The healing powers of hot springs have been used and valued by people for thousands of years. The bubbling waters of hot springs contain a variety of minerals with natural restorative properties. When you bathe in a hot spring your skin soaks in these minerals, increasing circulation and oxygen flow, much like when you exercise.
Himachal Pradesh has several springs that are ideal for naturally heated, mineral-rich thermal baths. The therapeutic qualities of these hot springs have drawn travellers for centuries. Village people often construct tank-like structures around these spring pools to create small enclosures where visitors and local residents can bathe in semi-privacy. Tucked away in mountain nooks, these unpretentious and simple tanks often afford dramatic views of towering mountains and gorgeous river valleys.
Swimming in the soothing waters of these hot springs, nature’s very own super spas, is deeply relaxing and destressing. Here is a list of the prettiest geothermal springs in Himachal Pradesh.
Kheerganga in Kullu
A dreamlike natural pool nestled in the ethereal Parvati valley, Kheerganga (the name roughly translates to ‘milky water of holy nature’) can be reached by trekking from the beautiful village of Barshaini. On the trek, take a tea break at the tiny tea stalls of Natkan before visiting the Shiva temple near the spring. Surrounded by snow but warmed by hot springs, this is a place you simply won’t be able to get enough of!
2. Manikaran in Kullu
Manikaran, perched on the right bank of the roaring Parvati River, is a pilgrimage town famous for hot springs. The waters of this spring are so hot that the langar or communal kitchen of Manikaran Sahib Gurudwara cooks its food in large vessels immersed in the spring water. Purchase a chawal potli (rice in a muslin bag) from the nearby market and place it in the steaming waters to experience this for yourself.
3. Tattapani in Mandi
Tattapani literally means hot water. Mineral-rich hot water bubbles out from the pebbled river bed of the Satluj at this geothermal spring, which combines beauty, tranquillity and a hot bath all in one place. After a dip in the healing waters of Tattapani, you can get an adventure rush by doing some white water rafting on the Satluj.
4. Vashisht in Kullu
A tiny hamlet that is home to a number of natural sulphuric springs, Vashisht lies in the valley of river Beas. Touted as Sage Vashist’s place of meditation, the spring is said to have formed at the spot where Lakshman (from the Indian epic Ramayana) shot an arrow into the ground. The place also has several modern Turkish style showers for visitors.
5. Tatwani in Kangra
A short drive through the lush green Kangra Valley will take you to Tatwani hot spring, a well-kept local secret. Enclosed within a quaint temple, the hot waters of the spring flow into a small pool from the mouth of a lion carved from stone. The warm waters are believed to heal many ailments and cleanse the skin of impurities. Remember to take a detour to the unique monolithic temple complex at nearby Masroor.
6. Jeori in Kinnaur
Jeori hot water springs are located on the picturesque road to Spiti valley, commonly known as the Hindustan Tibet Road. The Chhari Yatra (holy mace) of the famous Manimahesh pilgrimage to Shrikhand Mahadev peak, held in the month of July, starts with a dip in the hot spring waters of Jeori.
7. Kalath in Kullu
Around 6.5 km downstream from Manali, natural sulphurous waters flow from the depths of the earth. The little-known village of Kalath, located on the banks of the Beas river, has six natural hot water springs that are believed to have curative properties.