Garm chashma hot spring
Garm Chashma tot spring (the name translates from Tajik as ‘hot spring’) can be found 42 km South from Khorog at the height of 2325 metres above sea level on the western slope of the Shakhdara Range, in the middle course of the Garm-Chashma River, Ishkashim District of Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Province (GBAO), Tajikistan and actually not far from the border of Afganistan to the West. Garm Chashma is a hot spring that has been known already for thousands of years and is most likely the best and most well known hot spring in Tajikistan. The spring is a least several thousand years old and has created a huge travertine mound with cascades by bringing up the minerals from the soil together with the hot water. Cascades are bright white, yellow and brown and and form large peculiar looking forms. The water comes out from a depth of the earth in form of micro geysers from 10 cm to 1,5 meters high and the total flow rate of the spring is about 7-10 litres a second.
Water contains chalky-calcium balls of 0,5-4 cm in diameter along with chalky-plaster sediment. This sediment creates chalky runs – a travertine mound with a few natural and built pools. The biggest pool surface is 20 sq metres and it is 0,5 meter deep. The water contains high proportion of hydrogen sulfide, silicone acid and carbon acid along with iron, aluminum, magnesium, strontium fluorine and other elements. The water’s temperature is + 62 C at output and from +38 to +50 C in the pools (fairly hot).
Garm Chashma is very popular with locals as well as pilgrims from other areas. The Garm Chashma waters provide a curative affect for those with skin and other health problems. A small sanatorium is attached to hot springs together with many cafes serving food and it is possible to also stay overnight in the local hotel. The area also features carbonaceous mineral springs with a permanent temperature of +14 C, that the locals use for cooking and drinking.The valley where Garm Chashma is located has also a favorable climate that together with the water treatments has given good results with giving help for cardiovascular and nervous system, locomotor apparatus as well as skin and gynecologic diseases. The pools are used in turns by men and women as one should be naked when in the pools. There are also less dramatic pools with men’s and women’s separate sides but they are less popular. It is recommended to stay in the water for only 10-15 minutes. The prices vary from 2 somoni to 25 depending when you go and if you want to use the VIP pool.
The hot spring has attracted attention of local population for thousands of years already as people have been cured in its waters, received healing or at least pain relief. Due to this, Garm-Chashma has gotten a reputation as a holy water spring. In the end of the 19th century the local inhabitants built altars nearby the springs that are small niches in the rock near the place where water comes onto the surface and are still sometimes placing various objects and oil lamps there.
Close to Andarob, a little off the main road, is the Kuh-i Lal (Ruby Mountain) described by Marco Polo. There is still a mine here that produces small quantities of spinels (also known as balas ruby) and you will occasionally be offered uncut stones to buy if you happen to be at place at the right time.
How to get to Garm chasma?
You can reach the Garm Chashma hot springs by driving South from Khorog along the border of Afganistan. Turn Southeast after about 40 km drive. There is a clear junction at the village. Nevertheless it might be considerably easier to employ a local tour operator or a taxi to take you there for a dary trip from Khorog.
Page last updated 1.11.2020