The arid, dust-covered, snowcapped slopes in the Indo-Tibetan regions of Kinnaur, Spiti, and Lahaul are the stuff adventurers' dreams are made of, offering sublime mountainscapes, twisting roads, and fascinating Tibetan Buddhist communities with atmospheric gompas (monasteries). Negotiating the rough, drop-off ledges of the Hindustan-Tibet Road (bizarrely enough, known as "National Highway" 22) is an action-packed art in itself, and the impossible road is made all the more unnerving when buses, trucks, and jeeps headed in the opposite direction seem to appear out of nowhere. Although the spectacular scenery is undoubtedly the highlight of any trip through Kinnaur and Spiti, there are also marvelous monuments, including some of the world's most intriguing Buddhist complexes (such as the World Heritage Site of Tabo Monastery in Spiti), as well as high-altitude villages that seem to cling to the sides of mountains or balance on the edges of sharp cliffs.
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