Are you planning a visit to Pin Valley and want to travel to its last hamlet known as Mud Village? You will not be disappointed to take this adventure road trip in Spiti and visit this beautiful remote Himalayan village. In this travel guide of Mud Village in Pin Valley, let us explore how you can also plan a memorable trip.
We all know that Spiti is a cold desert and most of its landscape is dry, brown, and frigid. Now, imagine discovering an oasis in the middle of a desert. Wouldn’t you want to explore every inch of it? (Although I loved exploring every inch of the cold desert too!).
Pin Valley is one such verdant green patch in Spiti Valley and Mud, the last village in Pin Valley is a charming hamlet. Read on to know about this border village and the magnificent treks originating from it.
Let's quickly dive into the details:
About Mud Village – Pin Valley
Mud village is a part of a cluster of 17 villages of Pin Valley, housing around 200 people in its 30 homes. Bollywood stumbled upon this gem more than a decade and a half back. Remember the movie named ‘Paap,’ released in 2003? Its melodious songs were shot at Mud village in Pin Valley. Some other scenes of the movie were shot in Tabo village too.
A striking feature of the village is how lush green it is, probably because the Pin river flows right beside the village. The river nourishes this land and enables its soil to harbor healthy crops. Mud village gained popularity among travelers for being a trekking base to Pin Parvati Pass, trek to Bhabha Pass, and of course, the entrance to Pin Valley National park.
Mud’s neighboring village is Sagnam, which is a comparatively bigger village having a population of approximately 450 people, living in 85 houses. Spread across 127 hectares, Sagnam is a popular stopover in many Spiti Valley itineraries as the village has a PWD Rest House that provides a comfortable stay.
At an altitude of about 3600 meters, Mud is the last inhabited village of Pin valley, located 50 km away from Kaza. People travel to Pin Valley from Tabo and then Mud Village to Kaza after sleeping for a night. The distance from Tabo to Mud Village is 65 km, and generally, tourists visit Dhankar Monastery and Dhangkar Lake before staying overnight at Mud village in Pin Valley.
Mud Village Weather
The weather in Mud Village is similar to the rest of the Spiti Valley. It is pleasant in the summer months, while winters are freezing and full of snow. The connecting road between Tabo or Kaza to Pin Valley via Atargoo gets disconnected due to heavy snowfall in the winter months. Mud Village temperature goes to freezing point in winter while in summer the temperature in Mudh ranges in 20-25 degrees celsius.
Best time to visit Mud – Pin Valley
I always recommend that you choose your time of the visit to Spiti valley depending on the kind of experience you are seeking. Pin valley adorns different colors during different seasons, out of which my favorite is Autumn. The entire valley turns into a splash of yellow, red, golden, orange, and green. It is also the perfect time to avoid the bitter cold of winter months and yet enjoy the chill of the fall.
Summer months are the easiest to cruise through Spiti. Winter covers the entire valley under deep snow, but it is reachable. Don’t expect luxuries of uninterrupted electricity, hot water, or even clear roads during winter.
To make it easy for you, we have encapsulated a month-by-month guide to Spiti valley. It will help you decide when to visit this beautiful place.
If you want to club your visit to Mud with the treks to Pin Bhabha or Pin Parvati, then keep in mind the best times for these treks, which are mentioned later in this article. Do not forget to check our list of must-have things to carry on a trekking trip in the Himalayas.
How to reach Pin Valley?
If you are traveling to Mud from Kaza, take the road going towards the Tabo – Dhankar monastery. Follow it for about 20 km, till the confluence of Spiti and Pin rivers at a place called Atargoo. Just before the confluence is a right turn which leads to Pin valley. After taking that right turn over the Attargoo bridge, a drive of almost 30 km along the Pin river will take you to Mud village. Most of the road is a dirt-track, so prepare your vehicle accordingly.
On the same road, 12 km before Mud village you will see Sagnam village. Along with the PWD accommodation, Sagnam village also harbors a branch of Himachal Pradesh Gramin Bank. If you are in Pin valley for more than a day and plan to explore the national parks or the various treks, Sagnam is one of the options for a night halt.
There is a daily bus to Mud Village from Kaza. The bus leaves at 4 pm from Kaza and reaches Mud around 6:15 pm. You can also board the bus (at 4:30 pm) near Attargo Bridge if you are coming from a visit to the Dhankar monastery. The same Pin Valley bus leaves for Kaza the next morning at 6:30 am. Shared cabs or private taxis also run on this route from Kaza, which can cost you Rs 3000-4000 for a day trip to Pin Valley from Kaza.
Pin Valley & Mud Village in Spiti Itinerary
A trip to Mud can become a part of your Spiti Valley plan as a day’s outing. It is also treated as a sleepover place to acclimatize before you venture deep into Spiti Valley. If you are staying in Kaza, leave early in the morning to make most of the daylight hours and explore Mud, Sagnam, or other villages. You can be back to Kaza before dark.
