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A healing journey

PLEASURE OR satisfaction often comes for a price. A journey in scorching heat, from New Delhi to Haryana, for the sake of obliterating a skin ailment might just prove to be a blessing in disguise. Yes, if you believe in Sohna-Shiv Kund or the hot spring, located 17 kilometres from Bhondsi near Haryana, you may just love to forget the snags involved in getting there.

Reaching Sohna is not the end of the journey. Negotiating several narrow lanes and by-lanes, some of which just end at the wall of a house, is a part of the trip. This hot spring is located inside a Shiva temple at Sohna. The spring has a hoary history, a record going back 500 to 600 years. It finds a mention in the "Akbar-e-Ilahi". Found in the 16th Century, it was registered in 1542 by the then Government. A narrative on the temple wall claims that some rulers of a particular community tried to take over the spring illegally in 1929, but could not succeed as they lost the case. The belief is that the natural hot spring with sulphur water eradicates all kinds of skin diseases if a person bathes regularly in it.

Maintained by the Haryana Government through local employees numbering up to 25, this hot spring-cum-temple is also a home for many suffering from varied skin ailments. The spring, which is cleaned once in 10 to 12 years, has six special washrooms for men and four for women, subdivided into general and special. To use the special washroom, the user has to pay Rs.20 for 15 minutes. There is a general courtyard washroom too, for men only, for which they have to pay only one rupee. And those who cannot afford to pay at all have a separate place for free to take a bath, in which 12 people can be accommodated at one time. Rooms are also available at nominal charges for those whose ailment might take time to heal.

"From leprosy to psoriasis, I have seen many infectious diseases being cured by this water," maintains an office bearer working here for 12 years.

Well, experience is the key word in this case.

RANA SIDDIQUI

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