This weekend, from Nov. 5 -6, AYURFEST, a festival devoted entirely to introducing Ayurvedic practices, will be taking place in Bodrum. Organized by the Bodrum Municipality in conjunction with the Indian Embassy in Ankara, the festival is free to attend, will take place predominantly in Turkish and will have leading Ayurvedic experts based in Türkiye as well as speakers from all over the world discussing different Ayurvedic medicine and practices in panels held throughout Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s seminar-like panels will be held at the Bodrum Herodot Cultural Center located in Konacık, while Sunday’s events, which will include workshops on Ayurvedic practices such as teas, herbs and culinary tips, as well as stands, will take place at Bodrium Hotel & Spa in the center’s Eskiçeşme neighborhood near the archeological site of Myndos Gate.
For those who may not yet be familiar with Ayurveda, it is a system of natural medicine that originated in India over 3,000 years ago. In practice, it involves a variety of herbs and medicines from nature to detoxify and balance our bodies. In Ayurvedic medicine, it is categorized into three main different types, namely ata, kapha, and pitta, which are based on an individual’s body type, personality, and sensitivities. In Ayurveda, it is also believed that everything in the universe is composed of five elements – air, water, space, earth and fire. The practices and medicine involved are all geared toward balancing these elements.
In Türkiye, Dr. Ender Saraç, who has written multiple books and hosted television programs, is the foremost expert on holistic medicinal practices and he will be moderating the festival’s first panel, entitled “What is Ayurveda?” taking place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Also in the panel will be German expat and Ayurveda expert Ulli Allmendiger, who as an Ayurvedic nutritionist, detox expert and fitoterapist, sharing her knowledge here in Türkiye for years now. I have written multiple articles on her efforts to introduce Ayurveda to Türkiye as an expat. Each panel will be followed by a time slot for networking or a cultural event. So, in this case, there will be two hours of networking between participants from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
The panel will be all about Ayurvedic detox, moderated by Dr. Buğra Öktem, and will feature talks by Ender Saraç Ulli Allmendiger and Dr. Koshlendra Pratap, who is the doctor and wellness director from the India Association in Istanbul. For those who don’t know, however, I would like to disclose that moderator Dr. Buğra Öktem is also a leading figure in Ayurvedic medicine and not only does he have practices in different areas in Türkiye that he visits on specific days, but he also organizes Dharma Clinic and Ayurvedic Detox and Antiaging programs at hotels such as Caresse Luxury Resort & Spa in Bodrum and at the On’Live Hotel in Çeşme. This panel will be followed by a performance of traditional Indian music.
In the evening, there will be another panel to take place however it is being held for professionals working in the line of Ayurvedic medicine and therefore, registration is limited and not open to the general public.
On Saturday, the festival moves to the Bodrium Hotel and Spa and begins at noon with the set-up of stands for visitors can purchase Ayurvedic medicine-supporting products. The day's focus will be more on putting this holistic style of medicine into practice and will include workshops introducing herbal teas and a talk on aromatic oils and aromatherapy in Türkiye from noon to1:30 p.m. The next panel will be on Ayurvedic nutrition and its culinary tips.
At 2:30 p.m., there will be a question-and-answer session with doctors Ender Saraç, Buğra Öktem and Dr. Koshlendra Pratap that will be moderated by Ulli Allmendigar and Ekin İlyasoğlu, who is an ayurvedic meditation and mindfulness coach that also offers both in-person and online programs geared specifically to expats in Türkiye. From 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., there will be a beauty practices workshop, followed by a one-hour panel on working with herbs in Ayurvedic medicine. The closing session will have speakers such as Güneşin Aydemir, the founder of the Buğday Association for Supporting Ecological Living, Aysün Sökmen, the founder of the 8bin100bakkali, a website that connects customers with local producers of natural produce and products and İrem Pekiner of Save the Soil. The event and the stands will shut down at 7 p.m. on Sunday.
While attendance at both day’s events is completely free, it is advised to pre-register for your spot at the festival, which can easily be done on the website ayurfest.com.