Hot Springs in India Bathing in the magically warm waters of a hot spring has been a pastime for centuries. Wherever hot springs are present, there is sure to be a crowd enjoying the medicinal properties. Several countries may come to mind when thinking about famous hot springs, like Bulgaria, Japan and Taiwan. However, according to the Geological Survey of India, there’s more than over 350 hot springs! Not only does each hot spring have its own unique powers, the ecology around each location is truly picture worthy. Here’s a map of Hot Springs in India. You’ll notice a lot of them lay along mountain chains and rivers. So, what is a hot spring? The is no universally accepted definition of hot spring, but some of the following serve as criteria for labeling one: 1. A natural spring with water temperature above body temperature – normally between 36.5 and 37.5 degrees Celsius (97.7 and 99.5 degrees Fahrenheit) 2. A natural discharge of groundwater with elevated temperatures 3. A spring whose hot water is brought to the surface (synonymous with a thermal spring). The water temperature of the spring is usually 8.3 degrees Celsius (15 degrees Fahrenheit) or more above the mean air temperature. The formation of hot springs is consistent throughout the world. Either a hot spring is caused by volcanic activity, where there are intrusions of magma to heat the water, or through convective circulation. In the latter, groundwater is percolated downward towards the Earth’s core. Along the way, minerals or materials like sulfur are picked up. Eventually, the water encounters a crack or fault, forcing the water to ascend again because of rising heat. Thankfully, you don’t have to be a pilgrim to travel India to bathe in these miraculous pools: Hot springs in Assam Not only famous for Assam black tea, this colorful tropical region of India has an incredible hot spring amidst the Garampani Wildlife Sanctuary. Assam is the homeland of Hoolock Gibbons and Golden Langurs. The sanctuary itself is one of the oldest in India and encompasses the Nambor sanctuary, which is home to over 51 rare species of orchids. The bio-diversity here is stunning. You can not only bathe in the emerald green waters of the hot spring, you can see endangered species like tigers, clouded leopards, sambar, civets, and more common reptiles like cobras, Monitor lizards and amphibians. For more information on the Wildlife Sanctuary, visit Assam Info. Hot springs in Meghalaya One of the most popular hot springs in the state of Meghalaya, Jakrem not actually a gurgling spring but more of a heated brook of sulfur water. The spring is about 64 kilometers from Shillong, off the Shillong-Mawkyrwat road. The region has been developed recently for a potential health resort. A global crowd takes to the springs to bathe or picnic along the riverside. There is also an unknown hot spring along a trekking route from Weiloi village by Shillong. From Weiloi, if you head towards Umgni, there are two natural mineral water springs that often go unutilized because of they lay less frequented paths. 15 kilometers away from the village of Resubelpara in the East Garo Hills District (also known as Williamnagar) there is a hot spring named Bakra. Since the area is not well traversed by tourists, it’s rather quaint and unassuming. Imagine how awesome having a hot spring to yourself would be. Tourism website: Department of Tourism, Government of Meghalaya -Destination Garo Hills Hot springs in Uttarakhand This state is located in the Himalayan North of India. There are three primary hot springs located near the Badrinath temples. Tapt Kund, Suraj Kund and Narad Kund have religious and medicinal elements. It’s believed that Tapt Kund is the abode of Lord Agni due to the temperature of the pond. If you take a dip in this spring, which runs at around 45 degrees Celsius, you’re supposedly spiritually rejuvenated and cleansed of sin. Due to the high sulfur content, one should only sit in the water for 5 minutes at a time. Other locations with hot springs include Ganganani, Birhi Valley and Dharchaula. Gauri Kund is another worthwhile visit for the mountaineer. It is situated at an altitude of more than 600 feet in the Garhwal Himalayas. Legend has it that Gauri—the other name for Shiva’s wife—lived in the area and carried out daily yogic and ascetic practices. She eventually won Shiva’s affection. Uttarakhand is also the yogis dream destination, as it encompasses Rishikesh, the world capital of yoga. Hot springs in Madhya Pradesh Anhoni village in the Chhindwara district is close to Jhirpa, a tiny remote forest village. The ecology of the region is full of deep valleys, hills and vibrant forests. Hundreds of medicinal plants are grown throughout Chhindwara. The Anhoni hot spring is actually stream with sulfuric water flowing throughout the forest. Many of them have been sectioned off for use. Smaller, less frequented temples are scattered around Anhoni, making it a perfect location for picnics and meditation. Chaval Pani can be found near Pachmarhi station in the hills of Madhya Pradesh. This is the only hot spring in India that can be found within the Pachmarhi Biosphere Preserve. The reserve links together with another—the Satpura National Park. Reaching the hot spring is reportedly difficult since it is rather far from civilization. Hot springs in Bihar Many