Pin Bhaba Pass

The Most Dramatic Crossover Trek in India

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TREK DIFFICULTY

Difficult

TREK DURATION

9 days

HIGHEST ALTITUDE

16,105 ft

The Most Dramatic Crossover Trek in India

Pin Bhaba Pass is hands down the most dramatic pass crossing trek in our country. That is a bold statement to make. Especially when we have so many pass crossing treks in our country.

But what you see when you stand at the pass is a testament to this bold statement we make.

Once at the pass you see Pin valley below you, in various shades of pink, set amidst the stark and deserted mountains of Spiti.  While behind you is the lush green Bhaba valley. That is when you realize how remarkable the changes in the landscape are.

But it is not just on the pass crossing day that you witness this drama. It starts right from day one!

Take for instance the forests of Mulling on day one. Here is the thing about the forests of Mulling. Unlike other treks, the forests here are enchanting! They’re right out of a storybook.

A turquoise blue river gushes through the forest on one side, and little brooks skip and jump through the trees on the others.

Later, towards noon, you burst out of this enchanting forest into a surprise you’re least expecting — the grasslands of Mulling — a sight that makes you catch your breath.

This is the first day of the trek. For a page-turner, it can’t get more dramatic than this.

And the drama continues day after day as you hike to the Kashmir-like meadows of Karah. If ever there is a debate about one of the prettiest settings for a camp on our treks, then the grasslands of Karah would be right on top.

And the day after when you camp in the river delta of Phutsirang, it is a once in a lifetime experience. River deltas on a trek are extremely rare and here you are camping right on one.

Such stunning vistas and each day an experience different from the previous day. You can’t help but drop your jaws at the surprise that the trail throws every day. Every day the scenery changes completely, so much so that it is like doing a new trek every day!

When compared with its riskier cousin, the Pin Parvati Pass Trek, where your life is at stake, the Pin Bhaba not only is a great alternative, but a more beautiful one.

Pin Bhaba Pass is hands down the most dramatic pass crossing trek in our country. That is a bold statement to make. Especially when we have so many pass crossing treks in our country.

But what you see when you stand at the pass is a testament to this bold statement we make.

Pin Bhaba Pass - Complete Trek Information

We have always wanted trekkers to be well-informed before they go on a Himalayan trek. Knowledge is the difference between a safe trek and a dangerous one. It’s also the difference between a wholesome experience and a superficial experience.

Use this section to learn about the Pin Bhaba Pass trek. It has in-depth information about each day of the trek, what to expect, and how you need to prepare for it. Many years of expertise have gone into this content. Trekkers find that extremely useful.

Pin Bhaba Pass Videos

Expert Speak

Arjun Majumdar, Founder, CEO

Arjun Majumdar, Founder, CEO

Arjun Majumdar, the Founder of Indiahikes, first went on this trek almost 6 years ago. Here, he shares his candid thoughts about the Pin Bhaba Pass trek.

He says, "2015 was one of my most memorable years of trekking. It was the year when I did the Pin Bhaba Pass trek. It has been quite a while now, and I have done more treks in between. Yet, none of them has been able to match Pin Bhaba for such dramatic changes in scenery."

What I Like and Don’t Like About the Pin Bhaba Pass Trek

What I Like About the Pin Bhaba Pass Trek

Arjun Majumdar, Founder, CEO

Arjun Majumdar, the Founder of Indiahikes, first went on this trek almost 6 years ago. Here, he shares his candid thoughts about the Pin Bhaba Pass trek. He says, "2015 was one of my most memorable years of trekking. It was the year when I did the Pin Bhaba Pass trek. It has been quite a while now, and I have done more treks in between. Yet, none of them has been able to match Pin Bhaba for such dramatic changes in scenery."

1. The Pass Crossing

Take the pass crossing for example. I remember it was early in the morning, the sun had just broken out in the valley below. The valley was awash with the colours of the early morning sun. The colours took me by surprise. The valley was a deep green, in the golden light it was beginning to turn a lighter hue.

The higher hillsides, where some rare wild bushes grew, were bright orange. The white snow summits above them made for quite a contrast. At 15,000 ft I was still climbing to the pass. From that altitude, I didn’t expect to see such richness of colours.

An hour later we were at the pass at 16,100 feet. On the other side were the deserts of Spiti. I had not expected to see a valley that was pink in colour. But there it was, right in front of me, miles and miles of pink. How could earth turn pink?

Even now I cannot imagine how in less than an hour the lushness of green could change to the most unlikely colour of the earth — pink.

I have not seen such dramatic colour change on any other trek.

Descending down to the other side of the pass. Picture from Indaihikes archive

2. The Forests on Day 1

Leave that aside. Take the forests on the Bhaba side on Day 1 of the trek. I don’t think I have seen such good forests on a trek before. I remember at that time I was already rating it as the best “day one” that I have done.

