The Mysterious Cave Spring

Discovering the cultural heritage of Kazakhstan

Zhylagan-ata is located in the Turkestan region, it is included in the map of sacred Kazakhstan and is among the most valuable monuments of the country’s natural heritage. The legend of this place is characterised by the places of a special child. But no one knows the secret of the cave waterfall, however because of the legend many people believe in the healing power of the place. 

According to legend, there was an old man named Gurzikhan. He was rich, but he and his wife had no children. At the time when Islam came to the Kazakh land, Gurzikhan converted to Islam, became a Muslim, and he and his wife went to the ridges of Mount Karatau to ask God for a child. Accepting the will of God, Shash-Ana’s mother gave birth to a child, but the child was born wrapped in a wineskin (a wineskin made of whole goat skin). Then Kydyr Ata gave Gurzikhan a vision. In this dream, he said: your wife should revile him for a while, but the child will not talk, will not laugh and will not cry. When his time comes, he will be born on his own and will leave his wineskin. 

But some time passed, and the child was in no hurry. One day, when the mother got tired of wearing it, coming closer to the river (the river is located near the village of Igilik, not far from the cave of Zhylagan Ata), she angrily said: “Oh, my God, why do I have such torments, in my old age, to carry this burden in myself!”. As soon as she said that, the boy jumped out off the wineskin and ran away. His parents ran after him, hoping to catch up with him, but the boy did not stop. He was running playfully along the road, but his parents were tired. Suddenly they were thirsty, they stopped, and the boy found hit the ground with a cane, after which a well appeared there. The well is called a Taskudyk (Stone Well). Currently, “taskuduk” is found along the way to the cave of Zhylagan-ata and is considered sacred. When the parents came to the well, the boy playing with a stone, for some reason, continued to ignore them. They could not catch up with their son, the son climbed high up the mountain, and suddenly said: “40 days were tolerated before my birth, there is only one day left, if you had suffered one more day, everything would have been great, sorry!” He hid in a cave, and disappeared before their eyes.

Now this big cave consists of three large holes. The first hole appeared when the parents looked back at their son with hope, the second hole appeared when the Soviet government wanted to explore this place to solve the mystery. But they did not succeed. The third time they set off an explosion again, but the cave was covered with snakes.

Now the land of “Zhylagan Ata” is known for its sacred water flowing from this mountain cave, but water flows only when reading the Koran, and not just like that. When a waterfall suddenly collapses, those who come to this place do not know, sometimes even one or two days will pass, sometimes weeks of waiting for water. This taiga waterfall is popularly called “The Crying Old Man”, that is, Zhylagan ata. No matter how many domestic and foreign scientists have tried to test it with their instruments, their instruments refused to work. No one can still say with certainty why the water flows only at certain times. In front of this cave there is a stone resembling a human figure. They say that from time to time water comes out of the stone.

Many people remember that during the years of independence, many historical and cultural monuments and objects were reconstructed within the framework of the state program “Cultural Heritage” in order to change the spiritual orientation of the people. That is why sacred objects will forever remain in the hearts of people. If the generation is wise, there will be no shortage of the great steppe.

by Ainur Kumarkhanova