Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Soaking Gods and Goddessess

A heavily updated entry of the hot soaks of Himachal Pradesh:

Following on the trail of the Indian sub-continent side of the Himalaya we have already featured Arunchal Pradesh state, Bhutan, Sikkim state, Nepal and Kashmir. 
South of Kashmir, but north of the Ganges plain lies Himachal Pradesh. Extremely convenient is the existence of a web site featuring Himachal Pradesh's hot springs, which mentions that the hot springs are popular. Most are located in Kullu district.

Out of Kullu
In Himachal Pradesh (or let's use HP) there are only two hot springs outside of Kullu that I could find; at least on the web. One is that of
Tattapani. Located in Mandi district, this hot spring is just beyond 50 km to the northwest of the state capital of Shimla.
'It is located on the right bank of river Satluj at an altitude of 656 meters. This natural sulphur spring is pure and has curative power for various kings of bodily ailments'.
There's a recently constructed place called Hotel Hot Spring Therme and Spa which seems to be the host of the hot spring. Tripadvisor notes that it has four and a half stars. It has a larger, more public pool and two smaller private pools.
From the hotel website:
'Tattapani is famous for its natural hot sulphur spring gushing out at the temperature of 65 degree Celsius near the the river. From the ancient time the local population well known the miraculous property of this water and come from all over the state to take a dip into the sulphur spring: this provides relief to the people suffering from joint pains, fatigue and stress or any type of skin disease and hence has got a great medicinal quality'.

There must be natural public springs as well.
'Tattapani is famous for hot spring water coming out by the side of Sutlej River. These hot waters came out from different places on the river bed at Tattapani'.
The hot springs are highly frequented on the festival of Makar Sakranti which heralds the suns movement into the northern hemisphere and is considered an auspicious occasion to take a soak. Some recent dips have seen crowds upwards of 25,000 (source)!
'These hot water springs are situated on the bank of Sutlej river. The river is at 4-5 deg. celsius while the springs are at 60-70 deg. celsius. So you have to mix both waters to enjoy the bath'.
View of Hot water springs-

There is though some doubts as toward the future of Tattapani. The Tribune (Jan. 16, 2013):
'Local hoteliers, pilgrims and residents demand the immediate revival of the legendary hot sulphur springs at a higher side of the 800-MW Kol Dam project to save this tiny hot spring healing baths destination from “imminent manmade disaster”.
The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has asked the local administration to vacate the bathing sites by February 22 to make way for the filling of the dam for the project. This notification has spelt doom for local small-time vendors and pandas, who make a living from managing the bathing ghats for pilgrims performing rituals of “tula daan” and bathing along the bank of the Sutlej round the year'.
Since this info, the hydro project has been stalled due to technical problems (source), but submersion is the most likely outcome in the near future. The Times of India (Jan. 15, 2014):
'The devotees on Tuesday took ‘last dip’ in the holy waters and hot springs of Tatapani situated on the right bank of Satluj River to mark Makar Sankranti, considered a holy day.
Sources said that unusual rush of pilgrims was seen here on Makar Sankranti probably due to the fear of submergence of this site in dam waters. Around one lakh [100,000] pilgrims took holy dip at natural hot water springs at Tattapani.
Both the hot springs bath sites will be submerged in the reservoir of 800-MW Kol dam by the end of this year as the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) authority has started filling up the dam.
“We have started the process to fill the dam reservoir from third week of December last year and it will be filled within 300 days. The water will be stored up to the elevation of 642 meters which will submerge the many areas including the hot springs of Tattapani,” Praveen Bharti, spokesman NTPC project at Kol Dam site said. He claimed that the NTPC authority has relocated the hot water springs at a higher location.
Sources said that NTPC authority has already paid the compensation to the local people here for the land which will be submerged in the reservoir water. Kol dam, the flagship hydro-power project of the NTPC shall be ready to generate power by 2014-15'.
Progress? What if they had tried to develop the geothermal potential?

Anyway, the other hot spring in Mandi district is Jeori, located in Kinnaur district (source).

Jeori, source

A soak to worship
A number of hot springs are located not far from each other in Kullu district, near the town of Manali.

