, Bodrum is the crown jewel of the Turkish Riviera. This bayside district’s cerulean, yacht-lined waters, and a skyline filled with luxury hotels like the Mandarin Oriental and Kuum Hotel & Spa, offer a getaway for everyone from Beyoncé to Nicole Kidman. Must visit: Don’t leave Turkey without visiting Pamukkale (Turkish for ‘cotton castle’), a UNESCO World Heritage Site best known for its calcium- and minerals-enriched thermal springs. Enjoy a warm soak in the bubbling waters or a mud bath, following which you can head to the historical ruins of Hierapolis located not far from the springs— the two sites together were part of the ancient spa town founded around the second century BC.