My Favorite Travel Agent in Turkey

Article by: Chip Conley|@ChipConley

Wed December 12, 2012 | 00:00 AM

As seen on  AFAR

You don’t have to come to Konya in the middle of December to see a Whirling Dervish ceremony as they have Saturday evening presentations year-round at the Mevlana Cultural Center (Rumi is also known as Mevlana, “our master”). I was able to get a guide and tickets through a well-run Turkish travel agency named Dos Plumas Travel that’s owned by an expat Texan.

The advantage of coming during the annual festival is there’s lots of pomp and circumstance associated with Rumi during that particular ten-day period, including vendors selling all kinds of Rumi tchotchkes. In fact, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was scheduled to meet Turkey’s Prime Minister for the closing ceremonies on December 17 this year. But, prices for hotel rooms jump 50% during this time and it’s a pretty punishing time of year weather-wise (cold and the potential for snow).

Rumi wrote, “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field. I will meet you there.” So, don’t be paralyzed by deciding when to go, just go as it’s such a sublime experience – visually and spiritually. In these photos, you see the Semazen preparing for the whirl and doing the initial circle walk (know as the “Devri Veledi”) which the Basi leads them in as they circle each other three times and give selams (greetings) which is accompanied by a sweet musical prelude. In fact, the brief first three parts that happen before this include a eulogy to the Prophet, the striking of the kudum (drum) which represents the creation of the universe, and the lyrical ney taksim (sound of a reed flute which represents the Divine Breath.