On the bank of the Parvati river, are the hot springs known as
Manikaran which appear along a 1 km long built-up strip. The waters are very hot and besides being used for soaking purposes, they are used to boil meals; a Sikh temple here specializes in producing such meals. The religious significance for the Sikhs and the Manikaran hot springs finds it's origins in that the thermal springs were visited by a Sikh Guru Nanak Dev. This had lead to there being a number of hot pools specifically for Sikh.

'Hot Water Spring at Manikaran'
By Sanjay. Note the cookers along the edge of the spring.

Besides religious significance for the Sikh, Hindu's also see religious significance in the hot springs, according to this legend:
'According to a legend, Manikaran is associated with Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati. Mani Karan means Ear Rings - it is said that once, while taking bath here, Maa Parvati lost her ear rings in the Kund (pond). When she told it to Lord Shiva, he became furious and looked at the water of the kund with great anger and then thousands of ear rings flowed out from the boiling water and since then the water of the spring is boiling'.
Wikipedia has an extensive listing of the religious significances of Manikaran for both religions.
There are many video's of Manikaran, follow the link to just a few on You Tube.

But besides cooking and religion, there are also soaking sites. A recent (July, 2014) experience:
'When we got to the hot springs, I asked if I could dip my foot into the water. He sent us upstairs to house of worship. On the second try, he pointed out the men’s and woman’s bathing sites. The men’s site was out in the open and anyone walking by could look in. I got into the hot spring water and posed for some pictures. When I got out, I asked Kim how her experience was. She told me that she left the women’s area. After getting past the door, all of the women were bathing in the nude. She got out of there without dipping even a toe in the water! I told her I would have traded places with her!!
'Pilgrims bathe in the hot springs of Manikaran next to the roaring Parvati River'.

Further Upstream
Besides being a haven for Israeli tourists (source),
Kasol (which is 1 km further upstream from Manikaran) also has a hot spring. Or hot springs. The temperature is said to be lower than that of Manikaran, affording visitors with a real possibility to soak and not scald.

It's quite difficult to pinpoint the hot spring exactly. Following are 3 links to photo's of hot springs in or near Kasol, but all looking differently., Shailpanoramio and Yossi. The former though is a private hot spring attached to the Taji guesthouse, more out of town. Apparently there is more than 1 site; there's even a reference mentioning springs on both sides of the river. Though another states:
'Hot water emerges only at one location at Kasol'.
Taking a bath in one of the hotsprings in Kasol #kasauli #hotspring #himachal #pradesh #india

Whatever, there is this recent (Nov. 2013) description of Kasol:
'Kasol is a backpacker’s paradise. This tiny village is inhabited mostly by tourists from Israel which is why most of the hoardings are in Hebrew and even in restaurants, one would find Israeli menus mostly. Kasol is ideal for a vacation if you want to chill in the lap of nature'.
From this photo I deduce that there also hot tub huts for rent:

 My divine treat, a deluxe hot bath.

While researching hot soaks in the Indian administered parts of the Himalaya, one of the only hot springs still remaining in it's true natural surroundings is the hot spring of
Khirganga (Kheer Ganga / Kheerganga). Khirganga is located another 12 km upstream of Kasol and can only be reached on foot.

From Wikipedia:

'... the trail ascends further through thick pine forests to the spiritual site of Khirganga (Kheerganga), a meadow at 2960m where Shiva is said to have meditated for 3000 years. The hot springs at Khirganga are extremely important for Hindu and Sikh pilgrims as well as many others who believe the waters have sacred healing properties'.
The end of the journey means a chance to soak in near natural surroundings with views of majestic Himals. 
But only for men. In India, women can't been seen in whatever state of undress in combibnation with water (unless of course it's a Bollywood blockbuster) so they have to be content with the view of 4 walls. Which is a pity if you see the magnificent surroundings.
The name Khirganga refers to white milk, the substance these waters near in colour, probably due to the sulphur content.

'KhirGanga hot springs'
by ohad_katzin. In front the pool for men,
behind the shed for women (with improvised skylight); out of soaking site the incredulous view. Since though, the roof has fallen into disrepair ...

