Name: Pin Parvati Pass Trek
Approx elevation: 17,450 ft
Starting Point: Kasol
1. Kheerganga and its hot spring:
Kheerganga is a beautiful campsite which is surrounded by mountains from all the four sides. It is very famous among the pilgrims as it is said that Shiva meditated here for 3000 years. Also the spring water here is said to have healing properties. You can relax in the natural hot water overlooking 360 degree view of mountains. You will be amazed that how good the natural hot spring feels after a good trek.
2. Lush green forests of Tunda Bhuj:
The campsite comes after crossing a bridge over a big waterfall, leading to a meadow with abundant boulders. Various waterfalls gush through the valley’s towering peaks and marks the meeting point of various tributaries to the River Parvati. The scenic open meadow of Tunda Bhuj offers the exquisite view of the region with its heavenly sub-alpine forests of Birch and Rhododendrons.
3.The adrenaline rush in crossing Patra Ghat:
You will have to cross a short but tricky rock patch called ‘Patra ghat’. It is not as scary as it looks but you have to be really careful while crossing it. It’s a short but 70 degree inclined rock patch with narrow and slippery steps. Be super careful if it’s raining as the steps will become really slick.
Don’t rush and take the help of the guide to cross it safely.
4. The Thrilling Pandu Pul:
The Pandav bridges which is the most tricky part comes after 1.5 hours of trek. It is recommended that all trekkers stay together in a group while crossing this natural bridge. As per Hindu mythology Pandavas placed these rocks for river crossings hence named after them.
Pandu pul 1 is a small boulder but tricky one as it is slippery from one end with only few grip points.
While Pandu pull 2 is a gigantic boulder with a staircase on one end made up of pile of rocks. The Pandu Pul 2 is rather easy compared to Pandu Pul 1. One will need to extremely careful and guides will provide assistance with help of ropes if required.
5. Mantalai Lake and the Shivling :
Mantalai lake is at 13,500 ft. After a gradual and steep climb, one can witness the Mantalai Glacier with a small Shivling buried on the grounds. The calm and pristine Mantalai lake is adorned with the reflections of surrounded giant mountains.
Spend some time here as the local guides will perform a small ritual and offering at the Shivling.
6. The challenging glacier and long patches of snow:
Towards the last patch of Parvati side base camp route you will have to traverse through a moraine section to reach the snow top. At the end of the day you will be at 16,300 ft, at the edge of a glacier.
The campsite will be on a upland and depending on the snow conditions tents will be pitched and higher chances are that you will have to camp over snow. The campsite is surrounded with glacier, snow fields, moraines and large boulders.
If lucky, you might witness snowfall. Camping over snow along the glacier is an experience in itself.
7. The view over the pass and descend to Spiti side:
The view is spectacular over the pass. From the top, you can see a splendid view of the snowy mountains on one side and the Pin valley of Spiti on the other. Once at the pass, all your exhaustion will slip away and a sense of accomplishment will dawn in.
After crossing the pass you will descend through snow fields and moraine sections. This is a long walk over scree and rocks to reach the Pin river. The beautiful natural habitats of the Pin Valley National Park border the trekking path.
Spiti valley owns a completely different landscape of brown and green texture, covered on both the sides by magnificent mountains.
The landscape of this valley is stark and spectacular and challenges one’s idea of beauty at all stages.
8. The Change in landscape and culture.
The Pin Parvati Pass is an incredible high altitude mountain pass in Himachal Pradesh, that takes you at a height of 17,500 feet.
It is the shortest route connecting the lush Parvati valley in Kullu with the Pin valley in Spiti.
The trek is a very popular because once you cross the Pin-Parvati Pass, you will experience a complete change in landscape.
The mountain slopes immediately turns barren and rugged and the common culture of the inhabitants also changes from Hinduism on the Kullu side to Buddhism in Spiti.
9. The challenges you face along the way:
While attempting this moderately difficult pass, you will be required to cross countless rivulets and streams and walk long stretches on almost all days.
This 100 km trans Himalayan trail is full with adventure – from trekking through hidden trails, climbing rock boulders, crossing the Parvati river and long snow patches at the top.
The snow and the glacier at the top gives you a real alpine feeling and experience to remember for life time.
10. The diversity and element of surprise:
From the lush green valley at Kheerganga and Tunda Bhuj, to the meadows of Odi Thach, to the splendid Mantalai lake and the magnificent Pin Parvati glacier, to the barren landscape of Spiti valley, this trek is a journey both in the physical as well as the spiritual world. There will be highs and lows, rain and sunshine, snow and breeze, but with each passing day, the trek will become a pilgrimage to you souls.