If your heart yearns for some superlative adventure and adrenaline rush, then you must embrace the Himalayan trekking routes. Our country is bestowed with a grand mountainous belt that offers something for every hiker- whether a beginner or an expert. For those of you who have experience and expertise of trekking in the Himalayas and are looking for some new challenge, the Pin Parvati trek is the perfect answer.
Know More Here:
- Pin Parvati: The Specs
- The Pin Parvati Trek: “Expert” is the Only Mode
- Ideal Time to Do the Pin Parvati Trek
- Reaching the Pin Parvati Trek Basecamp
- The Pin Parvati Trek: 12 Days of Heaven
- Detailed Guide to the Pin Parvati Trek
- Sight-seeing Options Nearby
- Risks Associated With This Trek
- Contingency Planning for this Trek
- Typical trek Inclusions
- Things to Carry For This Trek
- Physical Fitness Required for this Trek
- Tips for Trekkers
The Pin Parvati trek offers something that few other trekking routes do- the reward of magnificent scenic beauty for travelling through a dangerous terrain.
Pin Parvati: The Specs
- Where it is Located: Himachal Pradesh
- Number of Trekking Days: 12 Days
- Trekking Grade: Hard
- Man Altitude: 17,380 feet
- Trekking Distance: 100 km
- Livingit Rank: Advanced - Elite
The Pin Parvati Trek: “Expert” is the Only Mode
Nestled in the state of Himachal Pradesh at an altitude of 17,380 feet, the Pin Parvati Pass is considered to be the gateway form Parvati Valley in Kullu to the Pin Valley in Spiti. The trek promises to offer some of the most breath-taking views as it takes you through lush green meadows, grand green forests and picturesque Parvati valley. The river Parvati will be your companion for the most part of this trek and you will experience the grandeur of nature in this region as you tread ahead.
A unique feature of the Pin Parvati trek is the stark difference between the landscape at the start and finish of the trek. While the starting point in Parvati Valley, in Kullu, is replete with lush green trees, majestic cascading waterfalls, beautiful meadows and a distinct mountainous terrain, the Spiti Valley at the end of the trek is like a cold, barren desert. The drastic change in surroundings is sure to leave you amazed. If this description has managed to stir an interest in your heart, read on to know the details of the trek.
Ideal Time to Do the Pin Parvati Trek
This trek is ideally done either at the end of June or at the end of August. Pin Parvati trek in October will be more difficult because of the exceedingly high amount of snow in the major part of the trail and your passage through the Pin Parvati trek will not be easy, especially at high altitudes. Monsoons are a definite wrong time for this trek because the region is extremely prone to landslides.
Day: 15°C to 20°C; Night: -2°C to 2°C
Reaching the Pin Parvati Trek Basecamp
Manali is the typical starting point of this trek. The trekkers are supposed to reach Manali on their own. This can be done in two ways:
Reaching Manali by Road
State-run air-conditioned buses ply frequently between New Delhi and Manali. The road journey takes about 14 hours.
Reaching Manali by Air
Trekkers can reach Kullu Airport from New Delhi by a direct flight. Kullu is about an hour’s road drive away from Manali.
The Pin Parvati trek takes the trekkers from the Manali altitude of about 6,700 feet to the peak Pin Parvati pass altitude of more than 17,000 feet.
The Pin Parvati Trek: 12 Days of Heaven
The Pin Parvati trek spans almost 12 days. This is because of the physical exertion involved in covering long distances at high altitude. Although many tour operators won’t insist, we recommend not cutting this itinerary any shorter. This trek is supposed to be taken slowly so that you can absorb the magnificence of nature’s offerings and your body does not bundle out under harsh trekking conditions.
Detailed Guide to the Pin Parvati Trek
Let us now have a detailed insight into how each day of the trek will look like, and what to expect from it.
Manali – Barsheni – Rudranath
Your first day of Pin Parvati trek will mark your arrival at Manali, from where you will drive to Barsheni. The drive to Barsheni village will take you through twining hilly roads surrounded by thick forests of pine trees. You will get periodic glimpses of the green pastures. After you reach Barsheni, you will have to walk to reach the Kalga Village. This walk is not difficult and is completed in about half an hour.