Experiencing the women's soak ...
Closer to Mainali is the village of Vashisht which (like Manikaran above) has many springs covering a wider area. With access to Mainali guaranteed, Vashisht (or Vashist) has become famous for it's hot springs; it's reputed that daily nearly 3,000 visitors come for a soak, though this description mentions it to be a small peaceful village ..... 
As with Manikaran, this Vashisht hot springs have been listed in India's top ten of hot springs.
In common with nearly everywhere in India, the appearance of hot water springs has lead to the establishment of temples, here named after the spiritual master of Rama, Vashishta.
'Inside the grounds of the Vasistha Temple there are two hot spring pools that are free. They can get a bit dirty'.
A real experience:
'... the hot water springs that flow into an area in the village, from the mountains, boiling water, and the smell of sulphur, where they all do not only their washing of clothes but soap themselves all over the men and boys in their underpants, and wash/bathe... then of course the Public bathing areas of which there are three, like open air mini swimming pools, fed by the hot spring water where every Tom dick and Harry lounge and bathe, right by the old Vashisht Temple of which there are a few here,(temples) there are the free common public baths, which look utterly disgusting and unhygienic, then regular baths and the deluxe baths, looking at them I don't think I personally would want to step foot in any!! Particularly as you can be seen from the cafes and guest houses above getting changed...well maybe not in the private deluxe ones but no thanks all the same!!! The Indian pilgrims come to ceremoniously bathe in the hot spring waters and visit the temples here..... '
Obviously this was blogged by a man.

What happens over at the ladies? Lael wrote this on myspace:
'I went into the bath yesterday. There were a couple of Indian women and several little girls. The water was really hot. I have a little thermometer attached to my bag and I took it in the water with me the first time, 112 degrees. I got in and out, my feet feeling more and more cooked each time and playing with the little girls. Indian tourists from other parts of the country came and went, just dipping their feet into the water for blessing. Public places in India are usually filled with men so it was really refreshing to be around all women. I will be headed back there in the evening when the weather cools off a little bit'.
More from the women's side of the springs from Kara and Max:
'Hot springs! Vashisht is blessed with an unlimited supply of scalding hot water, and the townsfolk are appropriately grateful. The source of the springs has a temple built around it where locals come daily to wash and pray. Foreigners are also welcomed into the temple's relaxing sulfuric pools. Inside the temple there are two pools for men and women separated by an ancient stone wall. Kara was pleasantly surprised to see that the strict taboo against nudity dissolved into the steam of the women's bathing area. It was the first time Kara ever saw an Indian woman showing her full skin in the 11 months she has spent in India. Go women of Vashisht! she says. Max was disappointed that the men's pool was in full view of the street above, and so he could not enjoy full relaxation in his birthday suit. Both pools are piping hot and it is a test of endurance to submerge one's full body in the holy water. We always left the hot springs completely rejuvenated and calm. Unfortunately photos are prohibited in the temple...'.
Unfortunately this, however it's not the only such amazing experience.
Ashley in a blog adds to what I believe is also a hot spring visit to Vashisht:
'The female body is sacred in India. They do everything they can to cover their bodies and sometimes will be married for years before even their husbands see them nude. ... As I entered the hot spring I couldn't believe my eyes. There were about a dozen nude women, all shapes, sizes and ages, laughing and slashing about, scrubbing each others backs and just having a grand old time'.
The fascinating blog entry ends with self-reflection:
'Bathing with those women in the hot springs day after day I felt my attitude and self image shifting. Being a young woman growing up in American culture you have societal pressures placed on your body image. I never thought of myself as being insecure about my image but I found myself subconsciously judging others. Not on purpose, but just as a result of our societies labels on beauty. I always wanted children, a lot of them, but I did worry about the toll child baring would take on my body. What I saw in those hot springs was pure, natural, unmanipulated beauty. Everyone of them was perfect and there was not even a glimpse of judgment or shame. It was so inspiring and erased and fear of aging I may have had. Their confidence was beautiful, their smiles were beautiful, the love in their eyes was beautiful, and every curve on their body was absolutely beautiful!'
As is the description.