hot springs lay within the vicinity of Munger. Rajgir is place laden with history and spirituality. Rajgir was originally capital of the Magadha kingdom, and exhumed artifacts dates as far back as 1000 BC. The area is noted for a large presence of Jainism and Buddhism, since it was a favorite destination for Lord Mahavira and Gautama Buddha. Overtime, Rajgir developed into a health and winter resort due to the hot springs. One source of the springs in particular, Saptparni Cave, is sacred to Hindus, Jains and Buddhists. The spring has been tapped to flow into a set of basins. Near Vaibhava Hill, 22 hot springs have been built for pilgrims and tourists. Men and women have separate bathing areas. Sita-Kund is a tourist and Hindu pilgrimage site in Sitamarhi. If you heard of the epic Ramayana then you should know that this is where the hero, Sita, was supposedly born. The hot water from the spring was once bottled and given to women headed out to sea. The steam forms an impressive veil throughout the area, often wending its way to the mango plantation nearby. About 9 kilometers south of Sita-kund is Rishi Kund. Set in the valley between the Kharagpur Hills, this hot spring incessantly bubbles and froths. Gas is emitted even from the sand, forming pockets. On the other side of the Kharagpur hills lays Bhaduria Bhur. Cooler than the aforementioned springs, Bhaduria Bhur actually has very flavorful water. You will often find livestock taking drinks at the water’s edge. Bakreshwar, Hot springs in West Bengal This hot spring is near the Chota Nagpur plateau in eastern India. There are beautiful waterfalls nearby, such as Lodh Falls. The plateau is comprised of Precambrian rocks and coal deposits. This makes it one of the most abundant sources of minerals in India, so there’s no surprise that the hot springs are extremely popular. In fact, Bakreshwar is a pilgrimage location, and so people from across India (and the world) crowd the hot and cool spring waters. Bakreshwar is also home to itinerant singers called the Bauls. The hottest spring available at this holy site is Agni Kund, but there are nine in total. Piped water is available for those who don’t want to bathe with others. Hot springs in Jharkhand And the winner of the Hottest Hot Spring in India goes to… Surajkund! Temperatures of these waters have been recorded to reach an average of 87 degrees Celsius (187 degrees Fahrenheit). This hot spring, also known as Surya Kund, can be found in Belkapi, a subdivision of Hazaribagh district, Jharkhand. Spas, saunas, massage parlors and convention halls are quickly rising up around this attraction. A Durga temple has also been constructed recently. Why not check out some tigers after a quick dip in the hot springs of Talaha near Betla National Park? The jungle around Talaha is dense, making it the perfect location for tiger reserves. Betla National Park as provides elephant rides and accommodation. Unfortunately, this is also an area that is highly civically volatile and should only be traversed throughout the day. Tantloi, Dumka, Jharkhand is touted for clear, healthy water rich in helium. Set amongst rolling hills, it is a serene location with several natural springs. Hot springs in Odisha The Deulajhari hot spring is situated in an ancient citadel named Saivism in the Angul district. 24 acres of land are blanketed by a jasmine forest. The temple of Siva Shree Siddeswar Baba can also be found amongst the stunning scenery. Because of this, there is a very spiritual essence surrounding Deulajhari. The spring has been collected into 36 man-made ponds that circle the temple. Half of the natural springs are actually cold springs, and these have been interwoven into the hot springs. In the Granjam district of Odisha, 56 km away from Brahmapur, there is a sulfurous hot spring called Taptapani that is famous. The name itself means “hot water.” Like most hot springs in India, Taptapani is touted its medicinal uses. Surrounding the water is a lush forest with a vast range of flora and fauna. There is also a deer park nearby that is maintained by the local forestry department. In the Khurda district, the small village called Atri has its own spring that maintains a yearly temperature of 57 degrees Celsius and has skin-healing properties due to small doses of sulfur. There is a bathing complex set up by the local government. Not far from the spring is a shrine to Lord Hattakeswar Mahadev. Many people congregate in the area at the beginning of the year to celebrate Makar Jatar, a spectacular fair. Lastly is the hot spring cluster in Tarabalo that covers over 8 acres of land. The idyllic scenery around Tarabalo makes it a tourist location, in spite of the agricultural flats also within reach. Every year there is an organized fair on Maghasthami at Keltheshwari Temple that attracts an estimated 7000-8000 pilgrims. Dhuni Pani, Amarkantak A destination worthy of an Indiana Jones movie. Indian mythology states that the waters of Dhuni Pani contain an elixir that works much like the “Philosopher’s Stone.” Getting to the location is quite the jungle adventure, as the hot spring is quite far from Amarkantak, a religious pilgrimage destination. A tour guide and a machete are more or less required equipment. The trek to Dhuni Pani takes you up into the Maikal Mountain Range, to the sacred “door-way to nirvana.” The