Thursday, December 17, 2009

Up the Marsyangdi

Surprisingly there are a great many of smaller hot springs along the Marsyangdi river which first runs north between the Annapurna and Manaslu mountain massifs and then east above the Annapurna's. This is part of the famous multi-week long Annapurna trek to which development is catching up with, in the form of a road.

Same same but still the same?
Starting in Lamjung district, the first hot spring north along the Marsyangdi is that of
Bhulbhule (Bulbule). No pics I'm afraid, but a number of mentions:
'Another hot spring both spot at Bhulbhule'.
'We reach the HOT SPRING bath spot at Bulbule Khar after ascending along the banks of the river'.

'After ascending along the banks of the river, you reach the hot spring bath spot at Bulbule Khar'.
Not very far from Bhulbhule is the hot spring of Bahundanda. Let's hope it's not the same ...
 

'Bahundanda hot spring on the Main Central Thrust, in the Marsyandi Valley, central Nepal. Waters are heated by the elevated geothermal gradient, and mix with deep-sourced carbon dioxide before degassing at the surface'.
(source)

At least I know it must be the same as the photo above, at least if I believe this description:
'Our visit to Bahundanda was made particularly memorable by our early morning side trip to a local hot spring. The tea house owner sent his pint-sized nephew to show us the way. He sang and smiled and taught us the names of the trees and the bitter sweet fruit he picked for us to try. We tried to reciprocate with our own brand of song and dance and discovered "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" is a more universally recognized tune than previously realized. The hot spring itself was a sulfurous orange pool above the frosty waters of the Marsyangdi that boiled around house-sized boulders 100 meters below'.
xnepali.net has the folowing photo of Bahundanda:  

It also refers to a certain blogger claiming that there are 3-7 hot springs along the Marsyangdi; that blog is this blog!

Another first hand experience (with photo):
'We got off to an early start today and skipped breakfast while Elia, Ryan, Jacque and myself descended back down the 400m we had climbed yesterday to the river for a quick dip in some hot springs. We started by taking a quick dip in the cold river before quickly scrambling back into the empty hot spring pool. After a couple of minutes of soaking in it one of the locals came down and said "hot one up there" and proceeded to insist that we accompany him to the hotter of the pools. There the locals all encouraged us to try the hottest pool and it was quickly discovered that the hottest pool was scorching. The pool was at least 50 degrees and probably closer to 60. So we all settled to relax in the slightly more temperate pool next to it. The locals then proceeded to entertain themselves by watching us drink some local homemade liquor. Man was that stuff strong. After the dip in the hot springs we climbed our way back up to Bahundanda and enjoyed a great breakfast before heading out for that days trekking'.

Then, hardly much more to the north of Bahundanda comes the village / hotspring of Syanje. This hot spring though seems less impressive (note the now broken link ...):
'Our first day took us past Bhulbhule and Bahundanda to the very small village of Syanje, where our map showed a hot spring. Unfortunately, the spring was a mere trickle on the opposite side of the river, and was only luke warm after being piped across through a small garden hose. It was pleasant, however, after hiking for a couple of hours in the rain'.
Precise location (but another broken link):
'Beyond Syange the valley narrows much more. Keep on to Shree Chaur (30 min after Syange) where there´s a hot spring across the river'.
No chance
Possibly Syanje, the next upstream soak is referred to as
Jagat, a place about half an hour's walk away from Syanje. A good description (but a poor link; gone again. What is it with links to inspired Nepali soaks?):
'We find a place to stay called 'Manaslu Lodge' which looks pretty primative. We have heard there is a hot spring near this town so we are eager to find this and have a warm soak. There is still an hour and a half of sunlight left so we bounch of down the road in the direction of the springs with our towels and soap. It has only been two days with any warm water to wash in but we are feeling as filthy as pigs and the prospect of a hot soak is thrilling stuff. Unfortunately to get to the springs we discover we have to descend a 100m down the gorge to the river bed. It is a long way to go. We see some of the others down there and they wave back to us - so we assume it must be OK. We eventually scramble to the bottom of the gorge. The spring is just a little foot deep puddle. Not possible to soak anything other than our footsies. The water is boiling hot, maybe over 40 degrees and a bit of a treat for the feet, but the rest of our bodies are aching and dirty and more than a litle disappointed. No chance of a hair wash for the girls'.
If they would have read this they would have been forewarned:
'There is a hot spring 15 minutes down the hill below the Manaslu lodge, however it is not recommended'.
And to confuse you all, the same Jagat hot spring (and thus possibly Syange hot spring) is also referred to as Chamje hot spring. Leading to think it is one and the same hot spring is this LP forum entry by writetolouis (aaargh ... again the link has disappeared!):
'Chame has a hot spring that I was originally excited about because I thought I could sit in it and soak my legs from trekking, but it turned out that the hot spring was about as big as one of my feet; too bad'.
Another iffy experience:
'In the afternoon KC took me to some hot springs (actually a singular hot spring) which are found on the edge of the Marshyangdi River which runs directly through Chame. Here I was to take a bath, local style. The hot spring was pretty pathetic, it took a while to actually locate the tiny dribble of water it distributed and the water it did spout out was only slightly warmer than tepid. However, it was located on the edge of a beautiful fast flowing river and performing my cleaning rituals with an avid audience of local villagers in a very public spot was a new and interesting experience!' 
Then after entering Manang district comes La Ta Marang hot spring or possible Timang Besi, neither though seems as to be interesting/visitable enough to award a mention on i-net, besides here.

Engineered
Chame, the Manang district headquarters has it's own hot spring:
'Not much of a hot spring, although it was blistering hot. The remnants of an old pool were right next to the extremely powerful Marsyandgi river. It likely had washed the pool away several times. It was pleasant thought to simply sit and soak our aching feet in the scalding mud'.
Though as elsewhere along the Marsyangdi soakers are disappointed:
'We intentionally chose a lodge on the far side of the village to be close to the hot springs. Our first order of business was to go and check them out. We were immediately disappointed. What we encountered, while a hot spring, was only about 3 ft x 5 ft and only 1-2 ft deep - not ideal for a soak. The only thing you could really do was stick your hands and feet in it. It was very hot, too hot, possibly, to get in anyways. We opted for a shower and doing laundry instead'.
Or do as these did:

'The first hot spring of the trail (Chame Hot Springs)... the pipe was broken and as you can see, these kids were shivering in 2 inches of luke warm water. ...
So we engineers had to prove ourselves, and borrowed a few sections of hose from our hostel and did some siphoning...
And Voila! Hot springs in action. At least 2 dozen folks had come and given up on it before we came to the rescue...'.
The Nar Phu valley, a valley heading north from the Marsyangdi, has a hot spring according to this trekking website:
'A hot spring near the "Hulakin Odar" (Postman cave) on the bank of the Nar River officers a soothings naturall bath!. The bathapart from being a natural therapy is believed to cure sking ailments'.
So herewith concludes the chapter on the Marsyangdi and hot springs. Anywhere between four and eight hot springs.
[updated Feb 2013]

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