Besides the public pools,
HP Tourism Development Corp. is said to be running
'turkish style baths'
with more private facilities. Their own web site fails to mention this .... This site mentions that it is due to a dispute between
'... the villagers and the Himachal government regarding payments and the water supply that the villagers believe to be theirs by right. In the meantime, the only place for a hot soak is in the bathing pools of Vashisht’s ancient temple (free) which is far more atmospheric anyway'.
Such is the fame of Vashist, that the Tribune (7 Dec. 2008) even mentions it's a significant place for local Gods and Goddesses:
'Vashisht village is not only known for its hot water springs and the' Vashisht rishi temple, but also for the sanctity of the shrine where the gods and goddesses of Kullu valley visit to take a holy dip'.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Just some of the pictures / info I've noticed over the past months concerning just a few of the many, may hot soaks in the Himalaya and further away ...
  • Bhutan 

After the wash out of a few years back this is what the hot springs of Gasa are coming to look like. Sourced from the tumbler of bhutanmajestictravel1:
'The Gasa Tsachu “Hot Spring” very popular for both Nationals and also Tourist to come soak because there are different Bath Tubs for different illness, such as Tuberculosis, Joints, Rashes and so on. Best time is Spring and Winter but my recommendation is late Autumn and late Spring because of lesser visitors. #gasa #hotspring #autumn #spring #winter #tsachu'
Also from Bhutan, this photo from John Berthold as part of a series on the country:

'Bathers enjoy a soak in the Gelephu hot spring in Southern Bhutan next to a small shrine dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava'.
  • China

    Hotspring waterfall spa in Liangshan of Sichuan province, China. #China #waterfall #spa #nature #hotspring #Sichuan #温泉 #凉山 #四川 #backpacking
  • India
Trekking and soaking are heaven sent. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Himalaya's. Read this trek account from Ujithra Ponniah. An excerpt:
'The trek to Kheerganga begins from Barshani village, which is the last motorable point. It is a 14km uphill trek through the forest.  The forest is alive and buzzing with life and the Parvati River accompanies you through your walk. Having recuperated from our long trek to Kheerganga and enjoyed the dip in the hot spring and rejuvenating sight of the first layer of snow on the surrounding mountains, we trekked further with the hope of reaching Tunda Bhuj, a place adorned with a wide variety of sub-alpine forests'.
What Kheerganga looks like (female side; even so far from reality old habits die hard ...): 

#hotsprings #india #trek 
Kheerganga, Himachal Pradesh, India, source

A hot spring in Madkot, Uttarakhand, India, photo from Picasa accountant Arun Chendukala:

  • Kazakhstan
С добрым утром братва!Вы видите сероводородный источник, который находится в устье р. Горельник.По слухам местных жителей его вода омолаживает и снимает усталость.Температура воды источника около 22°С.#Казахстан #Горы #ГорячийИсточник #Медео #Вхламтур
It says Kazakhstan, so it must be so. But not hot? source

  • Kyrgyzstan
#Горячийисточник #hotsprings #kyrgisztan #socrowded #healthy #salty #hot #swimming #issykkul
  • Mongolia 
Tsenkher hot spring, from the blog of ontheroadwithclaire. 
  • Nepal
Hotspring near Nepal - Tibet boarder #nepal #tibet #hotspring #tatopani

L'eau doit aussi avoir des vertus quand on la boit car de nombreuses personnes remplissent des bouteilles.
More black and white, this time it is from Chilime Tatopani, Nepal, also near the border with Tibet. More great photo's from Le Voyage de Philmy
  • Siberia

Nearly off the Asian continent are the Kuril islands. From this summer are photo's from Eugene Kapersky on flickr:

Iturup hot springs (above) and Urup (below):

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Into the wide open?

Hard trek
Located in the north-western tip of India, the state of Arunachal Pradesh, covers a tremendous amount of terrain, not much smaller than the whole of Nepal. The former contained more than 40 hot springs so it's not surprising to see that Arunachal Pradesh has quite some thermal activity, though possibly less developed and / or visited. It's therefore understandable that there's less info on the internet available.

