Hot Springs are one of the most under-stated destinations on a traveller’s list to India. Unlike their western counterparts that are primarily for relaxation and natural beauty, these natural wonders in India are popular as heritage sites with magical powers. They have always been associated with therapeutic miracles since times unknown.
There is nothing untrue about those tales for these hot springs do have a concentration of certain elements that have healing properties. However, that is not all that is wondrous about them. Visiting these hot springs can be quite refreshing. The best part is that you will find one in every corner of India.
Here are 10 hot springs that you should consider heading to.
1. Atri Hot Spring, Odisha
An evergreen hot spring, just 40 kms from the state capital – Bhubaneshwar- Atri Hot Spring is quite popular among the locals. The water temperature is generally around 50 degrees throughout the year. Besides being a holy spot owing to the Hatakeshwar Temple nearby, the place has a picturesque set-up with banyan and peepal trees as its backdrop. The high sulphur content in water is said to impart medicinal properties to the spring. The Sankranti celebrations in January add to the festive atmosphere here.
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2. Rajgir Hot Springs, Bihar
Also called Brahmakund, Rajgir Hot Springs are believed to be not one but a culmination of seven different streams. Popular belief has it originating in Saptaparni Caves in Vaibhavi hills. The hot springs are channelized through pipes into two separate bathing areas – one each for the men and women. Owing to its warm temperature, the Rajgir Hot Springs are extremely popular in winter.
3. Bendru Teertha, Karnataka
The only hot spring in South India, Bendru Teertha has quite a spiritual connect. Not only does it have medicinal properties, the hot spring is said to have been around since the days of Sage Kanva. It used to be called Gopalakshetra and has an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Vishnumurthy. The spring is said to be a confluence of three streams – Chelyadka, Byladi and Bettampadi. A dip on the day of Teertha Amavasya in the first week of September is said to be extremely auspicious.
4. Tapovan Hot Springs, Uttarakhand
The vapours rising out of the rocks near Joshimath are an indication that you are close to the Tapovan Hot Springs. It might look like a dip here might burn you. However, the temperature and water will turn out to be quite comforting, especially if you have trekked your way here. And yet, the water is hot enough for you to boil some rice and eggs. The spring is channelled through hot showers in a public bathing area – for those who wish to take advantage of its therapeutic qualities.
5. Bakreshwar Hot Springs, West Bengal
The scenic location in West Bengal offers you not just one but 8 hot springs – each with different temperatures. The hottest one is around 90 degrees Celsius and is called Agnikund. A Shiva Temple near the springs is the reason why the place is a major pilgrimage centre.
6. Yumthang Hot Springs, Sikkim
The hot springs in Yumthang are said to be a good remedy for various skin ailments. In contrast to its surrounding sub-zero landscape, the heated 50 degree Celsius springs provide a relief to its visitors. Just 130 kms from Gangtok, a visit to Yumthang Hot Springs will treat you to three more – Reshi, Borang and Rolang springs.
7. Chumathang Hot Spring, Ladakh
The Chumathang Hot spring in Ladakh is a perfect stop-over when you are headed to the high altitude lake – Tso Moriri. The hot Sulphur springs are said to cure joint pains. Small bathrooms near the spring allow you to enjoy this warmth – especially if you have hiked your way here.
8. Aravali Hot water Spring, Maharashtra
If you are looking for something in West India, then Aravali Hot Springs is the place you want to head to. Located near Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, you can dip into the warmth of the gurgling natural water source in the two tanks near Gad River. When driving to Aravali Hot Springs, keep an eye out on the Mumbai-Goa highway for a few more of these warm wonders – one is Tural Springs.
9. Manikaran Hot Spring, Himachal Pradesh
If the water temperature is over its boiling point, you might not want to step into it. However, when it comes to the Manikaran Hot Spring, this might not hold true. Though extremely hot, it is perfect for a dip. Located in the Parvati valley, near Kullu, the Manikaran Hot Spring is a popular pilgrimage spot with a Shiva Temple and Gurudwara by its side. The hot spring water is said to contain radioactive elements along with Sulphur, which make it quite healing. What is quite unique about it is that you can buy uncooked rice in muslin and dip it in the water to see it get cooked.
10. Gaurikund Hot Spring, Uttarakhand
No doubt that hot springs can be relieving after a trek. However, they can be quite an experience if you were to have a dip before one. Gaurikund at the base of Kedarnath is just perfect for that. The hot spring is where the trek to this pilgrimage spot begins and is associated with the mythological story of how Lord Ganesha lost his head while protecting his mother Parvati who was bathing. A small temple dedicated to Goddess Parvati lies next to this spring.