However, if you wish to spend a night at one of the villages and experience their culture, then keep two days for this excursion in your Spiti itinerary. I recommend staying the night at Mud and enjoy the green-blue colors of the next morning.
Generally, we recommend covering Tabo to Pin Valley distance in a day via Dhangkar Monastery. It helps a lot when traveling to Spiti Valley via Shimla – Kinnaur route.
The third option is to stay for a longer duration at Pin valley and venture out to see the Pin Valley National Park or go for Pin Parvati Pass or Bhabha Valley treks. I will elaborate on these Himalayan treks later in this article. For this, you would need to incorporate anything between 2-11 days more into your Spiti trip itinerary.
Pin Valley Sightseeing & Tourist Attractions
Let us look at some of the places to visit in Pin Valley and what you can do when in Mudh village.
Walk Around / Hike nearby Trails
Just strolling down the lanes of Mud Village or outside it would reveal many beautiful sights to you. A ten-minute walk after crossing the initial patch of fields on the outskirts of Mud Village will lead you to a river crossing.
A little ahead, you will see a prominent bifurcation in the road; the upper one is a way out of the village to the distant reaches of the valley and is the beginning of the trail to Bhabha Pass or trek into Parvati Valley.
The lower path from the fork goes into the fields. On this route, you would cross a make-shift wooden bridge over a stream of Pin river. Another side of the bridge gives magnificent views of Pin valley.
The trail to Pin River
Almost half a kilometer-long road runs across the village, one end of which leads to the village temple (Gompa). A string of fields cover the path to the temple; the greenery around is mesmerizing. A few minutes of trudging along the trail culminates in a huge but not-so-sturdy suspended wooden bridge over the Pin river.
A walk on the bridge is worth your courage, as standing in the center of the bridge presents splendid sights of Pin Valley and its peaks on both sides. The Pin river’s bank at the other end of the bridge tempts you to spend endless hours there. The sound of the flowing river, the beautiful sights, and the calm in the wind would soothe your body and mind. A walk on this bridge is a must when you are at Mud village.
Pin Bhabha Pass Trek
This splendid but not-so-mainstream trek originates from the base of Pin valley near Mud village. Stretching between the elevation range of 10,000 to 16,000 feet, Pin-Bhabha is a moderate level but challenging trek. It is also a comparatively less trodden one in Himachal Pradesh. Bhabha pass forms the ridge between lush green Kinnaur and the desert of Spiti, which is why trekkers get to see astonishing landscapes, changes in topography, variations in cultures and religion on this trek.
Most trek operators start the trail from Bhabha Valley (Kafnu village) in Kinnaur and end at Mud village in Pin Valley. However, you can start the trek from Mud and reach Kafnu after a trek of 6-7 days. Your fitness level should be good to attempt this high-altitude trek. We recommend having prior trekking experience and skills to navigate through this trail. The best time to do this trek is from June to October.
Pin Parvati Pass Trek
Pin Parvati is the more glorified of the two treks, as it is one of the oldest high-altitude treks in India, reaching up to 17,500 feet. It is also the longest one, stretching for 10-11 days. The terrain is more rugged as compared to the Bhabha pass trek and is more tiring, with long walking days. This trek requires some prior experience in trekking and decent fitness levels.
The trail formally starts from Mud village and ends across the Pin Parvati Pass in Parvati Valley, towards the Kullu side. People also trek from Kasol to Pin Valley National Park using this trek.
The best time to do Pin Parvati Pass trek is between July to September. The first week of October onward winter snow starts falling at these elevations, which can make the trail more challenging to cross. You come across snow meadows on this trek even in July. However, this is a more challenging trek than Pin Bhabha Pass trek because there are few dangerous stretches, river crossings, and slippery boulder crossings.
Pin Valley National Park
Established in January 1987, Pin Valley National Park lies in the Spiti Valley under Cold Desert Biosphere Reserve. It acted as the boundary between Lahaul and Spiti Valley in the early days. You will find significant Buddhist Tibetan culture with stupas and monasteries located in this national park.
Flora & Fauna
Pin Valley National Park spans 9700 square kilometers. With an average elevation of 15,000 feet, extreme temperatures, and sparsely dense vegetation, the national park harbor various endangered animals. Pin Valley National Park in Himachal Pradesh is famous for animals like Snow leopard, Siberian Ibex, Tibetan Gazelle, Woolly Hare, Chammurti Horses, Snow Finch, Snow Partridge, and Himalayan Snowcock who find shelter in this biosphere.
More than 20 species of animals have been registered in the park. Technically, the entire area of Pin valley is a protected biosphere. However, if you want to spot these animals, you would have to trek a bit to the interiors of the forest.
Travel Tip: Do not forget to read our article on most important tips for beginners on trekking in the Himalayas.
Location and Access
Located at the border of the two districts of Lahaul and Spiti, this is one of the most scenic national parks in India, with the Pin river flowing through it and snow-clad peaks forming its background.
