Places of power are geographical areas that have a strong positive effect on the human psyche and body. These include the Shumak mineral springs in the Sayan Mountains. Here not only water heals but also picturesque mountain landscapes.
Shumak is the name of a river, its adjacent area, and the mineral springs of the area. Geographically, this place is located in the Eastern Sayan Mountains and belongs to the Buryat Republic. Mineral springs are located on the slope of the Tunkinskiye Goltsy at an altitude of 1558 m. There are more than a hundred outlets of mineral springs along the banks of the Shumak River. Their miraculous power has been known since ancient times. Legends testify to this, as well as inscriptions on stones made in Tibetan and ancient Mongolian languages.
In winter, the crossing of the pass requires special equipment but in summer, the way will not give you any trouble. A horseback/hiking route to Shumak Springs runs via the pass from Tunka Valley.
Pass Shumak connects the valleys of the Ekhe-Ger river and the left hand of the Shumak river. The height of the pass is 2760 meters. From Shumak springs the trail runs through coniferous forests along the river bank. After about 10 km the forest transforms into alpine meadows and rocky scatterings. Just above the border of the forest merge three rivers meet. Here you can see a beautiful waterfall. Water falls into a deep canyon from a height of 30 meters.
On the saddle of the pass, there is a ritual wooden pole named “Obo” and this spot offers a scenic view of the river Ekhe-Ger valley. The route with the ascent to Shumak takes usually two days, but you can only walk to the lake or see the waterfall and in the evening return back to the foot of the mount. While hiking along this route and climbing to the top of the pass one can fully feel the beauty and power of the mountains of Eastern Sayan.
Shumak mineral springs are located behind the pass in the southeastern part of the Eastern Sayan. They have more than 100 outlets which are located on both banks of the mountain river Shumak. The sources have been known to the local population since time immemorial, as evidenced by the numerous inscriptions once made on stones in Tibetan and ancient Mongolian languages, which provide information on the healing properties of the springs.
How to get to Shumak
Shumak is an extremely inaccessible place. The cheapest option is to travel on foot or by horse. The starting point is Arshan village in the Tunkinsky valley. The route goes through the Arshansky pass, then along the banks of the Kitoy and Shumak rivers. Another route starts in the village of Nilova Pustyn and goes through the Shumak Pass. The journey takes 2-3 days, depending on the level of training of tourists. This option is more difficult but inexpensive.
The easiest way to get to Shumak is to fly from Irkutsk by helicopter. This option is not cheap, but the fastest. During the flight, magnificent panoramas of the Sayan Mountains open from the window. You can get to Shumak with the Helicopter tour with an experienced guide saving time for bathing and exploring the nature of the valley.
Tips for visiting Shumak:
1. If you plan to reach Shumak on foot, we recommend registering your route with the Ministry of Emergency Situations and make sure that a special fire regime has not been introduced on the territory of the Republic of Buryatia at the time of the planned trip.
2. It is forbidden to make fires on the territory of the natural park during the fire-fighting period (you can use special gas burners). In the absence of a fire regime, fires should be made in special places (fire pit).
3. Any garbage should be taken with you.
4. Take good care of the nature of Shumak. It is forbidden to take healing mud outside the park.
5. There might be no cellular communication at Shumak.
Other Irkutsk attractions:
Arshan is a small village located in Buryatia, in the Tunka Valley. The Valley is unique in its healing springs and alpine meadows. The village of Arshan is the most famous village in the Tunka valley. People come to Arshan for miraculous water and health.
The Block 130 (130 kvartal or Irkutsk Sloboda) is the historical zone with many old wooden buildings and houses constructed in the XVII century.
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The open-air museum Taltsy is located 20 kilometers away from Listvyanka. The exposition features wooden buildings brought from all over Siberia.
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With Byzantine style decorations, the Irkutsk’s Kazan Church looks like a fairy tower. It is known for the Irkutsk’s largest church bell.
The Epiphany Cathedral was listed among the landmarks of federal significance in 1960. The Cathedral’s decor is incredible, bizarre, and unique.
The Holy Cross Church is one of the oldest Irkutsk’s Orthodox temples, a distinctive landmark of Siberian Baroque. The church is famous for its unique exterior design.
The Roman Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption is one of the most beautiful buildings placed in the historical part of Irkutsk.
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Bolshiye Koty village is located close to Irkutsk and Listvyanka Settlement, yet far enough to preserve the beauty of a landscape. One of the sections of the Great Baikal Trail passes through the village.