The largest freshwater spring in Southern Kashmir known as Panzath Spring at Qazigund (Gateway of Kashmir) in Anantnag district. Located a kilometer from Srinagar-Jammu highway, the area leading to Panzath is surrounded by lush green trees.
Panzath is derived from a Kashmiri word ‘Paanch Hath’ which means 500. According to locals this spring is the source for 500 springs many of which are visible while others are hidden in Panzath Spring and its adjoining areas.Panzath’s main Spring is Nagbal , by the shrine of Sheikh Aftab Sahib (RA).The depth of greenish spring, full of weeds, is the stuff of legend.The Panzath spring and its tributaries provide water to nearly 35 villages through the supply schemes of Public Health Engineering (PHE) and other water management bodies.Panzath spring is also famous for trout hatcheries but “due to rising pollution level and official apathy, the residents fear they may lose the source of 500 Springs,” Said Gull Mohammad Ganie, a local.He also said, “Those old days of illiteracy were better than today’s when the water bodies were at least considered sacred”.Panzath is said to have occasioned by Mughal Emperor Jahangir and his beloved Noor Jahan.It is quite a captivating sight and explains why Pandit Kalhana, the author of Rajatarangini has mentioned Panzath (Pancahasta) in his chronicle as a favourite picnic spot of kings.According to locals “spring faces a bleak future, as the sewage continues to flow through it and government is least bothered to act.”Proper infrastructure and accessibility provided to these destinations will bring in more tourist inflow and which in turn will also generate employment among the locals.“The Spring is fast losing its shine and glory the reason is being it gets polluted day by day and no one cares, no one is willing to protect It,” Said Abdul Salam Wani, Aquaf Head of Panzath.He Said, “for last many years, the Spring has witnessed a sharp rise in pollution and the water level has considerably decreased and the government is acting like a mute spectator”.The locals however appealed government and the department of tourism to pay immediate attention towards the Panzath spring.
Reports: Umaisar Gull Ganie