PIN VALLEY NATIONAL PARK TOUR
Pin Valley National Park is situated between 31° 6' 40" to 32° 2' 20" N Latitude and 77° 4' 21" to 78° 6' 19" E Longitude. This park is located in the cold desert area of Spiti Sub-Division of Lahaul & Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh.The intention to constitute Pin Valley as a National Park was declared in the year 1987.
Being cold desert due to high altitude ( 11000 ft to 20000 ft), Pin Valley National Park winters are severe and experiences very heavy snow fall in the park area. In general Pin Valley Park area is much moister than Spiti valley. Hence it is very difficult and dangerous to approach the Park during winter season (Dec to Mar). 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. For this purpose one should be fully equipped with binoculars, warm clothings, sleeping bags, medicines and sufficient food materials.
Forest department has constructed many inspection paths, bunkers and one transit accommodation at Mud Farka in the National Park. Bunkers are situated at an interval of 10-15 kms distance. Local guides and potters are also available around the periphery of the Park. Chhumurthi horses, the famous horses of this valley are also available for this purpose.
There are more than 20 species of animals and birds in the Park. This park is specially renowned for the protection of endangered Snow-Leopard, the estimated population of which is about twelve. Other species are Ibex, Bharal, Red Fox, Marten, Weasel, Pika, Snow Cock, Beareded Vulture, Chukor, Golden Eagle, Griffon, Himalayan Chough, Raven etc. Lynx, Marmat & Tibetan Wolf may also be found in this area, but so for no sightings have been recorded by Park Authorities.
Pin Valley is characterized by alpine pasture or dry alpine Scrub Forest. Juniper & Birch trees are on the verge of extinction. Valley bottoms have regenerated naturally with Salix spp. & Myricaria spp. Myricaria Shrubs are eaten by Snow Leopard during crucial winter season. 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.
Pin Valley National Park is the only National Park in Himachal Pradesh which is situated in the cold desert area. The park covering an area of 675 sq km as core zone and 1150 km as buffer zone.
There are about 17 villages situated in the periphery of the park with a total population of about 1600 people. Besides this there are about 17 Dogharies (Summer settlements) with some cultivation inside the park. These Dogharies are used as summer residences by these people. The local residents in the whole Pin Valley conists of scheduled tribes belonging to Buddhist community. There is a famous Gompa in the Kungri vilage which is situated on the buffer zone of this park. The Chham dance and Buchen dance by the Lamas of this Gompa are very famous dances in the valley.
While visiting Kaza one can enjoy a trip to Kibber Sanctuary. This sanctuary is about 20 Km away from Kaza and is linked with road via Lalung, Langcha & Kibber village. One can see herds of Blue Sheep, Ibex and panoramic views of Shila Peak, Parang La & many other enchanting views of sanctuary. On way to Kibber one must enjoy the glimpse of famous Kee Gompa.
Kibber sanctuary is the only sanctuary in the country which is situated in the cold desert area. The sanctuary is covering an area of 1400.5 sq km. There are about 13 villages situated outside the periphery of the sanctuary. Only two households in one village Kibber exist inside the sanctuary area. There are three monasteries namely Kee, Tangyut and Dhankar on the periphery of the P.A.