Panzath is a village located 5 kilometers from Qazigund town of South Kashmir and 60 kilometres away from the summer capital, Srinagar.
A visit to this remote village feels like a journey into the majestic land surrounded by alluring landscapes.
Etymologically, the name Panzath is derived from an advanced amalgam of Kashmiri numerical name ‘Paanch hath’ which means five hundred.
“Earlier, there were almost 500 springs oozing from the soil of this village,” said a 20-year-old local Ahmad Najar.
That’s why the village was named Panzath, he said.
In the 12th century Kalhana, a Kashmiri Pandit and historian writes about this village (Pancahasta) as the favorite picnic-spot of kings.
All the springs flow through several terrains and as one treads ahead, a big spring- largest among all- heads the watery landscape which is locally called ‘Nag Mouj,’ the mother of springs.
Each spring is almost different in color, some are bottle-green, and some streaming milky white while some are transparent - revealing translucence of pebbles on the bottom of the springs and the spring water remains cold even in the hot summers.
The tremendous range of spring topography in Panzath is home to a rich and rare species of fish called rainbow trout, a salmon native to cold-water tributaries usually found in the Pacific Ocean in Asia and North America.
Rainbow trout species are identified with a broad rainbow stripe, marked along the underneath line from its gills to the tail.
These trout fishes are also the source of income for many villagers in the area.
“Many poor families who cannot afford to buy non-vegetarian food often come here along with their fishing rods and grapple rainbow trout to home for lunch and dinner simultaneously,” locals said.
But over years, these springs have diminished in numbers and are highly encroached with pollution.
Each year in the second week of May, locals come together to cleanse the springs and preserve the waterways which is a source of drinking water for almost 35 villages.
This cleansing drive has become a ritual that the villagers have been following for ages.
“Psychology says if you live near a water body, you are less prone to get depression and god has bestowed Kashmiris in a way that almost every Kashmiri village has one or other kind of watery surfaces like lake, springs and rivers but it’s pathetic to see some people don’t adore this blessing,” said a local Sameer.
“It’s indeed a necessity to adore the natural inhabitancy of our places and protect its ecstasy,” he said.
Naveed Suhail Has Pursued Bachelors In Journalism and Mass Communication From The University of Kashmir