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Jagymin Chu: The Healing Water of Bhutan

Bhutan, the land of peace and spirituality, tops the world happiness index. Being the followers of Buddhist religion (Buddhism), the Bhutanese carry the legacy of peace and harmony and the same is sprinkled and disseminated through spirituality. People here grow up with the learning of how every living and non-living object in their environs is associated with spiritualism. This learning finally helps them to utilize and conserve various natural resources. Trees, shrubs, herbs, animals, birds, mountains, valleys, stones, and water flowing through valleys and mountains, all are considered sacred. People here believe that natural resources possess some divine powers which can help to mitigate or wash out various human health concerns completely. Water is one such resource, which is considered sacred in Buddhism and it is also used to cure various human diseases.

There are many natural water springs which are believed to cure various physical and mental illnesses along with maintaining peace of mind. Jagymin, a locality above Paro town in Paro district of Bhutan, is adorned with a natural water spring, Jagymin chu, that flows down amid thick blue pine forests. People from far and wide visit Jagymin chu, especially for the treatment of fractured bones. On inquiry, Kinley Toeb, a forest officer serving the Department of Forest and Park Services in the Royal Government of Bhutan, narrated an interesting story of Jagymin chu, which had inspired people in the past to trickle down here for treatment of bones. As per his narratives—once upon a time, a vulture’s wings got broken in a fight. With broken wings, the vulture fell down at the Jagymin chu where he bathed repeatedly for a few days. Interestingly, his broken wings got cured completely and he flew back in the sky. A Buddhist monk who witnessed the vulture’s daily activities sensed the magical curative powers in Jagymin chu. Since then he started advising people to take bath in Jagymin chu for treatment of bone fractures. I noticed many rounded stones piled up at the Jagymin chu. After inquiring, I was told that these stones are heated and used for hot stone bath. The water poured over such hot stones is used for bathing. The hot stone bath is believed to have healing properties. Earlier, use of hot stones, especially rounded ones, for treatment of muscular pain was common in the hills of Uttarakhand and Nepal,
as well. 

With due course of time, a large number of people suffering from bone-related disorders began visiting Jagymin chu. Since the Jagymin chu site is located deep inside the woods in an isolated area, the patients and their relatives accompanying them face difficulty to stay back for taking bath for several days or weeks. To sort out this problem, the local community forestry group came forward. On demand from the community, the Department of Forest and Park Services in collaboration with Global Environment Facility (GEF) constructed accommodation facility for the needy people. GEF sanctioned $60,000 to the local community forestry group for setting up accommodation at Jagymin. The Community Forestry Group looks after the management and maintenance of Jagymin chu, at present. In return of providing logistics, the community forest group charges `200 per day per person for getting treatment by taking bath in the Jagymin chu.

Another mythical story of magical water weaves on Walagyelpo’s Drupchu in Punakha, which is about 127 km away from Paro town in western Bhutan. The legend says a lama used to stay here in the past. He used to offer water from a nearby natural spring to the people visiting him for elimination of any sort of worldly suffering. Walagyelpo’s water spring is named with suffix ‘drupchu’ because it contains high mineral content and in Bhutan, the water spring with high mineral content is known as drupchu. There are hot water springs in Bhutan, which are known as’tshachu’, and all these natural water springs with medicinal properties are known as ‘smenchu’ or medicinal water. Later on, a road was constructed close to Walagyelpo’s Drupchu but every care was taken not to destroy the trees and vegetation around this natural spring. I saw the commuters getting down from their vehicles to collect water from this water spring. ‘This water helps to ward off all human diseases,’ said Kinley Toeb. Sprinkling a few drops of holy water over the head and body is a common practice in monasteries as a mark of showering blessings, good wishes, and protection against evils. The followers of Buddhism consider water as a symbol of purity, clarity, and calmness.

Water therapy is a traditional practice in the landscape dominated by the followers of Buddhism. The traditional healers sometime pour water over the head of a weak or sick person for purification and improvement of health. Buddhists believe that in the form of smenchu the blessings of the Lord Buddha are showered on the human beings, therefore, they consider such sites as sacred. In Ladakh, Lahual Spiti, and Uttarakhand, many natural water springs, including the hot water springs containing sulphur and limestone, are believed to possess curative properties. One such natural water spring is in Sahastradhara of Dehradun where a large number of people visit annually for taking bath and also for bringing it home for treatment of skin diseases. The proper conservation or sustainable utilization of such natural resources demands people’s willingness to participate in management. Bhutan has set an exemplary standard in community participation of natural resources. The proper management of Jagymin chu has become possible after the community came forward to do so. In the era of global water crisis, religious wisdom may be used for sustainable water management by linking spiritual values. 

Dr Chandra Prakash Kala is a faculty member in the Ecosystem & Environment Management division of the Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India.

 

   
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Nominations open for CSP Today India awards 2013


The inaugural CSP Today India awards ceremony takes place on March 12, and CSP developers, EPCs, suppliers and technology providers can now be nominated.

CSP has made tremendous progress since the announcement of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission in 2010. With Phase I projects now drawing closer to completion, the first milestone in India’s CSP learning curve is drawing closer. CSP Today has chosen the next CSP Today India conference (12-13 March, New Delhi) as the time for the industry to reflect upon its progress and celebrate its first achievements.

At the awards ceremony, industry leaders will be recognized for their achievements in one of 4 categories: CSP India Developer Award, CSP India Engineering Performance Award, CSP India Technology and Supplier Award, and the prestigious CSP India Personality of the Year.

Matt Carr, Global Events Director at CSP Today, said at the opening of nominations that “CSP Today are excited to launch these esteemed awards, which will enhance the reputation of their recipients. I am particularly excited to launch the CSP India Personality of the Year award, a distinguished honor for the industry figure deemed worthy by their peers.”

All eyes will be on the CSP Today India 2013 Awards when nomination entry closes on February 4 and the finalists are announced on February 11. The awards are open to all industry stakeholders to nominate until February 4 at
http://www.csptoday.com/india/awards-index.php or by e-mail to awards@csptoday.com

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