The Scenic Rewards of Pin Parvati Pass Trek
Approximately a 2-weeks expedition in state of Himachal Pradesh, Pin Parvati Pass trek (17,500 ft.) packs nail biting Himalayan thrills and stunning scenery all along climaxing into even cultural changes on the either sides of the Pass. The Pin Parvati Pass connects Parvati Valley of Kullu to the Pin Valley of Spiti. This is one of those few treks where you literally walk on a glacier (Parvati Glacier). Post-monsoon (July-September) is considered the best season to attempt Pin Parvati Pass trek.
The circuit usually is Bhuntar (11,670 ft. in Kullu District) to Manali (6,726 ft.) through Pin Parvati Pass. That is, you first cover the Parvati Valley and then the Pin Valley. On day 01 of the expedition you reach Pulga from Bhuntar in around 2.5 hours. Next morning you begin your Pin Parvati Pass trek from Pulga to unfold the following milestones of a mesmerizing journey:
Pulga (10,006 ft.) – You start this trek in India from here on day 02 of the expedition for Kheer Ganga. A hydroelectric dam called Parvati Hydel Project construction is underway. The project is quite pronounced in the region.
Rudranag (10,007 ft.) – Walk through lovely apple orchards en route from Nakthan to Rudranag. Moving on, a snake like raging waterfall appears to which Rudranag owes its name. Locals offer prayers to the waterfall and a small temple near to it. You find a dhaba too there. Another thrill is when you cross a wooden bridge with violent River Parvati underneath. Besides the River, several streams too flow from Rudranag to Kheer Ganga.
Kheer Ganga (9,220 ft.) – This wide meadow is a proper campsite with almost a small village of tents. You fix your first camp here. Kheer Ganga has mythological importance. Hindu God Lord Shiva said to have meditated here for some 3000 years. It has a hot water spring of Parvati Kund. Bestowed with healing properties this spring is a very revered pilgrimage site for Sikhs and Hindus. You can take your last bath of the Pin Parvati Pass trek here.
Tunda Bhuj (10,935 ft.) – Walking to Tunda Bhuj from Kheer Ganga on day 03 you cut through dense pine forest with scattered settlements. Soon you emerge into green grassland. Several streams join River Parvati here. Numerous waterfalls too spot the way. This second campsite is again a beautiful meadow with a gushing waterfall right in front falling from lush green mountains into the river below.
Thakur Kuan (11,712 ft.) – Parvati Valley joins Dibibokri Nal River (a tributary of River Parvati) Valley here. This third campsite is a green pasture with beautiful alpine flowers. You camp besides River Parvati. There is a trolley bridge nearby you might want to try, under expert guidance though. You have an angry Parvati River below!
Pandu Pul – This is another major highlight of the trek. On day 05 en route to Odi Thatch from Thakur Kuan you arrive at Pandu Pul Village (12,139 ft.) housing the edgy Pandu Pul. Cross these 2 unique but really challenging natural bridges, which actually are huge boulders. Pandu Pul 1 is over a stream and 20 ft. sized Pandu Pul 2 is over gushing River Parvati. According to Mahabharata mythology massively strong Pandavas placed these boulders here so the name Pandu Pul. You need to cross them extremely carefully, since one slip and there is no scope to prevent a fall. There is nothing to hold on those smooth boulders.
Odi Thatch (11,877 ft.) – The fourth campsite is again a large flat green ground, which looks surreal. You may find shepherds here. See the open skies above. A not so common scene on mountains.
Mantalai (12,140 ft.) – On day 06 en route from Odi Thatch to Mantalai you reach further close to River Parvati’s origination. At Mini Mantalai you will see numerous streams of Parvati River flowing on a wide flat ground. After a hike of around 985 ft. you reach this very scenic campsite besides the Lake Mantalai surrounded by Himalayas. The Lake is again a Hindu Pilgrimage site, since it’s the source of River Parvati.
Pin Parvati Base Camps – Base Camp 1 (16,207 ft.) is in the Parvati Valley, before the Pass. On day 07 you start early morning for it from Mantalai Lake. Muddy patches, quite a lot of climb, and moraines test your patience like anything. But the rewards are so fulfilling. This camp is right at the edge of Parvati Glacier. The scene is incredible. In moonlight all that silvery white is a sight to behold. Base Camp 2 (16,077 ft.) is in Pin Valley after the Pass. On day 08 you push before sunrise for the Pass and descend for some 1.5 kms to the second Base Camp.
Kaza (12,283 ft.) – On day 10 from flat land of Wichkurung Thatch (11,482 ft.) to Kaza you cross the ancient and very picturesque Buddhist Mudh Village (13,025 ft.) with iconic white houses. Moving on you reach the town of Kaza, a tourist destination and base for several treks in the region. It is centrally located and connects Spiti Valley throughout and to outside too. Witness the barren desert and differently shaded mountains of Spiti here. Tangyud Monastery, Key Gompa, and Pin Valley National Park (40 km north of Kaza) are some places worth checking out. Besides these, villages like Kibber (13, 795 ft.), Gette (14,009.19 ft.), Langza (14,500 ft.) – famous for marine fossils, and Losar (13,382 ft.) also deserve a trip. Next morning you drive down to Manali in India located at a distance of 200 kms. The expedition ends here.
‘The’ Parvatis – This trek is primarily about Parvati Glacier. Parvati River rages along the way until near the Glacier. Cross the Glacier to reach the Pin Parvati Pass. This whole belt has mythological importance vis-à-vis Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. Therefore, the name Parvati Valley. Several areas in Parvati Valley through the trek are pilgrimage sites. Out of 11-12 days of Pin Parvati Pass trek, you pass 8-9 days in this Valley.
Pin Parvati Pass (17,500 ft.) – This is the highlight destination of the trek. Cruise through 3 kms of tricky Parvati Glacier and take an ascent of around 1000 ft. to reach the mighty Pin Parvati Pass on day 09. From there you get surreal views of several Himalayan Peaks all around. Spend some time at the Pass and descend for 1.5 km to reach Base Camp 2 (16,076 ft.) in the Pin Valley of Spiti.
Parvati Glacier – Its brutal towards the Parvati Valley. Full of snow covered crevasses, you need to be extremely careful when crossing it. Strictly adhere to the instructions and the route your guide recommends. At this secluded place you won’t want to take one wrong step. After herculean negotiations through snow you reach the Pass. It’s a gradual decline on the Pin Valley side of the Glacier.
Parvati River – Among several streams and waterfalls through the route River Parvati is definitely the hero. It will be with you along the trail until Parvati Glacier. You camp besides it at the green Thakur Kuan on day 04. On day 06 en route Mantalai from Odi Thatch, further on you walk besides River Parvati. As you reach Mini Mantalai you will see numerous calm streams of Parvati River flowing on a wide flat ground. It’s an incredible sight of River genesis! As you are moving towards Parvati Glacier, you are basically inching closer to the origination point of the River.
Meant exclusively for fully fit experienced trekkers Pin Parvati Pass trek is a difficult with challenging and long terrain. It grills you mentally and physically. Muddy land, steep ascent, rocks & boulders, moraines, glacier, snow, and raging river, despite the exhaustion you will have to negotiate these and more. Your mental strength and mountaineering skills are the keywords here. Due to risky terrain, unpredictable weather, and health requirement, keep a buffer day in hand.