Re-known for the many different ethnicities, Arunachal Pradesh is distinctly remote, little roads offer any kind of access. Tawang district bordering both Tibet and Bhutan is accessible and contains largely Tibetan Buddhist ethnicities. As one of the most accessible mountain areas it's not surprising to find that (as is the case with Bhutan to it's east) there are a number of hot springs not far away from Tawang itself (relatively speaking ...).

Tsachu Hot Spring is a bit of a language anomaly; Tsachu already being the Bhutanese name for a hot spring. It seems to be the most well-known, though not so easy to visit:
'Tsachu hot spring which can be reached by traveling by a light motor vehicle for two hours from Tawang up to Sarong Gonpa and trekking from there for another three hours'.
'Tsachu Hot Spring can be reached by travelling for 4 hours by a vehicle and another 4 hours on foot'.
Do note that Tawang is 10 hours drive from the nearest airport .... Tripadvisor is still waiting for reviews ... And this website notes the distance from Tawang as 230 km and adds:
'Apart from hot spring, this site is also suitable for hard trekking'.

The hot spring of Thingbu is located 68 km away from Tawang town. Apparently a pony is the most used form of transport for the final stretch from the roadhead.

Other hot springs located in Tawang district are Kitpi or Greng-khar (Grenkhar), the former being the name of the village rather than the name of the hot spring. This website adds:
'It is about 40 kms away from tawang town.This hot water spring and ‘ Manchu’ provides warm, sulphur rich water and cures many ailments'.
There's a slightly scientific entry on hot springs in Tamang which hardly adds to the above other than this gem:
'Monpa, Sherdukpen, Miji and Aka tribes take holy bath in these hot springs in the belief that their sins will get washed away. They also take a dip in the water for 1–3 h for healing any kind of skin disease.
hot spring is located nearer Jang:
'where the water is so hot that “yak meat is cooked in 20 minutes”'.
Despite the above being the most well-known(?) in Arunachal Pradesh, there are no first hand experiences shared. This contrasts with Dirang (West Kameng district, south of Tawang), famous for it's apples, kiwi's and yaks to which Roy Biswas has paid a visit:
'The other famed tourist spot is the Hot Water Spring, which is also the main attraction for locals, who supposedly take bath in the Hot Springs as its water is said to possess curative properties. However, I was most dejected after having undertaken a long trek down from the main road, as an Ecological Camp has come up at the site, with a Cafeteria right in front of the Hot Spring, which is not only blocks the view of the Hot Spring, but also creates more ecological hazards, rather than preserving the ecology there for which it is meant & sounds. The local environment department needs to take a look at this, before it gets too late to redeem the hot spring'.

Others chime in:
'We had the exact same reaction when we went to check out that hot spring at Dirang. I would have expected at least a little bit of improvement there from 8 years back'.
Lower Dirang valley contains a hot spring near the village of Jia.

Located just inside of the Arunachal Pradesh - Assam border, the western town of Bhalukpong has it's own hot spring:
'Bhalukpong, which lies about 85 kilometers away from Bomdila on the foothills of Aka ranges, is an ideal picnic spot. The picturesque site is also a home to the Jia-Bharali river and a hot spring, which is believed to have a medicinal value (source)'.
Hot spring (sanaser, May 2014) 
Bomdilla. Source.

More to the east, Anjaw district contains two hot springs, one named Walong circle, the other Kibithoo circle.

'Located 20 km away from the Chinese border, Walong is situated on the western bank of river Lohit in Anjaw district. The mesmerizing place is famous for its hot water spring and the Namti valley. The hot spring is located amazingly at the confluence of river Dichu and Lohit. It is a major attraction of Walong and tourists fly to the place to take a soothing bath in the medicinal water of the hot spring'.

As always when there is little reference material, some caution is required as often different names as used for the soak!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Too far

Sichuan, China. Source: messland

Natural soaking areas are mostly threatened by developers. Away with the traditions, in with the wellness. But at a price. Development is mostly poorly done with little or no regard for local needs, all on the basis of pipe dreams: cash. But more often than not this cash is not forthcoming and the new owners of the previously publicly held entity now flip the premises to others who build more. If anything this blog seeks to endear the traditions and bath in the naturalness.

