manjyly-ata sacred springs

Manjyly-Ata (or Manzhyly Ata) valley is located at the southern shore of Lake Issyk Kul, between the villages Kaji-Sai and Ton and about 10 minute drive east from Bokonbaeva. Residents call it “the Valley of the sacred springs.” Manjyly-Ata springs have been famous for a long time and can allegedly cure everything from upset stomach to infertility by drinking from a certain spring. 

The site has also been a spot of pilgrimage since the region’s animist Tengrism tradition but has also remained a popular destination after the region turned into Islam and it is still an active religious site where residents come to pray. Manjyly Ata is also mentioned in the Manas epoch and is mentioned as a sacred place for the Kyrgyz people and it has some sacred trees and graves of old sufi and islamic saints. It is a fascinating place where the old beliefs have been mixed with the muslim traditions.

The name of Manjyly Ata comes from a legend about a seer who spread Islam among the local population and used the healing waters of the springs to cure hundreds of people. He was buried near the springs and people have continued to seek his guidance and ailment to their diseases since then. There is still a tomb of islamic saint still standing on one of the hills, serving as a starting point for the pilgrims who come here. 

Most of the 17 springs found in the area have their own legends and each of them is said to cure certain different diseases or conditions. The most popular reason to come to Manjyly Ata is to drink the waters to increase the fertility if a couple is having troubles having a child. The springs are mostly small depressions or holes in the ground that have some tables and cups next to them to catch the water flowing underground towards Issyk Kul. 

How to get to Manjyly Ata

Manjyly Ata can be easily reached along the southern main road between Balykchi and Karakol. We have to say that it is not the most intriguing of all the sights in the Southern Issyk Kul, but adds something different and peculiar. There has always been a caretaker in Manjyly Ata that is guiding the pilgrims and visitors. The stories of the caretaker are definitely the most interesting part of Manjyly Ata as otherwise it is quite hard to grasp all the history and different aspects of the place.

Nearby Manjyly-Ata valley, you can also observe the Stone Age Petroglyphs, medieval buildings ruins and sacred Buddhist inscriptions. The springs are also at the starting point of the so called Mars Canyons of Kyrgyzstan, that are formed from reddish soil and stone creating a mars-like environment with the dried riverbeds crossing the area. 

Manjyly Ata model

Page updated 15.8.2021

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