Trans Eurasia travel

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Apshirsay is a valley in the foothills of the Kichi ('Small') Alay, about 70 kilometres from Osh on the Balken road. A day trip from Osh can take you to the source of the Apshirsay river, which gushes from the rock some 30 metres above the ground. The waterfall is believed to be holy and curative (particularly for skin problems) and attracts pilgrims and local tourists. People stand in the spray or collect the water in a bottle to drink.

Next to the waterfall is a sacred cave where a holy man, who retired from shepherding in the mid-1990s, leads prayers Irom the Koran. A donation ol about US$0.50 is normal. The holy man tells the legend of the cave: more than 2,000 years ago, in a time of many wars, a holy man named Idris Payhanbar lived nearby. One time, while trying to escape his enemies, he came to the cave. He told his daughters to hide, and ran away. When he returned he couldn't find his daughters. When he called, their distant voices told him to prove who he was. So Idris beat the mountain twice with his stick and the water turned to milk. It is said that the river was named in honour of this event by Manas' father-in-law. After some time, Idris turned the milk back to water as this was more useful for the people. Local people say that it still tastes and smells like milk.