Traveling to Tibet, in addition to feel that sacred land and purify your spirit, there is a must-experience tourism project, Tibetan hot springs. In fact, there is a very deep origin between Tibetans and hot springs since the Himalaya geothermal zone underground provide this land with abundant geothermal resources. Going down the road are the Yangbajain Hot Springs and the Qiusang Hot Spring endowed with myth while passing through Lhasa towards Maizhokunggar County will come along the holy Tidrum Hot Spring. In Tibet, hot springs have been linked to religious beliefs and health. Additionally, where there is a hot spring, there is almost a legend about the spring, and also there must be one or two legendary characters. It can be inferred only from those interesting stories how close is the relation between Tibetan people and hot springs. Besides, it is also an important traditional Tibetan therapeutic method to bath in the hot springs. There existed a lot of natural hot springs in Tibet, but the real complete natural ones only included the Kangbu Hot Spring, Yangpachen Hot Spring, Mira Mountain Hot Spring and Tidrum Hot Spring etc. among which the last one can be the most famous.
Tidrum village is 140km far from Lhasa, backed by the Baiyanchi holy mountain, with its canyon of 4500 meters above the sea level. The village is well-proportioned constructed against the mountain, and the well-known Tidrum Nunnery is located in the middle of these white Tibetan houses, echoed with conch sound all the day. The Tidrum Hot Spring is situated in this small village, Lhasa City, 70 km away from the county town. Behind the spring is the Tidrum Monastery built along the mountain while an important tributary of the Lhasa River is adjacent. Tidrum Hot Spring is known as “the world’s first hot spring” and became one of the four holy springs in Tibet as a result of Padmasambhava having blessed it.
Tidrum Hot Spring is an ancient spring bearing a long history of more than 1300 years. There are many legends about its formation, among one of them said that the spring was just a dead pool in the past until Guru Padmassambhava passed by here. He deemed the geomantic omen of the place was good for practicing but without a place of bath. So one day, he came to the pool and threw his bronze mirror into the water. Magically, the dead pool turned into a hot spring. The handle of the mirror left a hole in the mountain which enabled the water flow free. From then on, the hot spring became a good place for people to bathe. So far, the Tidrum Hot Spring still maintained a natural state in its original stage.
As a matter of fact, there are three hot spring pool separated by stone fence with different sizes, respectively offered to men, women and the mixed. The mixed pool has got a nickname as “deer spring” on the basis of another attractive legend. The male pool is about 3 meters in diameter, covering a land of 10 square meters while the female pool is of its double size. The deer pool is the smallest one but with the hottest water. The three pools are portioned by stones into open-top stone houses with different entrances. Stones below the surface are overgrown with smooth dark green mosses, which make people to reminisce about the long history of Tidrum Hot Spring. The male pool is not so large though, there are more than 30 bubbling eyes in it that constantly gush out dense, fresh and warm spring water. When the rain falls into the spring, countless water blisters emerge both on the surface and under the water with rustling sound.
Tidrum Hot Spring kept a temperature at around 40 degrees Celsius all the year round, containing multiple types of minerals beneficial to the health of people such as sulfur, gypsum rubrum, tussilago and coal etc. Therefore, frequently bathing in the spring will benefit the treatment of visceral diseases like gastric ulcer, bone diseases like rheumatoid arthritis as well as skin diseases like scabies. Anyway, it is conducive to dredge meridians, regulate blood and maintain physical fitness. Due to the mineral changes of the stratum, the water of Tidrum Hot Spring usually presented pale blue but showed white, yellow or red on the auspicious occasions. Actually, springs of different colors varied in its medical values. Moreover, when the temperature is high enough, there will appear some medicine snakes, which have never hurt anyone for the past thousand years but will increase the healing function of the spring water instead. The medicine snake is a rare and unique type inhabited in the rock caves or heaps in the vicinity of plateau springs and can be seen in summer and also in winter.
Full of stories and faiths making this behavior of enjoying in hot springs be more like a pilgrimage trip for each hot spring is far away from where people live and they need to head there from a distance, praying to the springs for health and well-being.