The series so far…

Well, continuing on the series of adventure bathing and wild, this time I going to share a unique experience which almost made me hard to believe that I did go through it. This time it comes all the way from favourite places in this world, a place which tool my soul away every since I have visited it, a place which calls me back every year to experience its unmatched beauty, a place called cold desert,a place called Ladakh.

Hot Water Springs of Chumathang – Ladakh

There are many hot springs around the India but none can match hot springs of cold desert at Chumathang. It was Day 3 of my last trip to Ladakh in April 2012 when there isn’t much tourist rush, season is about to begin. There were some really cold conditions prevailing in there when we landed. After couple of days of acclimatization, it was time for the trip to really kick off. We were all set to run for a 5-6 day run to remote Changthang region of Ladakh, disconnected from the civilization completely and had planned our first night stay at Chumathang near Hot Water Springs. So, far for the first two days it was freezing cold with occasional snowfall around, so never dared to think of a bath. I had this insanity in mind of taking the dip in hot water springs of Chumathang but experiencing such cold conditions it was really difficult to call for it.

We left for the day at 8 AM in the morning when weather today was fine with sun shining and no snowfall around. But, it was still very cold. Our target was to explore Hemis, Thiksey and Stkna monasteries on the way to Chumathang. We did exactly that but skipped the Thicksey as monastery had gone too much over the past three days 🙂 … We reached Chumathang at 4 PM in the evening and it had gone really cold by then being right besides the Indus River which was frozen at various sections as well. Fumes were coming out of the banks of Indus River where the Hot sulphur strings were coming out. I dared to step in but then rethink based on present headache and overall fatigue. Of course, the super chilled wind was another factor to stay away from water 😉 …

It was difficult to sleep whole night but I managed somehow. Next morning I was out and glad to see some less velocity of the wind and bright sunshine. I saw Rigzin (our driver) taking the bath in Hot Water Spring, I glanced at my friend and he nodded and as the headache had all gone, it was new day for us. So, we took the chance and went for it 😀 … It was bright sunshine, less wind but still my digital thermometer says 2 Degree Celsius :D. Well, the water was very hot and atmosphere was very cold, it was a unique feeling. I could not bare it all and upfront but once one mug of water ran through the body all was good to go. The whole body was shivering as soon as warmth of hot water disappear and I try to get another mug of water in a rush again. It was surely an experience to remember, as the water went from head to toe and slow cold breeze touching the parts of body… that rush to get another mug of hot water for both of us, me and my friend… the musical sound of Indus River flowing just in front of you… the sight of frozen opposite banks of Indus River… freezing cold temperatures… an experience that only few idiots could dare and that too after a night of headache 😀 … surely an experience surely that made me or anyone feel “Alive is Awesome”  

After 10-12 mugs of water in a rush we both ran into our rooms to soak the body and get into the heavy woollens 😀 … It was time to proceed to Tso Moriri from Chumathang but surely with one of the best moments of our life. Next time you land up at Chumathang in Ladakh, do try this unique adventure bathing experience aside the Indus River.

Hot Springs of Chumathang…
Hot Springs of Chumathang
Frozen Indus River near Chumathang…
Frozen Indus River near Chumathang
Hot Water Springs of Panamik – Ladakh

Continuing our journey over Tso Moriri, Hanle, Pangong Tso, Shyok Village, Sumur over next few days we reached Panamik on Day 6. We already had adventure of our lifetime. It was dark weather that day with overcast conditions and occasional snowfall in between.  The feeling of bathing in hot springs of Chumathang had not gone from our minds so we were curious to see the hot springs of Panamik as well. Rigzin told instead of going to Hot Springs let’s go to a lake may be where you guys can jump in (we never knew he was joking). I did not have any courage to do it in such cold weather but then I thought I didn’t have courage to do it for hot springs as well 😉 … Well, I asked my friend and he said let’s try if we can. After 15-20 minutes of hike, we reached Yarab Tso lake at Panamik but unfortunately it was an sacred or holy lake so swim/jump/bathing/washing hands was not allowed in it. But, it was lovely to be around Yarab Tso lake.

After spending 30 minutes or so, we started back and asked Rigzin about the hot springs at Panamik. However, he told us that the kind of fun we had at Chumathang might not be felt at Panamik because it is more of a closed room where water runs through pipe or collected in small chamber and you can have a dip in there. We gave a thought for few minutes and neither of 3 of us was interested keeping in mind some really cold conditions and already experiencing the hot springs of Chumathang 🙁 … Nevertheless it is always worth to check such natural bodies and get a feel for it. May be next time I visit this place, I will check it out as there must be some source to it where I can jump into Open-mouthed smile

Yarab Tso Lake at Panamik in Nubra Valley…
Yarab Tso Lake at Panamik in Nubra Valley

Well, in the last few of articles including this one, I shared some wild and adventurous bathing experiences I had over past few years of my Traveling. I am sure there are more years of traveling to come in future and for sure I will be going to try out some of the wildest ideas I have in my mind for such experiences. In the next article, last of the series, I will share a wish list I have for some adventurous bathing in the wild and experiencing the feeling called “Alive is Awesome”  …


I am Dheeraj Sharma - a traveler, techie, and Himalayan lover. Since 2009, I have been helping thousands of travelers every year plan memorable & budget-friendly trips to the Himalayas - Smartly, Safely, and responsibly.

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