Kinnaur is the most scenic but less known district of Himachal Pradesh, located on the Indo-Tibet border. It is surrounded by Tibet on the east, Garhwal Himalaya trek on the south, Spiti Valley on the north and Kullu on the west. The Sutlej River, which rises on the southern slopes of Kailash Parvat near Mansarovar in Tibet flows through the Kinnaur valley. Due to the proximity of Kinnaur to Tibet, the life style and religion of its inhabitants had been influenced by Buddhism, mostly in the northern and central regions, although the majority of the people practice Hinduism.
Set within the Greater trekkings in Himalayan belt it boasts of the highest mountains in Himachal Pradesh. Close to the border with Tibet, entry to Kinnaur was restricted even for Indian nationals till 1993 and foreigners still have to register themselves with Inner line permit. Kinnaur valley comprises of the lower valley of Spiti and Satluj gorge, the two rivers race through valleys of The Satluj and The Spiti. Sutlej river which has its origin (common to the Indus and Bhramaputra rivers) in Lake Mansarovar beside the holy Mt. Kailash in Tibet.
Kinnaur holds three of the world's grand mountain ranges - the Zanskar, the Greater Himalaya and the Dhauladhar, Mount Kinner Kailash (6'050 m) dominates this region, it has religious significance for a huge "SHIVA LINGAM" the representation of Lord Shiva which is a 79 feet vertical rock formation that resembles a Shivalinga and changes color as the day passes. This is one of the mythical abodes of Lord Shiva.
The circuit around the whole range attracts many pilgrims every year. The Parikrama or circumambulation begins from Kalpa via Triung valley and back to Kalpa via Sangla valley. Drive up to Thangi and the actual trekking begins from here.
To reach this forbidden land, India's northern tip, before July, we travel through the Hindustan - Tibet highway, the ancient silk route following the Satluj. The Spiti river joins the Sutlej from the west and runs parallel with the Great Himalayan Range, the natural boundary between India and Tibet (China). In July it is possible to enter Spiti from the north, crossing Rohtang Pass (3980m.) into Lahaul and Kumzum La (4550m).