Hot springs are one of those hidden gems of nature that are relatively less explored by travellers in India. So it comes as no surprise that they aren’t considered much of a hot topic while talking about travel experiences. What’s interesting is that they are touted to be great stress relievers and some are even believed to have medicinal properties.
What really is a hot spring, though? Heated and brought up to the earth’s surface by geothermal forces, hot water springs are natural features which often take the form of natural pools and geysers. One way to classify a hot spring is that it must be well above the temperature of the surrounding earth. And, usually hot springs hover around the 100 degrees Fahrenheit mark.
These pristine secrets of nature have cropped up in Indian mythology stories and are often preserved as religious heritage. Many of them flow near temples and some are said to possess great medicinal values due to the dissolved chemicals and minerals found in them. If you’re looking to rejuvenate and relax in a quaint corner of the country after the troubled times are over, look no further. Apart from being rich in the aforementioned minerals, these hot waters come with plenty of health and beauty benefits.
Chumathang and Panamik, Ladakh
Goodbye lofty mountains and deep gorges, hello hot springs. Underneath the freezing cold of Ladakh lies the warmth of Chumathang and Panamik hot springs. These sulphur-rich waters in the quaint Nubra Valley are said to have amazing healing qualities which cure skin diseases and other ailments. A number of guesthouses and homestays dot the ice-cold Indus River, so your stay is sorted.
Dhuni Pani, Madhya Pradesh
Set amidst the dense jungles and charming valleys of Madhya Pradesh, this fascinating hot spring is said to have spiritual significance. To reach here, one has to trek from Amarkantak. Covered in a swirl of mist, this is one of the lesser-known hot springs in the country and taking a dip here is believed to cure many diseases.
Manikaran, Himachal Pradesh
This tiny town in the Kullu district of the state is a hotspot for many pilgrims. Located close to the hill stations Kullu and Manali, the hot springs here are the perfect balm to the freezing temperatures of the north. The waters here have a an array of elements believed to relieve bronchitis and rheumatic aches.
This underrated little town is slowly gaining traction for its sulphur-rich hot springs which are worth taking a dip in. One can camp here overnight in any of the accommodation options available, or even spend the night at a popular cave called the Kah-do Sang phu which is considered to be sacred by the locals.
A perfect day-trip spot from Joshimath, this yellow-rock hot spring gets bonus points for stunning views. The water here is so hot that you can boil eggs or even cook rice. For the adventure-hungry, club the dip with a trek up to the nearby Dronagiri Chaukumbha and Nanda Devi peaks.
Vashisht, Himachal Pradesh
Located in a temple atop the Beas River, the Vashisht hot springs bring together spirituality and relaxation. Surrounded on all sides by dense green hills, this village is not very far from Manali. It is surrounded by granite deposits and its water ranges from 40-50°C.
Tattapani, Himachal Pradesh
Literally translating to 'hot water', the Tattapani hot spring is blessed with minerals that are said to heal joint and bone ailments. Apart from taking a relaxing dip in these hot waters, you can get your adrenaline pumping by going white-water rafting in the Satluj River.
Just a short trip from the main Yumthang road, and you will come across the Lachung River and Yumthang hot springs. Even though they are covered on all sides by towering snow-clad mountains, the two pools have an average temperature of 50°C. The waters contain a high percentage of sulphur and minerals that are said to be extremely beneficial for the skin. Do explore the nearby Yumthang Valley with its riot of colours.
Bakreshwar, West Bengal
Yes, the land of roshogolla has thermal springs too! Bakreshwar is primarily a pilgrimage town known for its hot springs, especially the hottest which is the Agni Kund with a scorching temperature of 80°C. Loaded with sodium, sulphate, potassium, and calcium, each of these chemicals is credited with specific therapeutic benefits to the human body.