Mountains are a unique world in itself. People come to Himachal for different reasons. Some to escape from the hardships of life, some need new adventures, some look for peace, and some just want to breathe fresh air. Every one comes to mountains with explicit aims. Do the mountains disappoint anyone?
Today, I want to share about a hot phenomenon found in these mountains. I am going to take you to places in Himachal where Mountains offer you with free hot water services, in case you feel tired of the cold!
Hot in Mountain Language is known as ‘Tatta’. Do you know there is actually a place called ‘Tatta Pani’ in Himachal Pradesh? I have seen three places with hot water springs. Let’s go to all one by one.
Tatta Pani is located on the Shimla-Mandi Border at the bank of Sutlej river. The Tatta Pani or the hot Water Springs lie in Mandi area.
These springs are 50 km from Shimla town and can be reached following the route (Shimla-Dhalli-Naldehra-Basantpur-Sunni-Tattapani). Tatta Pani hot water springs also have Sulphur content and therefore are said to have curative properties. Tatta Pani among locals has special place and they pay visits to the place on some special days of the year such as Lohri and Baishakhi.
Tatta Pani: When We Met
My memories of the place go back to 15 years ago. The bank of Sutlej River here used to have a broad beach with silver sand. Visitors would go and make pools anywhere on the bank. The hot boiling water spring would fill the pools soon. Narrow channels from the river would be made into the pool to counterbalance the high temperature. With a private hot water pool ready, you were free to lie as long as you wished.
Back to 2019, the scene is totally changed. Because of the construction of Kol Dam on Sutlej River! The water stored behind the dam has formed an extensive lake filling all those silver pools and everything around. Now, when I visited the place this year, all I could see was- a big water body! (🙋The video has honking sounds. Mute before playing)
The hot water however, has shifted uphill automatically and baths have been made for public to get benefit from its medicinal properties. I went there with my mum, and unknowingly, we got ourselves in to a private Jacuzzi. In addition to this we enjoyed an evening boat ride in the lake. With all said and done, somehow, it was hard to erase the memory of those hand-made instant pools.
Manikaran is located in Parvati Valley of Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh on a different route than Manali. It diverges from Bhuntar. Manikaran is 35 km from Kullu town and 4 km ahead of very famous and dear destination of people from big cities i.e. Kasol.
Manikaran: The Place
For those who know little Hindi, ‘Mani’ means ‘Gem’ and ‘Karna’-means Ear. The legend has it that once Shiva and his consort Parvati were walking in the valley. Parvati dropped her earring in to the river by the same name. This earring was taken by ‘Sheshnag’ who disappeared deep into Earth. Shiva forced him to eject out the earring from under-surface with the gushing hot water springs.
That boiling water still flows at the place and there is a temple dedicated to Shiva Parvati on the right bank of river Parvati.
Manikaran: When We Met
The hot water springs are on the right bank of river Parvati, the side opposite to where the road from Kullu reaches Manikaran. The temple can be reached by crossing a bridge. In front of the temple, there are two boiling pools. From a distance, people can be seen bending and inhaling strong steams coming out of the pools. If you go closer, you would see them holding a thread in their hands from which small bag hangs, floating in boiling water. The bag contains rice and these people are actually cooking the rice by dipping those small bags in water.
This is considered as the Prasad in Manikaran. In the bigger pool, sit utensils with grains of the temple to be cooked. This is entirely a thrilling sight. Adjacent to the temple is a Gurudwara. Actually to reach the temple one has to find a way through Gurudwara itself. The interiors of Gurudwara are steaming hot. There are facilities to take hot bath as well.
I hope you know who Vashisht was? Right! He was the guru of Ram. So, there is a place called Vashisht in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh. (Manali to be precise).
It is said that the village was once residence of the Vashisht clan. There is a beautiful sculpted temple in the name of Vashisht and hot water springs. Separate indoor hot water bath facilities are arranged for the visitors.
Nature is strange. My talking about Hot water Springs must be giving sweat spells to the readers in plains. Whereas on this side, imagining the scenes from my past visits to hot Springs is actually relaxing my nerves.
I would say, whenever you make a trip to Himachal don’t forget to visit these natural wonders and immerse yourself in free hot therapy given by nature, itself.
That’s all for today.
Read previous Oriental AfterGlow Travel Tale Here: The Temple that stood test of time.