But the truth is that the future is more concrete, literally.  A lead article from  (July 21). On Himalaya's geothermal potential. Basically more could be done with it. 
'Thousands of megawatts of geothermal energy remain locked up in the Himalayas because of environmental considerations and lack of investment in research, say international geologists'.
Another article can be found here..

Taking a dip in a hot spring #hotspring #swim #dip #wakhanvalley #tajikistan #afghanistan #ontheroad #wanderlust #nomad #hdtravellingslowly #bicycle #bicycletouring #cycletouring #cycletour2014
Just a shot from the travels of hannah and friends going east. A full description of their hot spring find here. If I am correct the above is from Tajikistan with Afghanistan on the far side ...

On you can find this soaking adventure from Jalal-abad, Kyrgyzstan:
'around 50 kilometers south of Arslenbob in the city of Jalal-Abad atop a hill is an old ex-Soviet spa/sanatorium.  these giant decaying facilities are speckled throughout Central Asia but this particular one happens to be built around a hot spring.  after several failed attempts at trying to navigate my way through the confusing Kyrgyz bureaucracy, i was finally able to book myself a “mud treatment”.  i was lead swiftly by the arm by a very helpful, very persistent nurse to the lower levels of the sanatorium where i was met by an older gentleman wearing a rubber apron and rubber boots.  he lead me through a door where a long hallway of tiled cubicles stood, poured a bucket full of hot smelly mud into a plastic covered bed and then made a few hand gestures that suggested i should strip naked and lay down in it.  there are times when getting naked is an easy, natural process but this time was most certainly not one of them.  i had come too far to turn back now.  the strange Kyrgyz man in the rubber suit with bucket in hand was waiting patiently for me to keep up my end of the bargain.  all i had to do was get those clothes off and… ya know… lay down in that mud immediately after.  and so i smiled at the nice man, who was still standing there of course… and then… well… did exactly that.  before i could fully come to grips with how vulnerable i felt lying there naked in the smelly hot mud, the man just laughed and then dumped a bucket of scolding hot mud all over me.  then he folded me into the plastic sheet like a burrito, covered me in additional wool blankets and poured in two additional buckets of mud, one in the opening at my feet and another in the opening at my neck.  then he shook me back and forth and then walked away.  as pain turned into pleasure, my face began to itch uncontrollably.  i was cocooned, hot and helpless.  then an overwhelming sensation of deep relaxation washed over me and seemed to penetrate my bones'.
Picture perfect

In contrast to the infinity pool on the men's side the ladies have to contend with the walled in soak at Khirganga, HP, India. Posted by catherineask
Holy natural hotspring in Kheer Ganga at 2960 metres! Perfect for karmacleaning.. All my sins washed away emoji #shiva is said to have #meditated in #kheerganga for #3000years

Just another photo from many concerning the Nujiang's (Yunnan, China) natural hot springs. Source

#hotspring #khangairesort chillin in paradise
Mongolia. bilguunkh4

After long trip to Tobolsk Hot Mineral Terms near Tyumen, 40 degrees of relaxation! emoji
Tyumen lies in west Siberia. dafchiz

An interesting and different article on Bhutan's hot spring baths by ktshering.
'Unfortunately (with due respect to the hoteliers for using this word), the commercialized versions of hotstone bath tubs which is available in most resorts and hotels across Bhutan is just an attempt to make a close replication. Most importantly, it misses out the intricate social bonding process involved in the task which takes atleast a day. If the tourists are to pay a hefty price for this, then they must experience the process as well. More than the health benefit that one derives out of this "medicinal water", it is much about enhancing your family bonds, and building friendship
As far as my knowledge goes, no scientific studies have shown the water to have health benefits but Bhutanese will not mind continuing with the practice. The placebo effect, good meals and societal bonding during the process may be some of the reasons attributable for the revival of health'. 
He then describes the process and ends with this photo:

Enjoying the fruit of the hardwork
On a top 10 of favourite hot springs. No. 3 on the list, Shikatori, is located somewhere between Yunnan and Sichuan (China), if possible:

No. 5 is from Tibet (Garze) which includes the strange notion of racy photo's on the wall surrounding the tub. No. 8 is likewise from Tibet, Tirtapuri. All-in-all nice photo's.

