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37 Benazir Bhattu 

Welcome to this website which relates to the birth of Gastronomic landmark “ The Aakash” the largest Indian Restaurant in the world at the time of opening, with its 860 seats in two tears an ample car park accommodating 120 spaces for customers. This website is an effort to explain you how a magnificent but derelict and dying building for a congregational chapel from the eighteenth century was transformed in to the world’s largest Indian restaurant.

 

At the grand opening of the Aakash it attracted huge interest from national and international media. It was officially opened by the Lord Lieutenant of west Yorkshire Mr John Lyles on 9th of July 2001, followed by a special Royal visit by HRH Duke of Kent on 2nd November 2001. It was a great honour for Aakash that just a few months apart it had 2 grand inaugurations ceremonies with huge publicity generated all over the world. On both occasions guests included local dignitaries, Councillors, Businessmen, Celebrities and representatives of the national and international media were invited to commemorate the events and sample the taste of an original Indian buffet. Both of these celebrations were very successful in generating huge publicity for the Aakash.

 

The following are a few noteworthy comments from the media on and around the Aakash was opened:

 

If they have curry houses in haven I expect they look a lot like the Aakash, by Rosie Wild, metro life 18th July 2001.

 

Aakash is the Taj Mahal of curry houses. It is the eighth wonder of the world. by Rosie Wild, of Metro Life 18th July 2001.

 

The interior of Aakash just takes your breath away. by Janet Street Porter, TV critics.   

 

These astonishing comments and many more like them in the praise of the Aakash were the ultimate reward for my painstaking efforts and tireless commitment during the renovation of this magnificent Victorian architecture. I felt that it was surely a miraculous achievement to transform a derelict and dying grade 2 listed chapel building in to the “Taj Mahal of restaurant”, as described by a reporter using these exact words in a article about the Aakash.

 

I proudly manage this world famous restaurant with the help of my family for 5 years and three months. My involvement with the Aakash lasted over 8 years in total, beginning from its renovation right up to the end.

 

My corporation and partnership with the Aakash seemed to be working smoothly; each day brought  us more fame and success.  But, as they say, “a man purposes and God disposes”. On 8th October 2006, due to some unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances and personal reasons, I had to make a heart breaking decision by calling in my bank and handing over the charge of “the Aakash” to them. It had taken 8 long years to get me this far but it took only few moments to see it gone for ever. This was definitely a heartbreaking, unfortunate and tragic end to my lifelong dream.

 

Almost a year later the Aakash was re-opened by its new owners. I have not been able to visit the Aakash since it re-opened. However, I sincerely wish good luck and huge success to existing owners. As my well wishes will always remains with the Aakash.

 

I sincerely hope that if and when a future historian writes about this old chapel being transformed in to the largest Indian restaurant in the world, The Aakash, they won’t forget to mention the efforts and sacrifices endured by me and my family in bringing the Aakash to its present glory.

 

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