It is unique because the forest is in many layers. We climb from one layer to another, each with its distinct forest cover, with brooks running all over. This was interesting because I hadn’t come across many forests with tiny streams running through it at such frequency. The sweet scent of pine lingered always.

I remember, in one beautiful moment, the blue waters of Bhaba curved through the forest in a giant arc. I found myself right next to it, on a grassy patch under the shades of deodar trees. On small stretches, the river spilled on the grass in tiny waves. The grass was damp but not soggy. The trail was wide at that part, as it wound itself around the trunks of the deodars.

Together with the river, the grassy patch, and the deodar trees, I thought this was one of the most beautiful forest scenery I had seen. If you ever do the Pin Bhaba trek, look out for this section.

The forest is with you almost the entire day — easily one of the biggest forest sections I have seen on a trek.

The dense Mulling forest is filled with mixed coniferous trees. Photo by Sayandeep

3. Mulling Campsite

Mulling almost took me to our treks in Kashmir, with the Bhaba river running broad, with big grassy patches on either side of the Bhaba river. On the other side of the river, past the grassy patch was a dense pine forest where even sunlight didn’t pass through. Our camp right next to the river in the middle of these beautiful grasslands was more than what an eye could take.

Picture by Gourab Nandi

4. Karah Campsite

Karah is at the junction of three green valleys. Tall grasslands climb high into the mountains on every valley slope. High up on the hillside, right next to our camp, I found hundreds of rare pashmina sheep grazing. Just before the slope merged with the valley floor, pink wildflowers carpeted the entire hillside. At some places, I had to skip my way to avoid stomping on the flowers.

The Karah camp in itself was on a large flat grassy ground. A tall rock, almost like the pride rock of Lion King, guarded our tents. Behind the rock, a large pond nestled in the grassy landscape reflected the snow peaks that overlooked Karah.

I have done a lot of treks in my life. Yet, there was a campsite that still managed to mesmerize me with its beauty and setting.

Picture by Gourab Nandi

5. Phutsirang Campsite

Later, the next day we camped beside the river delta at Phutsirang. We were almost at 13,000 feet. Even at that altitude, we were at the entrance of a valley that stretched far into the mountains, straight ahead. The river fanned out into multiple magical branches, our tents right next to it, on slightly higher ground.

The setting was magical because I have rarely found camps next to mountain river deltas. This one was even more special. Here I was on a river delta, in the middle of a narrow valley, sitting on a grassy hump.

On my right across a moraine-strewn mountainside, almost touching the sky was somewhere the Pin Bhaba Pass. Right ahead, snow-covered mountain tops stretched on either side of the valley until it merged with the mountains. We were right in the middle of this orchestra!

For me, I would like to do the Pin Bhaba trek just to camp at these three campsites.

Picture by Leo Saldanha

6. The Colours and Villages of Spiti

People talk a lot about Ladakh. Movies are made in Ladakh. When I saw the beauty of Spiti on this trek, I began to think differently.

The first thing that struck me was the riot of colours. I had never imagined I would trek past sections of purple rocks, black earth, pure white, and pink one after the other.

It is a long stretch, the last day. Anyone would expect to get tired but you don’t. The whole day is a change of colours that just keeps surprising one after another. Stone tablets with their inscription for the dead lie everywhere. When we finally walked into Mudh, with its white chortens surrounding the village, I had stepped into an ancient civilisation.

The harmony of villages in Spiti stunned me. All houses faced the same direction, every house was similar in design and colour. No house spilt over the boundaries of the village, farmlands surrounded the village in an exact perimeter, and a clear stream always ran through the centre of the village, making it a lifeline. If this was not modernity, then what was?

7. The Spiti Valley

The smell of commercialization hasn’t touched Spiti yet. The Buddhist culture is deeply rooted. People are more endearing. You’ll feel it at every moment in Spiti.

Driving back on the mountain roads of Spiti, I was transfixed by the scenery. Tall mud minarets would suddenly spring up beside the road. Rivers big and wide would come and go. A small oasis of land would suddenly be a riot of colours.

We climbed to the high Kunzum pass — a raw beautiful open land. It was not a typical pass, yet it was every person’s imagination of Spiti.

I think just Spiti trekkers will love the Pin Bhaba trek. But, frankly, the green side is equally stunning.

Mudh village on the otherside of the pass. Photo by Sangarsh Lohakare

What I Don't Like About the Pin Bhaba Pass Trek

1. The Walk to Bwalder

Ok, I admit it, getting off the pass was fun. But the walk to our camp at Bwalder killed me. It was one of the longest days of trekking. I was tired. The continuous hopping over boulders jarred me. I had run out of water. I just wanted the day to get over.

If it wasn’t for this one stretch, I would give the Pin Bhaba Pass ten on ten. It is one of the most perfect treks I have ever done. The variety, the colours, and the terrific adventure have left a deep impression on me.

Trek Trivia

Things Nobody Tells You About Pin Bhaba Pass

Did you know that Pin Bhaba Pass is one of the highest pass crossing treks in the country?

