aBSHYR-ata waterfall

Abshyr Ata gorge

Abshir-Ata (or Abshyr Ata or Abshir Sai) gorge area is primarily famous for its 15 m high, peculiar waterfall named Abshir-Ata. The gorge is located in the mountain valley of the Abshir-Sai river flowing down from the northern spurs of the Kichik-Alay ridge in the southeastern part of the Kyrgyz Fergana Valley. 

The height of the bottom of the gorge rises from 1500 to 2500 meters above sea level. Abshir-Ata can be reached by driving about 70 km southwest from Osh, towards Nookat and further 19 km south from between Nookat and Kyzyl-Kiya towns (there is a sign by the road). The road to Nookat from Osh is in bad shape and therefore very slow (2021 situation). The best time to visit the Abshir Ata gorge is from late April to September.

The mountainous area of the valley begins with a variety of rocky gates formed by layers of limestone rocks that stand out against the background of scenic high white slopes. The Abshyr-Ata gorge and the waterfall are among the most visited sights of the Osh region. 

According to the residents this is a holy place and that if you want to make a wish for your life, you need to go there only with bright thoughts in your mind and with an open soul.  Further from the waterfall, upwards in the gorge there are some silent mountain forests and jailoos to visit. 

abshirata above view
Abshirata caves

Abshir-Ata Waterfall

Abshir Ata waterfall is famous mainly because it flows straight out from a vertical rock wall with a stormy white horizontal stream. The whole in thee side of the Abshir Sai gorge has been formed naturally as the water flows out from a small karst cave. It is also believed that the water of the Abshir-Sai River has medicinal properties and the guides usually advise tourists to swim in these healing waters and to get some water with them for later usage. 

Abshir Ata waterfall coming out from the hole in the rock in the Southern Kyrgyzstan

There are several small souvenir shops just next to the waterfall, along the way to the jailoos and the vendors are happy to tell visitors about the Abshir-Ata miracles and legends. The place has gotten its name during the time of the first Tajik settlements in the area and the name translates from Tajik as a water-milk source. 

The area of the waterfall is nowadays very touristic as it is filled with soviet style built cafes and shops. A lot of locals visit the place and it is mostly established for their needs and taste.

Abshir-Ata Legend

One of the several legends says that in ancient times poor people lived in the gorge. One day a pilgrim came to them and declared that he is a messenger of God. People doubted: “If you are a saint, perform a miracle.” Then the stranger hit the rock with his staff, and milk started to pour out from the rock wall. Since then the believers from all over the world started to arrive to see and worship this wonderful source. After some time people got so used to this miracle that they stopped cherishing it and for example women began to wash things in this holy spring. Higher powers got angry and so it happened that one day the  pilgrims discovered that instead of milk, ordinary whitish water was pouring out from the rock. 

Abshir-Ata waterfall view
Abshir Ata waterfall coming out from the hole in the rock in the Southern Kyrgyzstan

Abshir Ata Valley

There are also other popular attractions nearby the waterfall area further up in the valley. One of them is the Kotur-Bulak spring with crystal clear cool water flowing from the underground depths. It is located inside a huge karst cave on the eastern cliff of the same canyon. In the same area you can also find the sacred caves of Khurkhyz and Chillyakana. 

There is also a small Abshir Ata lake located about 10 km further south from the waterfall. The lake is naturally dammed, most likely due to a landslide and the Abshir Ata river flows through it from a small opening. 

abshirata gorge

The lake is surrounded by humped peaks with burnt-out grass and the slopes are covered with rock fragments and juniper forests. It is also possible to find some petroglyphs in the caves and the rocky walls of the valley.  There is a road leading high to the valley but the condition is not the best. It is still doable with a car with proper ground clearance and preferably a four wheel drive. Hiking is also a good option to enjoy the nature fully and to have the time to admire the sceneries in the narrow and wide spots of the valley.

Abshir Ata souvenir shops

Abshir ata shops
Abshir-Ata small shop

Sights near Abshir Ata

Page updated 19.4.2021

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