closest rail station is Pendra road, about 42 kilometers away. Hot springs in Sikkim The Yumthang Hot Spring near the Lachung river, the Yumesamdong Hot Spring at the base of Donkia-la Pass, Borong and Ralong, and Reshi Hot Springs on the banks of the Rangeet river are just a few hot springs you can sample in Sikkim. Many of these hot springs are high in sulfur content, and the mean temperature throughout the year is close to 50 degrees Celsius. The first mentioned therapeutic hot spring, Yumthang, is located in North Sikkim, high in the mountains. Apart from enjoying the curative waters of the hot springs, many people go to Yumtang to enjoying skiing the slopes in winter. To reach the waters from the village, you need to walk only a few hundred yards from the roadway and cross a pedestrian bridge over the Lachung. A hut with two pools has been set up for the convenience of travelers. 25 kilometers up from Yumthang is Yumesamdong. The Borong and Ralong hot springs are literally natural frothing spas. Although they are about 7 kilometers apart from one another, reaching them both takes a little effort. From Ralong monastery, the closest structure to these hot springs, it takes about an hour of walking to reach the Ralonghotspring. To get to Borong, there’s a necessary drive then a 40-minute downhill walk to complete. That said, one can accommodate a rental hut and stay overnight, provided you carry your own sleeping blanket and some cooking utensils. For more details about the hot springs in Sikkim, please visit Hot Springs in Sikkim Manikaran, Hot springs in Himachal Pradesh Manikaran is located in the Parvati Valley, close to Kulu. The springs are pressurized and very hot. In fact, food like rice, vegetables and chapattis can be boiled in the water. The nearby temple uses this to its advantage to cook meals for visitors. All across India, the healing properties of Manikaran are renowned. People venture to the springs to cure hypertension, kidney stones, muscular pain and skin issues. Vashisht Baths, Hot spring in Manali - Himachal Pradesh On the banks of the Ravi River, Vashisht is a collection of sandstone temples and hot springs with healing value, especially skin diseases. Authorities have arranged separate bathing areas for men and women because the sheer amount of people that frequent these hot springs. The Vashistha temple has two springs flowing out from beneath the structure and is free to use. The temperature of the water is quite hot—usually running around 110 to 123 degrees Fahrenheit. A quiet town rests a short distance away from the temples, which is a great place to stop during a journey to the Vashisht hot springs. For everything that you can do in Manali, check out Manali Heights. Next time you are looking for an adventure of a lifetime, consider heading to India for the hot springs. Each location has something unique to experience. Not only can you travel along pilgrimage routes, see ruins of ancient civilizations, spot endangered species you can’t find anywhere else in the world, and immerse yourself in Hindu and Buddhist culture, you can rest your body and spirit at these holy locations. Hot springs in Andhra Pradesh There are two well-known hot springs in the Godavari Basin geothermal zone. Though there have been others found, there isn’t much information on those locations. Gundala, also known as Agnigundala, is on the banks of the Godavari river, close to the holy hamlet of Bhadrachalam. The temperature of the Gundala hot springs runs around 62 degrees Celsius. Heat bubbles upward from the river bed. Rumor has it that any pit you dig will quickly fill with hot water. Additionally, the Brahma Purana states that the Gundala hot springs formed from a divine fire that the serpent Adi Seshu created. A sacred trio of gods—Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva—often bathe in the waters during the winter. Mahanandi has a famous mineral water pool known as Rudra Kund by the locals. There is also a Shiva Iingam that you are invited to worship and touch, even as a visitor. Bathing in the nourishing waters erase your sins. The largest Nandi statue in the world is also located at Mahanandi. 9 temples have also been constructed in the region to honor Shiva’s bull, Nandi. Hot springs in Maharasthra Maharasthra is a region around Bombay that is speckled with hot springs. One of the more well-known areas is Vajreshwari “Lady of the Thunderbolt” Temple. Originally, the temple was built at Gunji, several kilometers north of its present location, but was destroyed by the Portuguese. Now, Vajreshwari sits at the foot of Mandakini Mountain. There are reportedly twenty-one hot water springs within a five-kilometer radius around the temple. Because the Tansa river flows through the region, the springs have a broad range of temperatures and mineral contents. According to legend, the water appears blackish because it is the blood of giants and demons slain by the goddess Vajreshwari. Within walking distance from Vajreshiwari is another natural hot spring area called Ganeshpuri. Three of the springs are near the temple Shri Bhimeshvar and can be found easily due to the reservoirs built around them. If you are looking for less crowded springs, Ganeshpuri is the place to go. Fun fact! It was once believed that cannibal tribes dwelled in the jungle regions around Ganeshpuri.