The Trans Himalayan District of Lahaul and Spiti comprises two sub-divisions of the same names with headquarters at Keylong for Lahaul and Kaza for Spiti. The Buddhist monasteries punctuate the ethereal beauty of the area. Rohtang Pass at the height of 3980m is the gateway to the stark and forbidding landscape. Across Rohtang are the high bare hills, steep ridges, deep ravines and cliffs of naked rocks patched by refreshing greenery around villages on the banks of running streams. Lahaul, a derivative of Tibetan Lho-yul 'Country in the south' or of Lhahi-yul 'Country of the gods' provides a mix of Buddhism and Hinduism with eighteen gompas and many temples, two of which at Trilokinath and Udaipur are known for exquisite carvings.
Spiti means the ‘middle country’ – a name obviously given as a result of its location and traditional ties with both India and Tibet. Fed by several Fast flowing streams, the river spiti flows through the area and joins with the other large river of the region, the Sutluj, at Khab. With freekles of the green over a dry weather-beaten face, Spiti is a cold desert where the mansoon rain never comes. It is characterized by a stark allmost relentless beauty, narrow valleys and high mountains. A century ago, Rudyard Kipling in Kim Called Spiti, "A WORLD WITHIN A WORLD" and "A PLACE WHERE THE GODS LIVE" - and this is a description that holds true to the present day. Spiti's lunar-like landscape is spotted with Buddhist monasteries, small villages and rare examples of natural beauty – including some high altitude lakes.
Keylong (3350 m) : Green fields all around and a small township is Keylong, the district headquarters of Lahaul where sits the Deputy Commissioner and district officers of other Departments. One English traveller is supposed to have said that Keylong is 'a rough cut emerald in a bronze and silver setting'.
Gramphu : On way to Keylong from Rohtang, 67 km from Manali, is the bifurcation point for Keylong and Kaza.
Khokasar : First village of the valley as one descends from Rohtang La. Flat roofed houses and herbage attract the attention.
Sissu : Lahaul's patron deity, Gyephang resides here in a monastery. Its marshy plains are stopover for migratory birds. It is 21 km from Keylong towards Rohtang.
Gondhla (3160 m) : The most distinctive feature of this village is the eight storeyed timber and stone tower that was once the residence of the local 'Thakur' chief.