Literally meaning the middle country,Spiti is a high altitude cold desert dotted with numerous monasteries. Rudyard Kipling in Kim called it a â€˜â€¦world within a world' and a 'place where the Gods live'. Lying in the rain shadow area of rugged mountain ranges of Zaskar, it gets very little rain and plenty of snow. Alexander Cunningham in his book Ladakh writes about Spiti that rainfall here is scarce and rarely above four inches annually and all of it seems to be falling on the same day.
Spiti is situated at the eastern end of Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh and Tibet Border. The landscape and the lifestyles of the people of this region are similar as Tibetan and Ladakhi. The region, which is predominantly Mahayana Buddhist. Spiti has some of the oldest monasteries in the Western Himalayas, Tabo monastery being over 1000 years old. Spiti offers the trekker a limited number of treks, most of them leading out into Kullu, Manali, Leh or Kinnaur.
Spiti is the sub division of Lahaul & Spiti district with its hqrs. at Kaza. It is called "Little Tibet" because it has almost the same terrain, vegetation & climate . Spiti also means "Middle Country". It lies between Tibet, Ladakh, Kinnaur, Lahaul & Kulu. From Shimla via Kinnaur there is a motorable road which remains open upto Kaza for 8 to 9 months. About 10kms. ahead of Pooh, satluj enters India near Shipki la & Spiti river joins it at Khab. The road then goes to Sumdo via Hangrang valley. From Sumdo Spiti valley starts. The Spiti river flows fast through deep gorges at some places.
The valley is not wide but there are villages and some fields where people grow barley, buck- wheat, peas & vegetables. It has an area of 4800 sq. kms. Some inhabitants have adopted Budhism as there faith and Bhoti is the spoken language. The people are simple and honest. The main Spiti valley is split into eastern and western valleys. They are connected with Ladakh & Tibet on eastern side & Kinnaur and Kulu on western side through high passes.