I must have been there for more than an hour. It was ultimate bliss! A sensation of thorough pampering I had not felt in a long time.
All around me was dense jungle with tall moss laden trees with several hanging vines. The icy waters of river Modi khola cascaded just beside in fury. Right next to the river, beside the boulders, lay sizable open air baths, built with stone and filled with steaming water from the natural hot springs. The clouds had just opened up and it was pouring. And I sat neck deep soaking in hot water and feeling the raindrops on my head…at the same time. I felt like a King!
I was on my way back after a quick reconnaissance of Annapurna Base Camp(ABC) and was just 3 hours away from the roadhead at Siwai, when I decided to stop. I had been rushing for long, without a rest. At Jhinu, out of a sudden whim I decided to gift myself a break and checkout the hot springs. It was the best decision on that recce.
Sitting there alone, inside the “natural Jacuzzi” relieving my stressed muscles in pouring rain, I felt grand. I was finally chilling on the trip!!
Jhinu Danda, is one of the stops on the trek to ABC in the Annapurna Sanctuary of Nepal. This is a popular trek and many tourists flock the Annapurna region during Spring(Mar to May) and Fall(Oct, Nov). A lot of tourists stop once at Jhinu, either on their way up to ABC or during their return. Jhinu, in fact is a cluster of tea-Houses built on the ridge overlooking both sides of the Valley.The hot springs is about 20 mins walk down to the Modi Khola river through a romantic forest path. For most tourists, the hot-springs is a big draw. But many skip it too. After a tiring day of hiking up and down on endless stairs (esp in the Annapurna region), the weary ones tend to avoid the additional hike to the hot springs. My advice – DON’T! You will miss out on an unbelievable experience.
Starting from your tea-house, a little descent into the forest takes you to a ticket counter which hands out entry tickets for a nominal fee. In the monsoons, when the Modi river swells it tends to destroy the boundary walls of the hot springs. The money collected from tourists is used to reconstruct and maintain the area.
There are 3 baths built in the area with supposedly varying levels of water temperatures – luke warm, warm and hot! Your body needs to be an expert thermometer to realize this though. There are also changing rooms and shower areas. People generally start from the luke warm bath and shift to the hotter ones after a while. I decided to do it the other way round. If you get too hot inside, you can always get out and chill yourself with a dip in the Modi khola adjacent to the bath.
Remember to carry drinking water since you can dehydrate quickly if you are inside the bath for long. And maybe some champagne to celebrate the grandeur of life!