Rudranath is not far from here and you will spend the night in the base camp here. Outdoor tents will be provided by the tour operator. The pristine natural wilderness here has its own character and you will start experiencing the magic of the hills, which will stay with you throughout this trek.
Rudranath - Kheerganga
The second day of your trek will lead you to Kheerganga, the place where Lord Shiva is believed to have meditated. This stretch of the trek will involve about 4-5 hours of walking through green meadows with beautiful hilly views. The slope is not very steep until you reach the wooden bridge to cross the Parvati River and you will encounter a lot of water streams as we progress towards Kheerganga.
The slope after the bridge gets steep as you tread ahead. Situated at an altitude of 3020 meters, Kheerganga is home to hot water springs that are a natural marvel at this altitude. Taking a dip in these hot water springs is highly recommended. The Kheerganga trek will reward you with a hot dip at the end of the day.
Kheerganga – Tunda Bhuj
The third day of the Pin Parvati trek will involve trekking from Kheerganga to Tunda Bhuj, which is located at an altitude of 10500 feet. It is advisable to start form Kheerganga early in the morning. The trek comprises of largely flat lands except for occasional ascents.
Depending on the time of the year you choose for this trek, Kheerganga weather will vary. It is not recommended to take this trek anytime except June to September because Kheerganga temperature will not be conducive for the trek. The trail starts as a muddy terrain and takes you through the lush green forest. You will have ample of time to click pictures and enjoy the beauty of the surroundings.
As you pass through the forest, you will notice some small settlements where families reside and manage their cattle. As you approach the end of today trail, the flat land will transform into a steep ascent and the terrain will be slippery because of wet mud. After this steep climb, you will reach a meadow and find massive waterfalls gushing off on the opposite side of the river. This is Tunda Bhuj and you will spend the night here.
Tunda Bhuj – Thakur Kuan
The fourth day of your trek will involve about 4 hours of trekking. Again, the trail that you will cover today is mostly flat with just a couple of somewhat steep sections and one little portion of the trail in the beginning that has been destroyed by a landslide. Despite the flat terrain, the trek is to be done with great care because the rocky surface makes it difficult to hold a firm grip.
Today’s trek will also offer you plenty of time to look around and garner visual souvenirs of the serene landscape. As you reach Thakur Kuan, you will find a vast green pasture beside the river Parvati. Overnight stay will be at Thakur Kuan.
Thakur Kuan – Odi Thatch
This stretch of the Pin Parvati trek is sure to cast a magical spell on you with its serene and unique scenery. The trail will be longer today but will totally be worth the time spent.
The trail starts with a slight ascent but gradually turns steep as you approach the first bridge, which is actually a big boulder named Pandu pul-1. Shortly after you cross the first bridge, you will reach a bigger boulder-cum-bridge called Pandu pul-2. After you cross the second boulder-bridge, your trail will take you straight to Odi Thatch. You will find this part of the trail frequented by shepherds hence it is advisable to be careful and not to lose the trail.
As you approach Odi Thatch, you will see that the landscape is now a very flat pasture. Overnight stay for this night will be at this point.
Odi Thatch – Mantalai
The sixth day of the Pin Parvati trek will take you to Mantalai from Odi Thatch. This part of the trail is almost flat, except for the final few hundred metres when you have to ascend in order to reach the lake. This part of the trail is especially beautiful as it treads alongside the river Parvati.
As you will tread ahead, the river will become narrower and assume a form that is a stark contrast to the huge, burgeoning river that greeted you at the beginning of the trek. Just before you reach Mantalai, you will arrive at a place, locally known as mini-Mantalai. This place is home to thousands of small rivulets running over a flat land. The beauty of this place is different from any that you would have seen in a trek.
After you cross mini-Mantalai, you will have to climb a steep slope for about 300 meters before you reach the grand glacial lake at Mantalai. Overnight stay will be arranged by the lakeside and you are sure to get mesmerised by its beauty.
Mantalai – Parvati base camp
This day of the trek marks a challenging part of the trail. Although the total time of today’s trek will not be much different than other days that you have covered, the steep rise in this part of the trail requires extreme caution. This day starts early and you have to get going even before sunrise.
