What are hot springs?
A hot spring is a pool of water heated naturally by the geothermal energy of the earth. As earth contains hot magma in its core, some areas that have fault lines underneath them or have volcanic activity can carry this heat upwards and produce a naturally hot water body. For example, there are deep cracks under Parvati valley, due to which the water comes in contact with the hot rocks beneath the surface of the earth. This hot water shoots up giving rise to a hot spring at Manikaran gurudwara.
Are hot springs beneficial?
Hot springs are like nature’s spa where the warmth relaxes the muscles and the close connection to the earth’s interiors make the water mineral rich and therapeutic as minerals get soaked up into the skin. They can contain anything like calcium, zinc, magnesium, sulphur, etc. and the presence of these various minerals gives hot springs a pungent smell. Though every hot spring is different, benefits of some of the commonly found minerals in hot springs are –
- Magnesium: aids with clear complexion, and healthy looking skin
- Potassium: eliminates toxins and promotes healthy skin
- Sodium: decreases inflammation in swollen joints, and can help the lymphatic system
- Sulphur: helps with respiratory problems and skin inflammations
How hot is hot springs water?
Depending on how far under the earth the magma is, hot springs can vary in temperature from place to place. Some places like Iceland, which are hot spots for volcanic activity can have pretty hot water, whereas some places like Manikaran where heat rises through fault lines can have relaxing thermal springs in the range of 60-80 degree C. The hot springs in Sikkim have temperature close to 50 degree C.
Can you drink hot springs water?
Not all spring water is good enough to drink. As hot springs originate from within the earth, they can sometimes have too high concentration of a certain mineral or be bacteria contaminated. Therefore, take a dip only in hot springs that are advertised as safe, and even when safe, do not drink the water. Even in general, you shouldn’t be drinking water from a common bathing ground and the same applies to a hot spring.
Hot Springs in India
A merging of nature and the spiritual, hot springs in India evolved out of mythical origins. Blessing the body with religious energy and rejuvenating water, many temple-adjoined bathhouses derive their healing properties from natural sources near town.
Hot springs in Jammu & Kashmir
Panamik Hot Spring
Traverse the challenging terrain of Nubra Valley for a well-deserved soak at Panamik hot springs. Sulphur-rich and set high up in the mountains, these therapeutic springs draw crowds from neighboring villages. Stay at one of the guesthouses and make most of your trip by exploring the valley, capping off each day with ailment healing baths.
Chumathang Hot Springs
Steam rising from the outdoor Chumathang springs creates an incredible ambiance. The cold air will keep you fresh and awake, even as your submerged body relaxes in warm water. Believed to have medicinal powers, it’s one of the best hot springs in the area.
Hot springs in Himachal Pradesh
Manikaran Hot Spring
Hot springs at Manikaran are perhaps the most popular hot spring in Manali among the youth due to its close proximity to Kasol. The water coursing through the pilgrimage town of Manikaran doesn’t just endear Parvati Valley to you; its high concentration of uranium will soothe rheumatic aches and strengthen your lungs. The water is also hot enough to cook rice. A sacred spot for Hindu belief, Manikaran is where Manu gifted human life after a devastating flood.
Kheer Ganga Hot Springs
Hike through dense forest trails to reach the mythical Shiva Temple of Kheerganga. Nestled within lush greenery and with spanning views of the Lahaul-Spiti glacier, its hot springs counterpart will have you soaking in mineral waters and natural beauty. You can camp nearby for similarly energizing sunsets and sunrises.
Tattapani Hot Springs
For those who have suffered tear and wear of joints and bones, Tattapani Hot Springs is a blessing. Bubbling out of the banks of Satluj River in the Mandi district, the geothermal springs are said to relieve tension and stress. It is a popular choice thanks to nearby attractions, such as white-water rafting.
Vashisht Hot Springs
High in the mountains is the intimate village of Vashisht, home to one of the most mythical hot springs in Manali. Revered as a utopian-like village, it is no wonder than the hot springs are believed to have medicinal and healing properties. Dip into the heated pools rich with sulphuric compounds and emerge with glistening skin.
Hot springs in Uttarakhand
Tapovan Hot Springs
Calling to hikers and nature-seekers, Tapovan Hot Springs offers more than just strong, body-healing sulphuric pools. The yellow rock edifice stretches up and out into the surrounding valleys, bracketed mountains forming a natural fortress. An easily accessible day trip from Joshimath, its proximity to Dronagiri Chaukumbha and Nanda Devi peaks make these springs a two-in-one attraction.
Gaurikund Hot Springs
Teal pools carved into rocky terrain, the Gaurikund springs are located at yet another Hindu pilgrimage site. Its calm, stress-relieving waters are best visited before and after a trek to Kedarnath Temple; complete the trek for a rewarding experience.
Hot springs in Sikkim
Yumthang Hot Springs
The open expanse of Lachung River and Yumthang hot springs provide a relaxing ambiance. Snow-capped mountains circle the valley to offer up breathtaking views along skin-rejuvenating mineral baths. If you prefer untouched landscapes, this hot springs is literally two pools divided by a hut.
Hot springs in Arunachal Pradesh
Dirang Hot Springs
Flowing in from surrounding hills is the curative water of Dirang’s Hot Water Spring. Fueled with sulphur and pleasantly hot, it is a great spot to rest your feet after days of long travel. Its proximity to Kalachakra Gompa monastery and Dirang Dzong makes it an enticing rest stop.
Hot springs in Bengal
Bakreshwar Hot Springs
Not too far from the lower foothills of Himalayas, West Bengal is home to Bakreshwar’s collective of natural springs. From averaging bathing temperatures to boiling hot, these ten hot springs are similarly imbued with therapeutic minerals meant to soothe.