Wish i could shower like this every day! #nepal #hotsprings

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Lisu soaking exposed

Lisu Bathing
Bordering Burma, the Lisu ehtnic minority live along the banks of the upper Nujiang (Salween) river, in the autonomous prefecture of Nujiang, one of the westernmost administrative divisions of Yunnan, China

Lisu tradition dictates the local custom of holding a bathing festival coinciding with the their new year celebrations. 
This tradition of holding a bathing festival is very much similar to the Tibetan custom (Garma Ri Gi). The tradition transcends the mountain themselves; Hindu's have traditional bathing festivals as well as adhering spiritual connections to water. 
Unique to the Lisu of Nujiang is the involvement of hot springs, which seems sensible considering the time of the year the event is held.

'Every Spring Festival, the Lisu people gather at the Hot Springs by the Nujiang River
By taking baths and washing off dirt with sacred spring water,
people hope for forthcoming auspiciousness'.
Posted by Funansan.

Th Lisu tradition of bathing in hot springs at New Year is called Kuoshi Festival (the New Year festival) determined to be from 20-22 December each year contrasting with Tibet's mid-summer bathing tradition. The practice though does have it's local roots:
'Legend says that the estuary of a huge pool below the cliffs at the foot of the east Gaoligong Mountain was guarded by a pair of little green sparrows. When local people gave parties, year after year, these green sparrows magically provided all the bowls, chopsticks, tables and chairs needed. Then a man failed to return the borrowed articles to the birds and enraged the Dragon King, who ordered that the pool be filled up. The birds turned into girls who bathed in the hot spring near the pool and departed. Consequently, early spring every year, local residents camp near the spring to offer sacrifices to the Dragon King and the magic sparrows, and bathe'.
Others simply see the custom of holding a bathing festival in more practical terms:
'By taking baths and washing off dirt with the sacred spring water, people hope for the forthcoming of auspiciousness'.
Then again the bathing is only a minor part of the festival apparently:
'The most interesting event of the Lisu people's traditional Kuoshi festival is the Hair-Combing Contest held on the first and seventh days of the first lunar month'.
The bathing festival seems to coincide with the Lisu New Year, but might just follow the Kuoshi festival; the Bathing Festival is
'... usually held in the first month of the lunar year'.
Which one could also describe as very early spring .... 

How to soak Lisu Style
Though soaking is part of the Lisu cultural tradition, this source puts the whole soaking process in more evocative terms:
'When the time comes, people from near counties and regions, wearing rich dresses and bringing food, luggage and even cooking stuff, keep pouring in. Tents cover the place, which is quiet in normal times. People all crowd together, singing and smiling happily, and the scene is full of bustle and excitement. The "Spring Bathing Festival", which used to be a day to take bath and cure diseases, now becomes a festival of revelry for people to spend holidays and dance and sing. Especially for youths at their life's full flowering, they gather together in dozens or even hundreds to compete songs, poems and look for lovers. It lasts all through the night and they never feel bored with it'.
No, soaking is not boring here.

However, when searching the web for hot springs in the Nujiang Autonomous Prefecture nearly all focus on the bathing during the festival, as if no soaking takes place at other times. 
And unfortunately most of the reporting on the festival involves sensationalizing the methods of bathing. 
For instance eChinacities includes Nujiang valley hot springs in China's Top 5 Best Nude Bathing Areas despite the fact that the Lisu bathe only semi-naturally ....
It even means that simply the sight of seeing soakers soak can be the ultimate destination. From
'Every year, during the Spring Festival period, Lisu minority people will have bath together in hot springs along both sides of Nu River (the Salween). And held many activities such as poem contest, singing and dancing, etc, to celebrate the coming of spring season. This trip is specially good for photographing'.
For proof purposes the site no longer exists alas. 

