Bamyan may be known for its world famous Buddha statues, but oneof its best kept secrets are the Band-i Amir lakes.
The area is an ensemble of six lakes. Two are pictured above. Onthe left, Band-i Pudina (which translates to mint lake), and Band-iZulfiqar
(named after a sword) on the right.
Legend has it a merchant was forced to give his family as slavesof King Zamir, ruler of Balkh and Bamyan. Ali was sent to help thebusinessman get his family back but this came with a price. Ali,who hid his identity from the King, had to build a dam, slay a dragonthat haunted Bamyan and arrest Ali.
The first lake was built using Zulfiqar, his sword. With the useof mint herbs he built the second lake. After building four additionallakes, Ali finally slays the dragon and identifies himself to KingZamir who orders to put him in chains for execution. Ali breaksthe chains. His followers name the lakes Band-i Amir.