The Batken province in Kyrgyzstan is a harsh environment, surrounded by rocky mountains with scarce water resources. According to local legend, where water is revered, three kings had a power dispute. The king living upstream blocked the head of an important stream, “Suu Bashy”, cutting off water to everyone downstream. Many years later, a man decided to find the lost Suu Bashy. He went to the place his elders had described in the legend, which was marked by an old tree, and there he discovered the source. Although Islam is the predominant religion in Kyrgyzstan, Kyrgyz people also practice Tengriism, characterized by elements of shamanism, animism and ancestor-worshiping. Water, especially from mountain springs, is one of the main deities of Tengriism, and the Kyrgyz people still practice emdoo, a ritual for the purification of a child. Nowadays, the Suu Bashy is considered a sacred place by locals. People come here from downstream villages to worship and thank God for blessing their families with clean water from the mountains.
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