Situated in the cold desert area of Lahaul and Spiti district in Himachal Pradesh, Pin Valley National Park is home for more than 20 species of animals and birds, including the endangered Snow leopard.
Constituted as a wildlife park in 1987, Pin Valley is located at altitude ranging from 11,500 feet to 20,000 feet in Spiti division of the district. Pin River flows through the base of the valley.
The park’s core zone is stretched over 675 sq km and the buffer zone extends over 1150 sq km. Foreign nationals are not allowed inside the park. Indians have to take permit to enter the park.
Snow leopard is the most important resident of the park. There are about 12 of the big cat in the park. Besides snow leopard, Siberian ibex, bharal, weasel, red fox, marten are other animals that are the highlight of the park. It is home to birds like pika, snow cock, bearded vulture, chukor, golden eagle, griffon, Himalayan chough and raven.
Winter is the best time to see the animals when they migrate to the lower regions because of the cold weather. Pin Valley is also known for its floral wealth. The park boasts of over 400 plant species including medicinal herbs. It is famous for two rare species of plants called Juniper and Birch. The park’s alpine pasture lands are another highlight.
The park is also popular with trekkers who come to see the natural beauty and the wildlife of the park.
As many as 17 villages with a population of 1600 are located at the periphery of the park. Locals of Pin Valley, like the rest of Spiti, follow Tibetan Buddhism. The religious and cultural beliefs of the locals have helped in protecting the wildlife of Pin Valley.
Pin Valley is also famous for its Chhumurti horses, an indigenous breed. Horse racing and archery competitions are popular pastimes of the locals.
The song Intezaar intezaar from movie Paap, starring Udita Goswami and John Abraham was shot in Pin Valley.
WHERE TO STAY
There are no options to stay in the park. Camping is allowed at Mud Farka. Generally tourists opt to stay at Kaza and visit Pin Valley during the day.
WHERE TO EAT
There are no options to eat in Pin Valley. Carrying your own food stock would be a good idea.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Mid May to September is the best time to visit Pin Valley. If your aim is to see the fauna then the right time is April, May, November and early December. For fauna, July and August is the right time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT SPITI
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Spiti is as given below. The best time to visit Spiti is also specified.