Evil spirits in the pond

by Samia Tamrin Ahmed

Beweg dich. Ein Heft über Sport (Ausgabe I/2014)

-

A black soft-shelled turtle, also known as the bostami turtle. Photo: Kundu & Kulendra Ch Das/Assam Univ. & Mizoram Univ./India


In Bangladesh, you may be taken to a water basin and asked to feed 300 turtles with bananas or chapati bread. The largest living population of the extremely rare black soft-shelled turtle is kept in an artificial pond. It belongs to the temple of St. Bayazid Bostami, a Sufi, who is said to have come from Iran to Bangladesh in the 9th century, which is why the animals are also called "bostami turtles" or "mazari", which means something along the lines of "temple inhabitants". They can grow up to one meter in size and are olive green or brownish black. Originally they lived in the Brahmaputra River, which has its source in the Himalayas.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists them as an extinct species, but recently some wild specimens have been sighted in Assam, India. Legend has it that the black soft-shelled turtle are descendants of evil spirits that once infuriated the holy Bostami. In response, he transformed them and condemned them to an eternity in the pool. The guardians of the temple are devoted to the population of turtles. No one is allowed to harm or take an animal, not even for scientific purposes. Only feeding is allowed and people believe that a wish will come true if the turtles take the food you offer - so make sure that they are hungry when you visit them.



similar articles

Iraner erzählen von Iran (What's different elsewhere)

The heavenly Llama

by Fabian Grieger

About a special animal in Bolivia

more


Für Mutige. 18 Dinge, die die Welt verändern (What's different elsewhere)

The monarch lands

by Alfredo Carrera López

About a special animal in Mexico

more


Freie Zeit. Was Menschen tun, wenn sie nichts zu tun haben (Cultural spots)

Graffiti in Doel, Belgium

by Brian Waterschoot

It is not the nuclear power plant on the outskirts of Doel that is the biggest threat to the small town, but the nearby port of Antwerp.

more


Brasilien: alles drin (What's different elsewhere)

Under the spell of the goat

by Saba Khalid

About a special animal in Pakistan

more


The better America (Cultural spots)

The Venezia Mall in Istanbul

by David Wagner

A touch of Venice in the Turkish capital.

more


Above (In theory)

Pure and Local

by Nikolina Skenderija-Bohnet

There are only few things that impact our understanding of identity and belonging as much as food. But what do the dishes we choose, and the dishes we refuse, say about us? 

more