Shumak Spring Valley

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Photo: Miroslav Kolar

Unlike Arshan or Nilova Pustina, no settlements have established around the Shumak springs. They are situated approx. 50 km northeast of Nilova Pustina, at a hight of 1558 meters above sea level.
Until today you can reach the springs only by foot or on horseback. Nevertheless they are a popular place to go - especially among Russian tourists. Already at the beginning of the 20th century the springs were visited frequently because they were said to have healing powers.
Meanwhile cabins that can be booked have been set up next to the springs. Usually they are booked out between June and the end of July. As you can tell from the name, there are several springs, actually more than one hundred. There are considerable differences between the temperatures and the chemical composition of the springs. Consequently, each spring is said to have a different healing effect. There is a spring to heal almost every ailment, whether it is an ulcer, cancer, gynaecological disorder, problems with the kidneys, the liver, the eyes, or, not surprising, potency. It is very interesting to compare the taste of the water from the different springs because it does taste very different, due to the varying composition of minerals. Don't be disappointed, it does not taste particularly good, but medicine is supposed to taste bitter, isn't it? Much better than drinking the water is, of course, having a relaxing bath in one of the warm springs.
Like at all the places that have been inhabited mainly by Buryats in former times, you will find small offerings everywhere and ribbons tied to trees and particular offering posts. Today, these "ribbons" also quite often consist of strips cut out of plastic bags. With those small offerings the Buryatic people show their gratitude for the healing powers of the springs. Some visitors stay for several weeks and take an entire cure. Countless tiny and sometimes quite funny pieces of handicraft show that the springs often stimulate the visitors' creativity.


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29 Mar 2006

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