Nima | Gelephu

After remaining closed for two years, the small business community at the Gelephu tshachhu in Sershong, Sarpang is coming alive.

Shopkeepers and hotel owners, who abandoned the place in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, have returned. Shops and hotels resumed their services last week.

The hot spring remained closed since March 2020 for maintenance. Later, when the country reported more Covid-19 positive cases, the local authorities decided to keep it closed.

The dzongkhag administration, drungkhag officials, and local government officials reopened on Sunday following major relaxations the government announced last week.

Officials managing the hot spring said that the visitors from far-flung dzongkhags have started to call for accommodation services. “Most of the visitors to the hot spring are from within the dzongkhag. We’re hopeful that the business community close to the hot spring could be revived, as we continue to keep the hot spring open,” an official said.

The hotel owners and people running hotel services at the hot spring were seen venturing into large-scale farming for the past two years.

Known for its unique healing qualities for skin infection, joint pains, and stomach illness, the tshachhu attracts over 40,000 people from across the country every year, including the elderly and people living with disabilities.

The hot spring received the highest number of visitors in winter.

The drungkhag administration has improved the safety at the hot spring replacing the roofs of the ponds with concrete slabs. In the past, people worried about slides and falling stones.

With additional ponds developed as a part of the renovation project, the hot spring has six ponds. This is expected to provide longer soaking time to visitors.

There are about half a dozen locals running shops and restaurants at Gelephu tshachhu.