CHITRAL, March 6: The water of hot spring in Lotkoh valley of Chitral is gaining popularity for healing skin diseases, as more and more people are coming here from other districts as well to take a healing bath.

The hot spring is also known the Sulphur Spring because its water gushes out of rich Sulphur deposits, which causes the rise of its temperature above the boiling point. The beautiful village of the sub-valley Lotkoh, where the spring is located, has been named as Garam Chashma (hot spring). The place is known as one of the best picnic spots in Chitral due to its superb natural beauty.

One Mohammad Ajab of Garam Chashma village told this correspondent here on Thursday that over the last two years people from different parts of the country, including Punjab, had been coming here to take a bath in the hot spring water. He said that the hot water was fist cooled in the tubs and then it was used.

The government has constructed a number of public bathrooms in the vicinity of the spring while the water is also taken in hoses to the bathrooms of nearby hotels and a rest house.

Talking to this correspondent, Ashrafi Khan from upper Chitral said that he had visited hospitals of Peshawar and Islamabad for treatment of his skin disease, but it was the hot bath in Chitral with which he got rid of the disease once and for all. He said that the spring water was equally useful for the treatment of diseases of joints of human body and a good number of his acquaintances had benefited from the water.

“The water is more useful for women while for young people the bath can be slightly harmful,” local people claim without giving any explanation. Gamburi Shah, a hotel owner in Garam Chashma bazaar, said that most of the visitors coming for a bath were women. He said that the season of bath starts from March 21 and continue for two months of the spring season.

Mr Shah said that usually patients would take three to four baths daily over three days in the area. He said that after a bath they had to keep themselves warm and avoid exposing themselves to cold air.

He said that the Garam Chashma provided the tourists an opportunity of eco-tourism of the area and besides the bath they could enjoy trout fishing in the stream.

Wishing not to be named, a local doctor said that the hot bath was a kind of physiotherapy, but from medical point of view he could not explain this mode of treatment. He said that the hot water caused the closed pores of the human skin to open.

He said that an organisation such as Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR) should conduct research on the water to know about its chemistry, benefits and harms.

Talking to this scribe, A tour operator, Zahid Gul, advised the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation and the Sarhad Tourism Corporation to advertise the bathing season of Garam Chashma to attract tourists to Chitral.