Turkey d7 / Konya / Dervishes ~

This morning we got up early because the Cultural Ministery gave us special permission to film at Rumi’s tomb before opening hours – before the hordes of worshippers descended on the place.

Rumi's mosque - sunrise

For Sufis it’s perhaps their most sacred site – and we had it all to ourselves for an hour this morning.

Rumi's tomb.clear

We then returned to the hotel – a boutique hotel right opposite the main mosque – and had one of the most extraordinary breakfasts I’ve ever had –

Breakfast Hich Hotel

We then went our separate ways for a few hours – Jen and I wandered around the town and then came back to the hotel and had a nap – Zeyno, Fatih and Priyanka also had a kip – before reconvening at 3pm to meet the head of the Rumi Foundation in Konya.

The gentleman couldn’t speak English, however based on a question I asked him, he  spent quite a bit of time drawing a diagram to show me what happened to your soul after you die.

Drawing diagram of soul

We then went to Shams tomb – Shams was the man who most influenced Rumi in the mid 13th century – and is referenced by Rumi in quite a bit of his poetry. HIs tomb is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Shams' Tomb

After all this tomb action, we were hungry, so we went and had a traditional Koyna early dinner at a fabulous restaurant, generously hosted by Zeyno and Fatih.

Here is a photo of two of our cooks –

Two women cooks

After the lunner (lunch/dinner), we then made our way to a huge modern stadium where there was to be a large public Whirling Dervish dance ritual.

It was held in a large indoor arena – like for rock concerts or indoor sports games. The place was packed, and while the Whirling Dervishes were polished and highly professional, it smacked more of entertainment rather than a deeply humbling spiritual experience, such as we’d witnessed in that outer suburban hall in Istanbul.

Whirling Dervishes Konya

Dervishes were originally ascetics. Like Indian sadhus. They were very much like Franciscan monks, renouncing all material possessions and largely begging for food.

Rumi is said to have begun the Whirling ceremony (Sema) – a form of movement meditation designed to bring the practitioner (the Semazen) closer to God. Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia:

In the symbolism of the Sema ritual, the semazen’s camel’s hair hat (sikke) represents the tombstone of the ego; his wide, white skirt (tennure) represents the ego’s shroud. By removing his black cloak (hırka), he is spiritually reborn to the truth. At the beginning of the Sema, by holding his arms crosswise, the semazen appears to represent the number one, thus testifying to God’s unity. While whirling, his arms are open: his right arm is directed to the sky, ready to receive God’s beneficence; his left hand, upon which his eyes are fastened, is turned toward the earth. The semazen conveys God’s spiritual gift to those who are witnessing the Sema. Revolving from right to left around the heart, the semazen embraces all humanity with love. The human being has been created with love in order to love. Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi says, “All loves are a bridge to Divine love. Yet, those who have not had a taste of it do not know!”

Wiki link:

It’s a fascinating ceremony – and the Dervishes have to undergo intense preparation and cleansing before they can become Semazens.

The more I learn about Sufism, the more I feel aligned to it. In fact, I feel very aligned to Konya. I feel comfortable here…

This evening we said goodbye to Priyanka. She had to return to Istanbul for work. She said she might join us on part of the Indian tour, which would be fabulous.

Here is her jewellery website. She’s a very clever young lady –

Priyanka CU

11 thoughts on “Turkey d7 / Konya / Dervishes ~

  1. Hi Bill – thanks so much for this wonderful post and particularly for sharing the photo of Shams’ tomb. I had no idea that Rumi is believed to have begun the Whirling Ceremony. I hope that your interview with the head of the Rumi Foundation went really well and that you were able to get significant footage from the interview.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenny,
      How’s the shoulder? Are you still planning on the bicycle camino or does coming to India sound like a good plan. You’d get to meet a lot of us from the blog!!!!!! And we’d get to meet you!!!! Hope the shoulder is better or atleast less painful.


      • Hi Lynda –

        Thanks so much for your enquiry about my shoulder and your good wishes … it hadn’t had any bone knitting in the month since the injury so the week before last saw me having surgery to pin and plate the broken collarbone. There was no choice but to have the surgery and it’s a good thing as it’s fast-tracking my recovery. The pain is finally lessening and each day I feel a little stronger.

        My plan is still to do my bike camino – it’s been my dream for a couple of years now and I would hate to let Mike down. I’m starting to work on my fitness again and so I hope that I’ll be strong enough by the time I go. Having said this though, if the specialist tells me ‘no’ I won’t be ignoring his advice and if that’s the case India is a definite. I’ll know more in five weeks after my next review. Janet came over for a visit yesterday and we spoke at length about India and it really does sound completely wonderful – I’d LOVE to spend time with you and Dale, Steve and Jill and others from our PGS family. It would be so, so special and hooly dooly, would we have fun!!!

        ‘Hoping that all is well with you and Dale –
        Jenny xx

        Liked by 1 person

        • Jenny,
          Just to start you thinking. . . . .
          If you read Angie’s blog about Jennifer’s coffee correcto, I’m planning on taking the makings of the correcto part! Hooly Dooly!
          I knowthe trip is supposed to be a spiritual thing but “spirits” of all kinds should be enjoyed too!
          Ha! Ha!

          Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jenny, my goodness I didn’t realise you were in such pain still. You poor thing. it’s incredible how just one moment can impact your life so severely. Actually I was told by someone here that Rumi popularised the Whirling ceremony, but reading further I think it’s genesis predates him. Irrespective, it’s an incredibly beautiful spiritual experience, even just to watch it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bill,
    Priyanka’s designs are just beautiful and very different from the average usual jewelry. We should have her design a small scallop shell to represent the camino.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lynda, I notice that some of my reply comments aren’t coming up on this blog. I replied to this saying that I did discuss this with her – that there would be a market for Camino jewellery that was well made and different…


      • Hi Bill – Priyanka’s jewellery is very beautiful and it would be wonderful to see a range of Camino jewellery that’s creative in design. Priyanka would have an international market with it .and it could be the start of something really major for her

        Liked by 1 person

        • I agree Jenny – although from what I can gather she already has a big market internationally. For instance her jewellery sells at Harvey Nicols, in London – very upmarket!!

          Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.