As you start your trek today, you will have to traverse through a steep muddy section with very loosely kept rocks. One must be very careful while trekking in this section and maintain a safe distance from the trekkers in front of us. Once this section is over, you will see a stretch of the moraine, about 1 km long. This part is also quite steep and should be covered very slowly.
After this section is over, you will arrive at the base camp site just next to the majestic Parvati glacier. The beauty of this place cannot be justified by words. On a moonlit clear night sky, this place is said to have an almost magical effect on the beholder.
Parvati Base Camp – Pin Valley Base Camp
The eighth day of the Pin Parvati trek will take you from the base camp at Parvati Valley to the Pin Valley base camp. The trail to be covered today is essentially over a mass of snow and ice. You will cross the majestic Pin Parvati Pass to reach the Spiti Valley. This distance will be covered in about 8-9 hours.
The 3 kilometres walk today will have to be done with extreme caution and the advice of the trek leader will have to be followed at all times. Today’s trek is dangerous because there might be hidden crevices in ice. Tread ahead very slowly and carefully until the glacial region is covered. Even during summer time, Pin Parvati pass temperature can get quite cold, therefore you must carry the recommended set of clothes.
After the glacier, you will encounter a very steep slope before reaching the pass. As before, you should be careful when climbing through this section. As you reach the pass, you will be marvelled with the sight. At an altitude of 17000 feet, you will witness the glory of this huge and majestic pass. Spend some time at this magnificent point and give yourself a pat on the back.
The base camp site is further ahead from this point, but the trail ahead doesn’t involve any elevation. The trail descends gradually as you continue walking for about 1.5 kilometres before you reach the base camp site.
Pin Valley Base Camp – Wichkurung Thatch
Today, you will bid adieu to the glacier and continue on the Pin Parvati trek towards Wichkurung Thatch. This distance will be covered in about 6 hours and involves a sharp descent of about 3 kilometres. This part of the trail is also meant to be done very cautiously because it is not easy to hold a firm grip on a slope.
About halfway through this trail, you will encounter a stream crossing your path as you continue ahead. After another 3 kilometres, you will reach the river and would have to cross it in order to reach your destination for the day. As you approach Wichkurung Thatch, the terrain will become almost flat, as if it is compensating for the tough two days that you had before.
Wichkurung Thatch – Mudh Village - Kaza
The penultimate day of your trek will offer you great sights of the Pin Valley. Todays’ trek will not be challenging and will take about 5 hours before you reach the ancient Mudh Village.
Your trail will take you through a wide-open Pin Valley in Spiti. You will observe numerous wild plants and streams crisscrossing your way as you continue on the trail. Mudh village seems to be a picture out of a storybook with neat and tidy houses nested among barley fields. From here, you will take a taxi to Kaza.
Kaza is a popular tourist destination, especially in summer months. Kaza is also a popular base campsite for various trekking routes in the Himalayas. The place is well equipped and there are ample of options for staying overnight. Food will also not be a problem here. You will have a lot of options for sight-seeing as well. For example, Tangyud Monastery, Kibber Village, Gette Village, Langza Village, Pin Valley National Park, Losar Village, Key Gompa etc.
Drive Back to Manali
Today, you will drive back to Manali from Kaza. It is advisable to start the journey after having hot breakfast. The journey will take you through snake bends and offer great views of the valley. The trip will take almost 12 hours.
Although the trek is typically over on the 11th day, most tour operators recommend keeping a buffer day in your schedule in case some unexpected delays happen. Since the trek involves travelling long distances in harsh weather conditions and high altitude, anyone can fall sick during the trek. Sometimes, the weather goes bad suddenly and requires halting the trek for some hours. Keeping a buffer day in hand is always a good idea.
While the itinerary mentioned above is the typical itinerary for the Pin Parvati trek, it should be noted that this trek can also be done in the reverse direction. The Parvati valley is a lush green paradise while the Pin Valley is largely a cold desert. Starting from any direction is possible because the end of the trek will be drastically different either way.
Sight-seeing Options Nearby
Once the trek is complete, you might want to enjoy the spectacular tourist attractions nearby.
Once you are back in Manali, you can easily travel around and indulge in adventure activities like paragliding and zorbing. A visit to the famous Rohtang Pass can also be arranged from Manali.
