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Tshachu (hot spring)
Gelephu Tsachhu
Gelephu Tshachu
In the well of a tsachhu

A lot of people from all parts of Bhutan are travelling all the way to the Gelephu tshachu (hot springs) to soak away joint pains, stomach aches and skin diseases. But on reaching the tshachu, 15 kilometres from Gelephu, they were disgusted; the spring water in the four bathwells looked like stagnant soapy water with body dirt floating on the top.

"Instead of curing ailments it looked like we might get more," said the couple as they rushed back to Gelephu. Khandu, another visitor from Thimphu, said that he took a quick dip in the tshachu by closing his nose after he was forced by his colleagues. "The tshachu needs to be improved, it needs proper drainage so that the water in the wells can circulate more easily."

The Gelephu dungkhag administration plans the first major renovation since the hot springs were opened to public in 1962. All the four wells will be replaced with proper ponds and an improved drainage system. The bathwells will be like the Gasa Tshachu.

The surrounding area will also be improved with proper retaining walls as the tshachu is located in the foothills and faces the risk of falling boulders during the monsoon.

The tshachu gets crowded from December to February every year. People from Bumthang, Trongsa, Zhemgang and also from eastern and western dzongkhags come to soak in the tshachu. Most of them are rural folk who bring a stock of rations and bedding and stay for about a week. The early birds stay in the three dilapidated guest houses which can house about 40 people. People say that the hot spring relieve their backache and joint pains.

Contributed by KUENSEL, Bhutan's National Newspaper

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