On the Pin Bhaba trek, you don't just cross a pass. You get to a height of 16,200 ft. It's one of the most spectacular treks to be on. You'll be amazed by the variety of landscapes you find on the trek. It goes from lush greenery to snowy areas to a cold arid desert. What more would you need?

Even the campsites on the trek give you the best views. It begins with Mulling – a major highlight of the trek. It's situated across a beautiful river. The lush green valley behind the Karah campsite will also bewilder you.

Bhaba river is a sight to catch. There is a dam under the river, which is one of the major hydroelectric projects in the country. You wouldn't even realize there could be a dam underground.

Did you know there is a beautiful village on the other side of Pin Bhaba Pass?

Locals say that the trek is only 60% complete if you don't visit Mudh village after the trek.

It's a secluded village. The architecture and lifestyle of this village will astonish you. The people are warm and welcoming and will make you feel at home.

You would also enjoy some mouth-watering Tibetan Momos and Thukpa. Tibetan food is unique and refreshing. Although they don't use a lot of spices, the food will delight you. You'll get a chance to delve into the splendid landscapes. Remember to keep a camera handy.

You would be saddened if you did the trek and didn't stay at this village later on. Spending a day after your trek will give you a deeper glimpse into Buddhism and Tibetan culture.

Take back ancient stories, memories, a new cuisine, and amazing photographs from this lovely Mudh village.

Did you know the geological importance the Pin Valley holds?

Pin Valley is a very rich geological place. It is abundant in Quartz Arenites(sandstone).

This entire region of Spiti is the remains of the Tethys Sea. You can easily see the rock strata from different geological eras. A lot of marine fossils have been found at Langza.

In fact, the village of Mudh holds an important place for geologists as Moravian(present-day Czechia) geologist Ferdinand Stoliczka studied the rock layers at Mudh in the 1860s and currently it is known as the Mudh Series or Mudh Formation.

5 Reasons Why Indiahikes

We are India’s safest trekking organisation

When we brought out new trails in Indian trekking, safety came with us. Back in 2012, we were the first to introduce microspikes, and two years later, pulse oximeters became standard thanks to us. Nobody does safe treks like Indiahikes. In the mountains, emergencies don't care who you're with – everyone knows that when trouble hits, you look for the yellow tents of Indiahikes.

We are pioneers of treks in India

We are pioneers in trekking. Since 2007, we have brought out treks that have become India's most famous treks: Roopkund, Rupin Pass, Buran Ghati, Kedarkantha, Kashmir Great Lakes, Tarsar Marsar, Brahmatal, Phulara Ridge—the list goes on. In 2023 alone, we brought out five new treks in Indian trekking. We know treks better than anyone. This comes directly from the reason why Indiahikes was born: to bring out trek information and enable trekkers to trek on their own.

We are India’s largest trekking organisation

More than 25,000 people trek with us every year. We are the largest trekking organisation in India. 24% of our trekkers come back to trek with us every year. Over 4,000 students from the top educational institutions trek with us every year. Aside from this, families with children choose to trek with Indiahikes knowing that our treks are the safest. We have taken over 8000 children trekking so far, and the number continues to grow.

Our treks are transformative

We focus on designing transformative experiences. Our trek leaders conduct thought-provoking exercises that help you reflect and contemplate. This impact stays with you for a long time. Trekkers return feeling energised, more confident, or developing abilities to deal with difficulties. Many have changed careers, rethought their core values, become more humble, shown gratitude to others, or started a new fitness journey.

We are India's most sustainable trekking organisation

Since 2012, we have pioneered sustainable practices that have become standard in trekking. Using eco-bags, our trekkers have cleared over 120 tonnes of litter from the mountains. We do not carry packaged foods; instead, we serve freshly made food. We do not light campfires; we carry coal to light angethis to keep you warm. Our bio-toilets not only keep our toilets odour-free but also enrich the soil. When you trek with us, you leave mountains better.

Indiahikes Features

You’re guarded with our trek again philosophy

If you are unable to complete a trek, or if you love a trek, you can repeat it with us anytime. You don’t have to pay us for it. See our thoughts behind this here.

Daily 3-time health checks keep you safe at any altitude

Our thrice-a-day oxi-metre checks keep altitude sickness at bay, never allowing you to reach a point where you need evacuation.

Join any group, they are all women-friendly groups 

With around 30% of our trekkers being women, all women, including those travelling solo are comfortable to join any of our groups.

Request Jain/Vegan-friendly food

Our kitchen teams understand your needs as a vegan (or a Jain). We will take special care of your food, even in the remote Himalayas. 

Be comfortable and sustainable with bio toilets

We have specially designed bio toilets to ensure you have no sight or smell in toilets, at the same time making sure the toilets cause no harm to the fragile ecosystem we trek in.

Fresh, nutritious food at every camp

We’ll admit it. Our love for food surpasses our love for minimalism. Expect freshly cooked, multi-cuisine food at all camps, designed to meet your nutritional requirements and keep your taste buds happy!