The Hadimba Devi temple and the Vashisht temple are both much-revered sites in Hindu religion and are not far away from Manali. Jogini Falls is another very famous tourist spot in Manali.
Risks Associated With This Trek
The enthralling beauty of nature that you witness during the Pin Parvati trek comes with enormous risks. Firstly, the trek is fairly long. It spans across a distance of more than 100 kilometres. Some parts of the trail are not very well defined and some parts are damaged by landslides.
The Parvati River tends to get very aggressive and it might be difficult to cross it. Some portions of the trek are meant to be done without the support of ropes. The glacial region involves walking on hard ice. In addition, a 10 kg backpack is always on the trekker’s back. These facts make it a fairly risky trek.
Contingency Planning for this Trek
Since the Pin Parvati trek is a fairly long one, the following things must be arranged:
- Emergency rescue plan
- Timely Medical aid
- Oxygen Cylinder
In addition, it is important to keep buffer days in the travel plans to combat any unforeseen circumstances. It is to be kept in mind that there is essentially no cellular connectivity between day 1 and day 11 of the trek.
Typical trek Inclusions
Booking for group treks is the only safe way to go on this trek. Pin Parvati trek cost typically includes the following:
- Accommodation between day 1 and day 11
- Major trekking equipment
- First aid kit
- A trekking guide and support staff
- All transportation between day 1 and day 11
The cost doesn’t include any personal expenses or stay beyond the group itinerary.
Things to Carry For This Trek
The Pin Parvati Trek is a long one, which involves trudging through thick layers of snow and overnight stays in high-altitude place with your tent being the only thing between you and the harsh, sub-zero weather outside. So, make sure to carry these items on your trek:
- A sturdy and big backpack
- A good quality trekking shoes
- A strong trekking rope
- Trekking pole
- LED flashlight (and extra batteries)
- Trekking gaitor
- A compass and a map of the area
- A trekking Medical Kit
- A sturdy tent
- Trekking pants, minimum 3
- Full sleeved t-shirts, minimum 4
- Thick, warm down jacket
- Woollen/ fleece jackets, minimum 2
- Thermal innerwear, minimum 2 pairs
- Socks, both cotton and woollen, minimum 4 pairs each
- cap and scarf.
- Hand gloves
- Head protection gear
- energy bars
- water bottle
- cutlery for personal use
- bags for waste disposal
Physical Fitness Required for this Trek
A challenging trek like the Pin Parvati trek requires a great degree of physical fitness and mental preparedness. Here are some exercises that you should regularly do in order to get ready for this trek:
Muscle Strengthening Exercises
It is crucial to train your weak muscles for this trek. Strength training will help you to complete this trek without getting injured or exhausted. You should not only target your weak muscles but also improve the strength of your strong muscles.
Regularly doing stretching exercises and yoga will make your body lithe and flexible for enduring the harsh conditions of this trek.
Simulation of High Altitude Conditions
Working out on an inclined treadmill will train you for walking in high altitude.
Please note that all these exercises and fitness regimens should be performed under the guidance of a trained professional only. In addition, regular jogging, running or swimming will be helpful. Make sure that you eat nutritious food. If you are a smoker, we encourage you to quit smoking as it drastically reduces the lung capacity, and makes breathing at high altitudes difficult.
Tips for Trekkers
- The Pin Parvati trek is 110 km long, a distance that can usually be covered in 1 week. So why does it take 12 days? Well, that’s because the majority of the people who take on this trek aren’t hardcore mountaineers and need rest days and acclimatization time to successfully finish the trek.
- It is highly recommended that beginners and enthusiasts don’t try this trek. People who are just starting out as trekkers don’t have the experience to traverse a trail like Pin Parvati and this inexperience can prove fatal.
- The idea of doing the Pin Parvati trek solo is not encouraged. Always take the help of an experienced guide, preferably who knows the trail like the back of their hand.
Now that you have a fair amount of information about the Pin Parvati trek, we hope that you will soon make up your mind to go on this beautiful trek.
Please keep in mind that this trek should not be taken lightly as it is one of the more challenging treks in the Himalayas. Beginners are encouraged to get exposure to some easier Himalayan treks before attempting this one. Let us know your thoughts!