Pin Valley National Park: Magnificent scenery, beautiful people

The Milky Way as seen from Mud Village.

A trip to Mud Village in Northern India’s Pin Valley National Park can be a life-changing experience, what with the magnificent scenery and the kindness of the people who live there.

Mud is the last village in the park, which is completely cut off from the rest of the world for nearly six months a year.

How to get there

Take the daily HPRTC bus from Kaza or drive to Pin Valley National Park. Mud Village is at the end of the road, surrounded by snowy peaks.

On the way to Mud Village.

Where to stay

There are homestays at Mud Village. Some can be pre-booked through package tour operators or booked directly online.

It is advisable to book ahead as there are only 42 homes. If you’re not in luck, there are some options outside Mud in nearby villages.

The journey

The trip to Mud for a one-night stay starts in Tabo, on the banks of the Spiti River in Himachal Pradesh.

A good stopover is Dhankar and the 5 km trek up to Dhankar Lake from the monastery. This can be done in a morning but it is not an easy trek.

Travelling along the roads in a hired car, every turn offered magnificent vistas of the Himalayas.

The Pin River alongside the road and the few villages, some with only 12 households living in harmony, were a treat to the eye.

Mud Village at sunset.

A life-changing experience

Mud village is located in the lap of the mountains by the riverside. It is a small village of 42 households and just over 170 residents.

If you ever find yourself with no accommodation because no prior bookings were made and all homestays are full, you just might get a surprise of a lifetime when one of the villagers offers his own living quarters for you. It’s known to happen.

The sunset from the terrace of the house was magnificent. Later in the night as the weather cleared, all the guests went up on the roof to enjoy the stars.

It seemed like there were zillions of stars and the Milky Way was visible to the naked eye. It was breathtaking, enjoying the cold night under a blanket of stars.

Sleep was peaceful that night. But the rats scurrying around in the roof above were rather disconcerting. However, the hosts said they were harmless.

It was not a perfect or luxurious place to stay but it was the most memorable. Mainly because of the hosts – they were as pure as the nature in Mud.

Amit and Anindita are Indian Travel bloggers who blog at Travel Like We Do. They talk about affordable travel in India and abroad. They are still travelling and capturing their moments.