Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bath time

yewkwang at Kasol, HP India:
Nature is genius - it create a hot springs for people to carry on their daily as routine in winter 🙏
##travel #travelbug #wanderlust #instapassport #backpacker #travellogue #natgeoindia #India #Himachal #himachalpradesh #beautifulhimachal #Kasol #kullumanali #insta_himachal #nature #winter #mountainworld #lifestyle #hotspring #parvati
Elsewhere in the world a winter swim is hailed as a breaking of the past and a cleansing for the future. 
The same practice takes place in parts of the Himalaya. Hindu's for instance refer to this as Makar Sankranti, which nearly always falls on either the 14th or 15th of January.
In these Himalayan areas having a shower in the winter is a luxury most cannot afford, so all enjoy in taking a winter bath if not for the need for a shower at least for settling the score with the gods.

Few are as fortunate as those posted on instagram above; having access to natural heated waters. 

Winter also heralds the soaking season in the southern parts of the Himalaya, which contrasts with for instance Europe where traditional soaking resorts close for the winter, how strange. Then again taking a sauna or a banya in winter is quite ubiquitous.
Winter swimming is a tradition not solely monopolized by the mountain people, China's Guiyang province has a winter swimming festival (source) and our Russian friends to the north are particularly fond of ice swimming, not my cup of tea. In Tibet the Bathing festival (Karma Dunba) is held mid-summer (even then a wild swim is a challenge in the icy Himalayan waters). 

Below a photo of the Kheerganga hot spring (likewise HP, India), of the inner ladies pools, quite hot. But very degrading that females need to be enclosed to enjoy a hot spring.

After the 6 hours trek, I deserve this... #HimalayasHotspring #jamsadventure2016 #jamstravel2016 #himalayas #kheerganga

As said, Russia sees it fair bit of winter swimming but mostly in the ice; but naturally hot springs would be preferable. Above Dezlinda hot spring (source), north Baikal, Siberia.
Following are two photo's from Russia's Far East: Kamchatka peninsula which (besides heaps of snow) has also quite a few hot springs. 
Kamchatka's Paratunka hot springs by sergokk_life 
Верхнепаратунские термальные источники
#камчатка #санаторийМО #паратунка
vageikaa in the very volcanic Mutnovskaya valley
 Камчатка Мутновская ГеоЭС горячие источники Kamchatka Mutnovskaya-geoes-moshchnee hot springs #путешествуйпороссии #камчатка #мутновкаядолина #горячиеисточники #купаемся #трекинг #клубстранник #russia #fareast_russia #kamchatka #mutnovskayavalley #hotsprings #travel #trekking #clubstrannik
There's a recent (Jan. 25) top 10 of Kamchatka's hot springs (source). In Russian. 
From Nepal we have a few snippets of news. 

First of all, the Nepali Times (Nov. 11-17) looks at being an amchi, a traditional Tibetan healer. Herbal baths are seen as a good therapy:
'Ani Kunsang, a female amchi from Tsum Valley explained: "The combination of several herbal ingredients with the qualitative value of the elements, water and fire, has the same therapeutic value as a bath in a natural, hot spring'.
Below a hot stone bath from Bhutan (mentioned is Hotel Taktshangview) infused with herbs.
Ophelio. #ophelia#shakespeare#hotstonebath#herbs
As if development itself is not detrimental to the existence and enjoyment of hot springs, Osnepalnews (Jan. 10) reports on road building efforts along the Kali Gandaki river which will threat the hot spring of Bhurung:
'The gradual road expansion under the Beni – Jomsom – Kerala project threatens to bury the source of the hot spring prompting the irate locals to demand an alternative route'. 
Protesters demand an alternative route which may seem logical. However space is at a premium in what can be considered the world's deepest valley.

Probably at Jagat hot spring. ayshastravelcosmos:
So happy to have a natural hot spring all to myself 😆 #hotspring #traveltheworld #jagat #nepal #annapurnacircuit #day2 #solofemaletrekker #entertainyourself #radicalselfreliance #radicallove
For a change in what normally pops up as photographic evidence from Nepal, two hot springs en route to Manang, north of the Annapurna's. Above Jagat, below nearer Chame.
Y es que me la suda tanto..!! hoy después de 7 horitas y media y 30 kilómetros descansamos en las hot springs de "Chame", y lo bien que sienta el agua caliente después de tanto frío, ahora a coger fuerzas y seguir descendiendo mañana... #hotspring #chame #himalaya #himalayas #nepal #annapurna #annapurnacircuit #annapurnaregion #namaste #travel #outdoors #mountaineer #life #asia #travelworld #backpacker #explore
Monkey business
Kuenselonline (Nov. 22) on recent improvements on Denmang hot spring (Bhutan):
'A guesthouse, a neykhang (residence of local deity), bathroom, water taps, a new footpath within the Tshachu area covered by a canopy and secured with railing are also being constructed. Six new ponds have also been created besides improving the existing ponds.
Dorji Dema, 61, from Trongsa who visited the tshachu in 2014 said it was quite difficult for her to even find a place to pitch a tent. “It is also risky to live in tents in the area since monkeys roll stones down the cliff,” she said'.
Gasa Hot Springs, Bhutan
Tibetravel.org (Oct. 21) has a list of 8 Tibetan hot springs to enjoy. Soakers should heed this advice:
'Please avoid frolicking in the waters, or you’ll be breathless, fatigue, even faint'.
Scientific news from Tibet. The Eurasiareview (Jan. 7) reports on the history of human settlement in Tibet:
'Humans likely established permanent settlements on the high-altitude Tibetan Plateau between 13,000-7,400 years ago, according to new research published this week in the journal Science.
The researchers conducted an extensive analysis of human handprints and footprints found in 1998 in fossilized hot spring mud near the village of Chusang on Tibet’s central plateau, at an elevation of 14,000 feet above sea level'.
Bowing out this blog entry, are two hot springs from the northern Himalayan Tajikistan; a quaint hot spring hovel along the Wakhan while the last picture comes from the more developed Garam Chashma hot spring.
Bathing in Tajikistan by Johanna and Linus