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Popular Khambu Hot Spring: A Healing Retreat in Tibet

Location and Significance of Kangpu Hot Spring

Kangbu Hot Spring, located in a narrow valley in Kangbu Village, Kangbu Township, Yadong County, is known locally as “Khambu Chutsen” ( ཁམ་བུ་ཆུ་ཚན།) in Tibetan, it means Peach Spring. In Mandarin, it’s referred to as “Medicine King Spring, (康布温泉)” and is one of the three famous hot springs in Shigatse. The spring is also renowned in Bhutan and Sikkim as the “World’s Medicine King Spring.”

Historical Importance

Situated at an altitude of 4800 meters, the hot spring was a favored destination for Sikkimese royalty and Tibetan aristocrats from Lhasa and Shigatse before Tibet is social reform. According to legend, Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) created this spring with his vajra (diamond) tools to cure the local people’s diseases when he passed through Yadong on his way to Tibet.

Therapeutic Properties

Khambu Hot Spring is celebrated across Tibet for its healing properties. It is said to offer two treatment sessions in spring and autumn, each lasting 21 days. The hot spring area spans about 50,000 square meters and is rich in minerals. There are 14 spring sources, with 12 developed for use.

Variety of Springs

Each spring has different temperatures and medicinal properties, clearly detailed on plaques. The waters are believed to cure over 30 ailments, including rheumatoid arthritis, fractures, heart disease, headaches, leprosy, gynecological issues, and edema. The springs are now individually enclosed, allowing for a natural and communal bathing experience. Many visitors who arrived with walking sticks have reportedly been able to discard them after two treatment sessions, with the number of discarded sticks reportedly filling several trucks.

khambu hot spring domo
Khambu hot spring domo

Cultural Reference

Tibetan author Choephel has described in his book “Distant Hot Spring,” “In the past, people often roamed far and wide, to worship holy mountains, visit Buddha, trade, seek good horses and guns, pursue love or settle feuds. And also, to cross snow-capped mountains, ride good horses, bring delicious food, and bathe in the nearly all-curing hot springs. While all-curing might be an exaggeration, the hot springs indeed contribute significantly to one’s health.

Healing with Khambu Hot Spring: A Therapeutic Oasis in Tibet


Yama Spring: North and South Springs

Yama Spring (ཡ་མ་རྫིང་) is divided into the North and South Springs. The North Spring, containing white sulfur, and the South Spring, rich in winter-stone, are known for treating blood system disorders, Energy and blood deficiencies, acute and chronic rhinitis, and cholestatic hepatitis. Elderly individuals with weak knees and joint diseases are advised against using these springs.

The unique bathing process involves first using the North Spring to bring out latent diseases, followed by the South Spring for treatment. A typical treatment course lasts 21 days, with the best results achieved in spring and autumn, especially during the Tibetan calendar’s seventh month when the ‘Abandon Mountain’ star appears.

Jagoe Spring: The Eagle Pool

Jagoe Spring བྱ་རྒོད་རྫིང, meaning “Eagle Pool,” is famed for its miraculous healing stories. Legend has it that an eagle with broken wings healed after spending seven days in these waters, eventually flying away. Since then, this spring has been known for its effectiveness in treating bone injuries. It is used for headaches, fractures, venereal diseases, elephantiasis, rheumatism-induced edema, epidemic meningitis, chest and back pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and other ailments.

Goddess Spring

This spring (ལྷ་མོ་རྫོང) contains rhombohedral calcite and is primarily used for treating insufficient blood supply to the brain, stroke, gall blood diseases and complications, herpes, and feverish illnesses.

Dragkey Pool Spring

Rich in sulfur, calcite, and crystalline gypsum, Dragkey Pool Spring བྲག་རྐེད་རྫིང is effective in treating herpes, swelling, eye diseases, nasal disorders, heart diseases, and especially gall blood diseases.

Argan Spring

Containing cold stone, Argan Spring ཨར་རྒན་རྫིང is beneficial for treating gout, rheumatism, leprosy, elephantiasis, kidney weakness, etc. However, it is not recommended for elderly individuals with paralysis.

Goldfish Pool:

སེར་ཉ་རྫིང་ Contains crystalline block gypsum, effective for bile reflux gastritis, neurasthenia, kidney diseases, cold diseases, urinary issues, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and lower body ailments. However, it’s slightly harmful to the eyes.

Baltak Spring:

བད་ཁྲག་རྫིང Composed of gypsum, crystalline block gypsum, and yellow sulfur, it treats lung and liver diseases, spleen diseases, bile reflux gastritis, ulcers, poisoning, etc. Caution is advised for those who are frail and sickly.

Lama Spring:

བླ་མ་རྫིང་ Its crystalline block gypsum and winter-stone content make it suitable for treating herpes, cardiopulmonary diseases, and scalp ringworm.

Zagar Spring:

རྩ་དཀར་རྫིང Contains calcite and green sulfur, beneficial for digestive system diseases, gall diseases, stomach and intestinal diseases, various skin diseases, nervous system disorders, arteriosclerosis, and elderly edema.

Zibo Spring:

མཛེ་པོ་རྫིང Composed of winter-stone, rock essence, calcite, and crystalline block gypsum, it treats stomach diseases, stones, indigestion, back pain, bladder diseases, gonadal diseases (including seminal vesicle and ovary issues), leprosy, etc. Those with hypertension and gallbladder diseases should use it cautiously.

west pool spring domo
West pool spring domo

West Spring:

ནུབ་རྫིང With calcite and crystalline block gypsum, it’s effective for gout, rheumatoid arthritis, elephantiasis, arthritis, wound infections, psoriasis, ulcers, etc. Caution is advised for those with hypertension and biliary tract diseases.

Artug Spring:

ཨར་ཕྲུག་རྫིང Contains calcite and fibrous gypsum, treating menstrual disorders, nocturnal emission, kidney stones, hip joint pain, carbuncles, wound infections, old wounds, and digestive system diseases. The springs are for communal bathing, offering a unique and social experience.

Facilities and Services

The temperature of the Kangbu Hot Springs is generally moderate, although some can reach up to 50°C. Described in some Tibetan histories as the “second-best hermitage in the world,” these springs attract locals for their healing properties, with some even cooking eggs in the hot spring water.

In recent years, over one million yuan has been invested in renovating the spring pools and building guest rooms for visitors, with a Tibetan doctor providing guidance. The Shanghai-aided Hot Spring Rehabilitation Therapy Complex (2062 square meters) and Kambu Power Station offer comprehensive services including therapy, leisure, health care, accommodation, and entertainment.

Visiting Tips

  1. Admission Fee: Tickets are required.
  2. Location: 47 km from Yadong County town and 300 km from Shigatse City. The hot springs are about 27 km from Pari Town. Visitors can also hire a car or drive themselves.
  3. Opening Hours: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Visitors are advised to bring swimsuits, available for purchase at 10 yuan each. The bathing fee is 20 yuan for a day.
  4. Accommodations: Nearby lodges and snack bars offer rooms ranging from 15 to 30 yuan per person (for reference) with reasonably priced meals.
About the author

The Tibetan Travel website's creator, hailing from Lhasa, is a cultural enthusiast. They promote responsible tourism, connecting the world to Tibet's beauty and heritage. Awards recognize their contribution.

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