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Taptapani : where the goddess Kandhuni Mata oozes hot water
Introduction to Taptapani
Taptapani is one of the popular hot springs in the state of Odisha, India. Situated in a densely forested hilly terrain of the Eastern Ghat mountains in the Ganjam district, this place is famous for its hot spring, scenic beauty, flora & fauna, tribal culture & above all as the abode of a powerful yet benevolent goddess called Kandhuni Mata or Kandimata.
A hot spring, also called Thermal Spring, is a naturally occurring spring which oozes water at a temperature which is higher than the air temperature of the surrounding region, usually more than 50 degrees Celsius (if the temperature is less than 50 degrees but more than 20 degrees Celsius, it is often called a Warm Spring).
There are several types of hot springs.
A Volcanic hot spring is found in the volcanic zones, & the water is heated by contact with molten magma.
The Non-volcanic hot springs, on the other hand, have their water heated by convective circulation, a natural Geological process where ground water percolating downwards reaches a depth of 1 km or more where the rocks are hot due to the normal temperature gradient of the earth’s crust (about 30 degrees Celsius per km for the first 10 km).
Taptapani is a hot spring belonging to the second type.
The water of the hot springs is sometimes coloured. The reason is the presence of thermophilic micro-organisms like bacteria & algae, the commonest being a bacteria called cyanobacteria.
Hot Springs in India
There are 340 hot springs in India, of which 62 are in the north-west Himalayas in the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh & Uttarakhand, & 60 in the state of Maharashtra. Odisha has four – Atri, Deulajhari, Taptapani & Tarabalo.
It is interesting to note that a large majority of these Indian hot springs are associated with some temples & they are pilgrimage sites from the ancient times. Famous examples are the hot springs at Gourikund (the base of Kedarnath), Badrinath, Gangnani (near Gangotri), Yamunotri, Manikaran (near Kulu in Himachal Pradesh), Rajgir, Bakreswar in West Bengal, Taptapani in Odisha etc.
Some hot springs of India
Location of Taptapani
Taptapani is about 50 km from Bramhapur (formerly Berhampur-Ganjam), the district headquarters & an important town in Ganjam district in Odisha. Taptapani is well connected with Bramhapur by good road.
The road to Taptapani
The Hot spring of Taptapani
The hot spring at Taptapani is often described by the purists as a Warm Spring, as the temperature of water here is between 30 degrees & 40 degrees Celsius. The water oozes out of the Earth in a small pond like area at the centre of which is a small stone bearing the idol of goddess Kandhuni Mata or Kandi mata. The pond (Kund) is open without any canopy, but just in front of it is a pavilion which serves as the ante-chamber of the temple dedicated to Kandhuni Mata. The goddess is attributed many powers by her followers, cure of infertility being one of those.
The water flows out of the Kund & reaches two bathing pools, one earmarked for the gents & the other for the ladies. A bath in this sulphur-mixed water is said to be curative of many diseases, especially chronic skin diseases.
The water is crystal clear, but at the banks of the Kund there is collection of greenish scum, probably caused by the thermophilic cyanobacteria.
The hot spring of Taptapani & the goddess Kandhuni Mata
The temples of Taptapani
Apart from the “temple” of the goddess Kandhuni Mata, there is a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple has good decoration on its walls. The decorations, in addition to the ubiquitous gods & goddesses, dancing girls & the like, has some erotic figures too.
Temples of Taptapani
Other attractions of Taptapani
Taptapani is located in a densely forested hilly area inhabited by tribal people, & the natural beauty of the place is awesome. Miles of green forest & undulating blue hills give a serene beauty to this place.
A Deer Park has been added to increase public attraction, but it is not the thing that people flocking there from different parts of the state or even the country want to see primarily. To them the place is where the mother goddess Kandhuni Mata oozes hot water for the benefit of her children.
Natural beauty of Taptapani
A personal spa !
There is a sprawling guest house just opposite the hot spring run by the Tourism Department of the Government of Odisha. It is an excellent place to stay, with log house type accommodation. Even there are two Deluxe Suits where king-size bath tubs are fitted with pipes which carry hot water from the hot spring-- a personal spa indeed !
Taptapani is a nice place with different attractions for different people, the natural beauty added with a natural hot spring, however, tops the list.