(Last Updated on : 08/05/2015)
Pin Valley National Park is a national park located in the Lahaul and Spiti District
of Himachal Pradesh
. Pin Valley National Park is famous as the land of ibex and snow leopards, though in reality, sightings of either species are rare. With its sub-zero temperatures and semi-frozen rivers, Pin Valley is the only cold desert National Park located in Himachal Pradesh. The park lies in the valley of the Pin River, from where it derives its name. Spreading south of Dhankar in the Spiti
district near the Tibetan border, the reserve forms a natural interface between the Lahaul and Spiti divisions of the state. It was set up to protect and preserve the rare and unique Himalayan flora and fauna. Vast and sparsely populated, Pin Valley is home to 'the grey ghost of the Himalayas', the snow leopard, and its prey, the ibex.
History of Pin Valley National Park
Pin Valley National Park is located in the cold desert area of the Spiti valley, was declared a park in 1987. Steeped in history, the influence of Tibetan culture is prevalent in the area surrounding the park, visible in the Buddhist lamas, shrines, monasteries and culture of its residents.
Geography of Pin Valley National Park
The park is located in the desert habitat of the Spiti Valley, within the Cold Desert Biosphere Reserve, in the Himalayas region. Spreading south of Dhankar Gompa
near the Tibetan border, the park marks the border between the formerly separate districts of Lahaul and Spiti. The elevation of the Pin Valley National Park ranges from about 3,500 meters (11,500 ft) near Ka Dogri to more than 6,000 meters (20,000 ft) at its highest point.
Best time to Visit Pin Valley National Park
Being cold desert high altitude are winters are severe and experiences very heavy snow fall in the park area. Hence it is very difficult and dangerous to approach the Park during winter season. April, May, November and early December are quite good seasons for animal sightings, because during these months the animals occur at lower altitudes. For the people interested in plants and geology, July & August is the best period.
Flora and Fauna of Pin Valley National Park
Because of the high altitude and extreme temperatures in Pin Valley National Park, the vegetation density in the area is scant, consisting mostly of alpine trees and patches of Himalayan cedar. Juniper and Birch trees are on the verge of extinction. So far more than 400 plants species have been reported in this area. The area is very rich in medicinal herbs and spices. These herbs and spices are collected by local Pharmacists for the preparations of medicines.
There are more than 20 species of animals and birds in the Park. This park is especially renowned for the protection of endangered Snow-Leopard
, the estimated population of which is about 12. Other species are Siberian Ibex
, Red Fox, Marten
, Weasel, Pika
, Bearded Vulture, Golden Eagle, Griffon, Himalayan Chough, Raven etc. In summer, rare birds in the Pin Valley National Park like the Himalayan Snowcock, Chukar Partridge, Snow Partridge and Snow Finch increase in the area and attract thousands of tourists in Indian and abroad.
How to Reach Pin Valley National Park
Pin Valley is accessible only by road, and the last part of the journey can only be undertaken on foot. The valley can be reached from Manali
via Kaza or from Shimla
via Reckong Peo and Sumdo in Kinnaur
. Nearest rail head is Shimla and nearest aerodrome is Bhuntar in Kullu district