Did you know about the almost-hidden natural Hot water springs in Tural, Konkan in Maharashtra? If not, read ahead to know about these fantastic natural wonders, not just in Tural but other parts of the country as well.
Until recently I had no clue that there were many Hot water springs in Maharashtra. A few weeks back I drove down to Panhalekanji and that's when I heard about Unhavre hot springs which is located very close to these stunning caves. Unfortunately, by the time we got done with the caves, we had to head back to Pune and I missed seeing the springs.
A hot spring is a spring that is produced by the emergence of geothermally heated groundwater from the Earth's crust. There are geothermal hot springs in many locations all over the crust of the earth. Because heated water can hold more dissolved solids, warm and especially hot springs also often have a very high mineral content, containing everything from simple calcium to lithium, and even radium. Because of both the folklore and the claimed medical value some of these springs have, they are often popular tourist destinations, and locations for rehabilitation clinics for those with disabilities. - Wiki
Last week I was in Konkan region once more and was staying at a wonderful homestay at Tural, near Chiplun. Early in the morning we wanted to walk around in the village when the caretaker suggested us to go to the lake, if we were interested in water. We decided immediately to head out to the so called lake.
We were in for a complete surprise when we reached the small village which housed the lake. In fact, there was no lake at all. However, what we discovered was this lovely hot water spring called Rajvade. An old woman from the village saw us as two lost wanderers and decided to take us around to the our destination. She spoke only Marathi and we spoke none, so our conversations were fun; all she could figure out was that we were strange people from Pune :)
The hot spring is located next to the temple and so one has to take off the footwear and go into it. This also helps to keep it extremely clean. The small enclosure around the main spring houses a bathing room also. Men usually bathe at the outer tiny hot water pond.
We decided to venture out and walk around as well and it was an absolutely amazing feel. It was a cold morning and we were actually in our jackets. However with the warm stones under our feet and mild steam all round us, it was pretty soon warm enough to enjoy the place just in our tee shirts. The rising steam also made for some amazing backdrop for photography.
The springs are on the banks of river Shastri and small puddles are spread over a large area on the banks of the river. Walking is fun, but you can only do it barefoot. After a while, the rocks and water become too hot to walk and you need to turn back...
For anyone with the religious bend of mind or interested in ancient architecture, there is a Shiva temple right next to the spring. The temple is made in the typical Konkani style with stones, wood and tiles.
When we went there, there was absolutely no one around, not even the priest. We had the entire place just to ourselves and I mad the most out of it, which means I also climbed to the roof of the temple :)
These hot springs are located on the main highway connecting Chiplun to Ratnagiri, about four kilometres after the Tural bus stand, on the left side of the road. The best way to reach is to keep asking for Rajawadi from the people on the street and they will direct you to it.
India has many such springs as well and often you can find a temple around those. Due to the therapeutic value, such places are also worshiped and taken care of. Some of the more famous hot water springs are:
Situated on the edge of the Chhotanagpur plateau, Bakreshwar is a famous pilgrimage spot and holds a distinct identity as one of the popular sightseeing spots of West Bengal.
Atri in Orissa is well known for its hot sulphur springs. Located 42 km from Bhubaneswar, the capital of Orissa, the hot sulphur springs maintain a stable temperature of 55°C throughout the day.
Yumesamdong is well known for its hot springs. Situated at 15500 feet altitude in the North East state Sikkim, the picturesque Yumesamdong boasts 14 sulpher hot springs.
Located 45 km from Kullu, at an altitude of 1760 m about, Manikaran is a famous natural hot springs destination of India.
Situated in the Nubra valley, around 9 km from the beginning of the Siachen glacier, Panamik in Ladakh is another unique hot springs of India.