Welcome to Lahaul & Spiti
The desolate northern and eastern tracts of Himachal Pradesh are among the most spectacular and sparsely populated regions on Earth. Crossing the Rohtang La from Manali, you arrive first in Lahaul's relatively green Chandra Valley. Head west down the Chandra then up the Bhaga Valley through Keylong (Lahaul's capital) and you're on the road to Ladakh. If you travel east up the Chandra Valley and over the Kunzum La into Spiti, you pass into the rain shadow of the Great Himalayan Range. Spiti is 7000 sq km of snow-topped mountains and high-altitude desert, punctuated by tiny patches of greenery and villages of whitewashed houses clinging to the sides of rivers and meltwater streams. As in Zanskar and Ladakh, Tibetan Buddhism is the dominant religion in both Spiti and Lahaul, though Hinduism is prominent in lower Lahaul. Some Lahauli temples encompass both religions.