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Blood Suckers Turn Healers In Kashmir

March 26, 2024 12:33 IST

Kashmiris receive traditional leech therapy from a practitioner during the celebrations of Nowroz in Srinagar.

Nowruz, the beginning of the year in the Persian calendar, has a different significance in Kashmir.

On this day, thousands of patients suffering from various skin ailments gather at Hazratbal on the outskirts of Srinagar to receive the leech treatment.

In this centuries-old alternative treatment, practitioners use leeches to suck impure blood from the affected patient.

Leech treatment is one of the oldest skin therapies in the Valley and is believed to have been used to treat thousands of patients.

Though overshadowed by more conventional treatments over the years, people from various parts of Kashmir travel to the Hazratbal market every Nowruz to receive the therapy.

Nowruz also marks the first day of spring in Kashmir that extends roughly from March to early May.


All Photographs: Umar Ganie for








Photographs curated by Manisha Kotian/
Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/