The nearest road-head to the Pin Valley National Park is at Mikkim village, which is 13 km from Mud and 2.5 km from Sagnam on the road towards Dhankar. It is also the first village of Pin valley entering from the Kaza-Dhankar side.
Mikkim is a tiny village of 35 people and an even lesser number of houses. If you wish to stay here, there are a few home-stays which offer basic accommodation, home-cooked meals and frugal toilets (mostly dry toilets) outside the houses.
Trek to Pin Valley National Park
Interiors of the Pin Valley National Park are approachable only on foot. You will have to cross the Pin river over a suspended wooden bridge and hike for 10 km from Mikkim to enter the Pin Valley National Park.
The trail is easy and full of alpine trees, mostly cedars, and is carpeted with lush greenery. Visit the Kungri Monastery, which is famous for the traditional Chham dance form. It lies in Kungri village, inside the buffer zone of the park.
It depends on you how much you want to explore this beautiful forest. It is possible to make a day trip to the park and come back to Mud or head to Kaza for the night.
Where to stay in the national park
The forest department has constructed bunkers for a stay of visitors, you will need to carry your sleeping bags and food. It is not advisable to camp in this wilderness for fear of animals and extreme cold. Entry to the Pin Valley National Park is free, and the official timings are 6 am to 6 pm.
It would be best to go along with a local guide who can help you through the forest. These guides are also experts in spotting rare animals in the area. Many young wildlife professionals from Spiti valley have been specially trained by the government to spot Snow Leopards, which are extremely tough to spot. Do not forget to check our tips on camping in Spiti Valley.
Best time to visit Pin Valley National Park
July to September is considered the best time to visit the Pin Valley National Park. However, if you are going in search of Snow Leopard and still want to avoid the bone-freezing cold, then the end of November or the first week of December is your best bet. However, please keep in mind that the road connecting Pin Valley to Tabo – Kaza can close at any time in winter.
Where to stay in Pin Valley?
A lot of times we are asked o Devil On Wheels that, “Are there any hotels in Mud Village?”
Mud village has a multitude of home-stays, guest houses, and cafes. Recently, a few hotels have also mushroomed in the village, owing to the increasing influx of travelers.
We have listed all good home-stays of Spiti valley in Good Hotels or Accommodation options in Spiti Valley & Kinnaur Valley
Tara Guest House
The most popular accommodation option at Mud is the Tara Guest House, which is the oldest hotel here (more than a decade). Here you will get clean rooms with warm bedding, an attached washroom (hot water and western toilet), and a room heating facility. Tara Cafe serves all three meals across its extensive menu, including a variety of Egg preparations, Nutella pancakes, Paranthas, Thenthuk, and momos.
Pin Parvati Hotel
This is a recently developed property and offers all modern facilities for a comfortable stay.
As I mentioned earlier, Sagnam village has a PWD Resthouse which can be pre-booked for a stay. You can refer to our article on How to Book HP PWD Rest Houses.
Where to eat?
When you are leaving from Kaza or Tabo to Pin Valley, you should be carrying some packed meals from your hotel or guest house. When you reach Mudh Village in Pin Valley, you will find small dhabhas or tea shacks. You can have food at those places.
Tara Guesthouse has a restaurant with balcony views as well. So, you can enjoy the food along with ogling the views in Pin Valley.
Otherwise, the guest houses or homestays in which you will be spending the night will serve you the food anyways.
You should always carry your water bottle and refill it as many times as you need water. It will not only keep you hydrated always, but you will also help in saving the Himalayas from plastic garbage. Remember, every tiny step counts and your step in this direction can help save the Himalayas too !! 🙂 🙂
Tips for visiting Pin Valley
- Foreign Nationals are required to obtain a permit from the District Magistrate in Reckong Peo or SDM office in Kaza to visit Pin valley.
- There are no ATMs in Pin valley. You must withdraw enough cash either at Kaza or Shimla or Manali. Sometimes the availability of cash at ATMs is also a problem in Spiti valley. To be sure, take out enough cash from Shimla or Manali.
- There are almost no signals of any network in Mud village. See our Tips on Mobile Phone connectivity in Spiti valley
Mud is a remote village at the end of Pin valley. The entire Pin valley has a special character, which is very different from the rest of Spiti. The pin is green, Spiti is the icy, brown desert. The popularity of Mud escalated because few famous treks originate from/ end here and also because its status escalated to a National Park.
The Pin Valley is one of the most beautiful parts of Spiti valley, and when you are in Pin Valley you must visit Mud, Sagnam, Mikkim, or even 14 other villages that formulate this abundant valley.
I hope this detailed travel guide to Mud Village and Pin Valley will help you to plan your journey better and make it a memorable one. You can easily consider this article as Mud Village Wikipedia 😉
If you like the article, please feel free to share it with any of your family or friends who are planning a trip to Spiti or Pin Valley.
Happy traveling to you!!!
Do follow @soulful_worldview on Instagram for updates on my next adventure.