Source, caption translated by google:
'Captain guide whispered, pointing to the river: there is beauty in the hot springs! Aha! This really been kept under Liu arrived, I saw the green leaves masking, several topless women are soaked in smoke curl Zaochi, the Liu quietly approaching, when they found me immediately picked up a towel to cover the naked upper body let me exceedingly disappointed!'
And how is the experience seeing soaking locals?
'I left the competition place at noon and walked to visit their "zaotanghui" (public baths) gathering. Some women were taking baths in the hot springs, laughing and playing. Even when tourists focused their cameras on them, they did not behave in an offended manner. What a simple and happy nationality'.
So much for the modern man ... 
Another visitor mentions that the bathing festival is highlighted by eight camera bearing tourists and adds this:
'It is said, used to be with the bath naked men and women, and now more and more "civilized", "naked" too little, men and women are "incompatible", and is generally sub-pools and baths'.

Anyway, modernity also plays a major part in the future of some of these soaks. The Sydney Morning Herald no less, also takes a soak with the locals:
'Men and women alike stripped to their underpants, Wa Ba's family and friends sat soaking in hot pools fed by a geothermal spring gushing from a mossy crevice under the gnarled roots of a banyan tree on the bank of the Nu River.
As his wife tended a kettle over a wood fire and young women drank cups of hot water straight from the spring, Wa offered round a bottle of his homemade rice wine, a clear brew strong enough to give a noticeable buzz from just a capful.
"Usually we take a bath here on the eve of the new year, so we're a bit late this year," said Wa, who lives in Dapicha, a village half an hour's walk away. "If you bathe here when the year is new, it protects you from illness" '.
Reported in 2005, it then goes on to mention that:
'But the hot pool enjoyed by Wa's group, the land of Pi's community, and perhaps even the tenure of his Lisu people in the Nu Valley, are threatened.
Just downstream from the hot spring, about five kilometres up from the town of Liuku, marker pegs stenciled "Liuku Power Station" are rammed into the earth beside a tunnel into the hillside. When built later this decade, the dam's reservoir will submerge the hot spring and many small farms and villages lining the river'.
Though the loss of the soaks is certainly a disadvantage, the projects (once completed) will certainly massively impact the local inhabitants and change their ways of life with no way back.
The consequences will also be felt in countries downstream, for instance now (in 2014) the Mekong is drying up along Thailand and in Lao, consequences attributed (by the press) to dams on this river, while decreasing waters are leaving Vietnam's Mekong delta more prone to become more saline, thus affecting agricultural negatively.
That said, dams have many environmental advantages over alternatives but being highly intrusive is not one of them.

The opposition, though not entirely successful, has been able to stall the construction according to the Times (21 May 2009). Opponents are organised in the Save the Nujiang as well as Salween Watch
The former reports that recently (March 2014) that construction is scheduled to start.

'Ritual bathing in hot springs is a part of the Lisu New Years tradition. These public springs will be deluged if the dam projects are completed. During Spring Festival camps are built near the pools which makes for a festival atmosphere'.

The soaks of Nujiang
Despite the considerable wealth of information on how the locals soak, hardly any information is available on where they soak and definitely no personal experiences are described on the net in English. Swell.

Some places that are mentioned as having soak sites are Chawalong, which is located in the north of Nujiang prefecture. The photo available on flickr doesn't endear itself to potential soakers though ....

Elsewhere mention is made of hot springs, 10 km north of Liuku city (Lushui county), the prefectures administrative center. These are Laomudeng (possibly), Bazhaodeng, Baihualing, Denggen and Mazhanghe (source).

Then this visitor mentions a distance of 30 km from Liuku and after google translate the following conspires:

'Fellow men left after another, but the ladies unwilling. Japan recalled bare bulbs, everyone wants to feel that part of the wonderful review in China at this time to revisit. At this point nothing can stop them, bidet into the embrace of the idea of ​​natural strong impact on them, and off it! Water it! Let those men waiting on top of it! Several women from the big city to abandon the secular, but also learn the local Lisu villagers, naked and jumped into the pool to that Pitt among the skin smooth and soft shine of turquoise water is more tender and beautiful in the clear water of the figure will undoubtedly expose'.
So to sum it up: there seems to be a lot of possibilities but does anybody know where?