Few places on earth can mark so dramatic a change in landscape as the Rohtang Pass. To one side, the lush green head of the Kullu Valley; to the other, an awesome vista of bare, chocolate-coloured mountains, hanging glaciers and snowfields that shine in the dazzlingly crisp light, with just flecks of flora deep in the valley to soften the stark image. The district of Lahaul and Spiti, Himachal’s largest, is named after its two subdivisions, which are, in spite of their numerous geographical and cultural similarities, distinct and separate regions.

Although parts of the old trade routes to Ladakh and Tibet are now sealed with tarmac, most of this remote and spectacular region is still only accessible on foot.

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