Monday, 29 April 2013

The only hot water springs of south India

This is the only sulphur hot spring or rather there are two such springs in the whole of south India and it is located in Karnataka.  The hot water spring has a hoary history and Sage Kanva and his disciples are associated with it.
What sets these two springs apart from their Himalayan counterparts is that they are lukewarm and visitors and pilgrims can directly take a dip without the fear of getting scalded or getting skin burnt.
The streaming hot sulphur springs of the Himalayas contrasts sharply with the lukewarm water of these springs and the curative properties they possess.
Another peculiarity of these springs is that they are in a non-volcanic region and they do not possess the large amounts of sulphur that the Himayalan springs do.     
Both these springs are near each other and both are not very largely known outside the district in which they are located. According to a legend, the disciples of Sage Kanva came across the vast forests here with flowing streams and plenty of wildlife. The disciples were transfixed when they noticed lions and tigers lived peacefully and with perfect amity with cattle and other herbivorous animals. All the animals drank water from the pool.
The disciples examined the place and came across the spring of lukewarm water. Charmed by the surrounding, they called it Gopalakshetra. The disciples then built a temple dedicated to Vishnumurthy.
Today, Gopalakshetra is better known as Bendre Theertha or Bendru as the locals call it. It is also known as Irde after the village in which it is located. The theertha is at the confluence of three streams- Chelyadka, Byladi and Bettampadi. added to the religious significance.
Locals consider the Teertha Amavasya day in first week of September to be highly auspicious and the take a dip. Newly married couples also visit this place for a holy bath on that day.  
The Bendre Teertha unfortunately seems to have a little bit of its character, thanks to unimaginative polices of the Government and the lack of concern by local farmers.
The Bendre Teertha is the only hot water spring in South India and it is located off the main road between Sullia and Puttur in Dakshina Kannada district.
Bendre or Bendr in Tulu means hot. The natural spring is a geological wonder and the temperature of the water is due to the geothermal energy emanating from the hot rocks underground that heats up the water table. The heated water has a lower density than normal water, and therefore, it tends to spring out.
The land around Irde or Bendre theertha consists of early Precambrian gneisses granulites and smaller bands of schists. The Precambrian rocks are covered under a blanket of laterites and clays. The laterite-clay cover ranges from less than 10 metres to about 30 metres at different places. The hot water spring is located on granitic gneisses covered by a two meter thick cover of lateritic soils.
The three streams join at right angles and flow into the west flowing Baddanthadka, which is also known locally as Seere. These four water bodies join at approximate right angles. This intersecting configuration shows that the streams are controlled by tectonic factors that have produced mutually intersecting fractures. The chemical analysis data of spring water shows T.D.S. of 424 ppm, SiO2, 80.0 ppm, Cl 60 ppm, HCO3 196 ppm, Mg 21 ppm, SO4 61 ppm, CaCO3 121 ppm, Na 81 ppm, K 7.0 ppm and pH 8.2.
The theertha is close to the intersection of the streams. The flow of water from the spring is quite weak and often dries up in the summer because of lowering of the groundwater table. Air bubbles releasing from the outlet of the spring can be noticed within the pool. The temperature in the pool is about 37ยบ C.
Bendre Teertha is easily accessible from Puttur and there are plenty of private buses. If not, take the road to Sullia and seven kms before Puttur, take a deviation to the left. Drive down eight kilometres and you reach Bendre Teertha.
By the way, there is another thermal or hot spring near Bendre Theertha. This is the hot spring at Panekal near Uppinangady and this too is in Dakshina district.
Both the springs have pH, dissolved oxygen, sulphur content and aquatic hyphomycetes. There were 20 species of aquatic hyphomycetes in Bendre Thirtha and 16 in Panekal. Out of these, nine species were common for both the springs.
The natural thermal spring of Bendre were first scientifically catalogued by Thomas Oldham (1816-1878), an Anglo-Irish geologist. He went about cataloguing the thermal springs of India as early as 1882.
The Panekal spring is about 22 km from Uppinangady and it originates under the crevices of rocks, and forms a small pond, which flows through paddy fields for about half a kilometer before joining Nethravathi.


  1. hi,nice work done very informatic site....thanks for the info..This vacation im going to visit bandipur resorts and br hills resorts

  2. Thank you. Pleas let us know how Bandipur was.