Pin valley National Park- a cold desert sanctuary
Located amidst the terrain of Spiti and Parvati valley is the Pin valley National Park in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The valley beautifies itself with ice as well as greeneries in winter and summer season accordingly. It is one of the coldest valleys in the whole country where the temperature rises -30 degrees in winter months. Lying within the Valley of Pin River, it is the only national park which is a cold desert forest. It spreads along the Spiti district in the south Dhankar keeping aside the border of Tibet. The endangered and unique species of Himalayan plants and animals are being protected here. The valley covers a vast area and is very sparsely populated due to the chilled weather but this type of environment is perfect for the snow leopard. So the ‘grey ghost of the Himalayas’ or the snow leopards are found here along with its prey, ibex. These ghost cats can be easily spotted unless extreme winter arrives.
Other than the snow leopards there are twelve other species of the cat family. Moreover other animals such as Red fox, woolly Hare, blue sheep, Marten and the Himalayan Black bear can be spotted easily in this national park. Among the birds this place is home to the exotic Golden eagle, Raven, Snow cock and Blue rock pigeon. Other than these flora and fauna, the region of the national park features alpine forest which attracts tourists.
Best time to visit
The place receives minimal rainfall but there is frequent snowfall during the winter season which starts from November to March. This time it may be a risky to visit there. In the summer season that lasts from May to September, the maximum reachable temperature is 25 degree centigrade. So the best time to visit the place is from July to September, among which August is the friendliest month.
How to reach Pin valley National Park
The nearest city is Gulling which is situated at an altitude of 3700 meter above sea level. You can reach Pin Valley National Park through road either from Shimla via kaza or from Manali via Rohtang Pass. There are two trekking routes too that would be an awesome experience all over that starts from Kulu in the west or from Kinnaur in the south. Everyday public transport buses are available from Kaza to Mikkim. And then from there you need to reach the national park by foot. Spiti valley is full of rope hanging bridges. Local guides, chhurmutri horses, donkeys, porters and pack mules are available to help you reach your destination.
Activities to do
- Camping at the Chardratal lake
- Viewing the magical sunrise
- Exploring the nature in the park region
- Spot a few snow leopard( if you manage to be there in winter then you would be lucky enough to spot it)
- Camping at the lake of Mantalai
- Trekking through Bhaba pass
- Trekking to Dhankar Gompa
- Exploring the Tab caves
- Rafting in the Spiti river
- Visiting the Flea market in Kaza
Accommodation facility on Pin valley National Park
The people of Spiti and Lahaul are very heartily that makes the tourists to spend a night in the region without any hesitation. Kaza and Mud village are the prominent places to find a suitable home stay with enough options. Online booking may not be available with these hotels but you can ask your driver to or tour operator to help find one such hotel for you. Names of few home stays around Pin Valley National Park are:
- Tar house home stay
- Pin valley home stay
- Banjara retreat in Kaza
- Sagnam Public works department rest house
- Tourist lodge in Kaza
The place is very remote and it should be explored only by the physically fit person and an adventures spirit. There is a strong influence of the Buddhist Monasteries residing in the region for a long time. But they are very helpful towards the tourists who go there to visit the place. Most of the parts of the year the valley are covered with snow and trekking at that time is truly fascinating. The park is very near to Tibet which is just a 45 minutes drive from here.