Spiti Valley lies in the idyllic Himalayas of North India and is appropriately known as 'the middle country'. Nestled between Nepal and Pakistan's wild Northwest Frontier Province, and bordering on the ancient kingdom of Tibet, the states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal and Kashmir make up India's own Northwest.
For centuries these remote valleys lived largely isolated from one another, preserving homogenous and distinct cultures and traditions. To this day, from one valley to the next people speak completely different languages and within the same valley up to 7 dialects may be spoken.
The valleys of the Himalayas hold the treasures and secrets of ancient civilizations. Monastic traditions developed enormous architectural marvels and perhaps in no other society does religion play such a defining role in the political and economic development of the region. Desolate, high altitude deserts support monastery-cities perched precariously on sheer cliff faces. These fascinating edifices are a display of the rich cultures completely indigenous to the high valleys.
The area has always drawn wanderers and explorers with its rich cultural heritage and spiritual prosperity. Increasingly, it has been the spiritual appeal of Himalayan Buddhism which has drawn western travellers to the mountains. Indeed, it is often said the Himalayas are the closest humankind get to the heavens and the Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh and Jain faiths can all trace roots to these mountains.