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Whirling dervishes

Whirling dervish ceremony at Surahan Caravanserai

Whirling dervish ceremony at Surahan Caravanserai, Turkey

With this evening excursion you'll be taken to the large and rather grand Surahan Caravanserai, to witness a hypnotic whirling dervish ceremony. Your guide will accompany you to your seat but may not join you to watch the ceremony; instead you will meet them again afterwards in the courtyard outside, where a refreshment is served before you are returned to your hotel.

This ceremony of the Whirling Dervishes begins with a musical recitation of a verse from the Koran by a hafiza scholar who has learnt the Koran by heart. This is followed by an improvisation on a ney reed flute, accompanied by the deep boom of a kettledrum. 

The dervishes are then led around the ceremonial hall by their master, before removing their black cloaks as a symbolic act of deliverance from worldly connections. 

One by one, the dervishes begin their dance, starting with their arms folded across their chest and gradually raising one arm to Heaven, while the other points towards the ground. In this position the dervishes whirl, trancelike, around the hall in four salams, which represent the progressive journey each believer goes through, from recognition of God to the ecstasy of the surrender to divinity and peace of the heart.

The ceremony is concluded by a final recitation from the Koran and a prayer by the dervish master.

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