Lahaul & Spiti is a big district having international boundary with Tibet. It attained the status of a district in the year 1960. Till then it was merely a tehsil of Kullu Sub-division. The valleys. Mountains, glaciers, rivers, forests, pastures, gompas (monastries) and ancient buildings of the former ruling dynasty are the principal objects of study. The rugged awe-inspiring snow clad mountains are standing invitation to the hikers, mountaineers and adventurers. The entire district is full of natural scenery exorting the tourists and visitors to explore and imbibe its hidden grandeur. The customs, myths, beliefs and conventions of the simple unsophisticated people are the unique features of this border highland. Every village or a hamlet has a prayer flag fluttering over the Buddhist monastery. These shrines are the centers of the cultural life of the people that have influenced their religious beliefs for centuries and round which their social life revolves.
Origin of the Name of the District
Lahaul & Spiti, which now form, a district of Himachal Pradesh, bordering Tibet, were at one time separate Himalayan waziries or cantons of the Kullu sub-divisions, and Kullu itself formed a part of Kangra district of Punjab.As is clear from the name ‘Lahaul & Spiti’, the district comprises two different mountains tracts, one known as Lahaul and the other as Spiti. Hence the name of the district came into being with the formation of these two parts into a revenue district. The names, Lahaul & Spiti, have different origins.
Hiuen Tsiang stated Lahaul to be 1800 or 1900 li (575 or 610 Km) distant by road from the middle of Kiu-lu-to (Kulu). It is a gross overestimate as the first village in Lahaul is only about 70 kms from Sultanpur. Despite this error, whatever its source may be, Lahaul is clearly the country referred to here. But the Tibetan Li-yul has also ben identified by Rockhill with Khotan. If this is correct Hiuen Tsiang's placing Lo-u-lo at 1800 or 1900 li north of Kulu might be intelligible though an under-estimate. Probably Hiuen Tsiang confused the two countries as Li-yul (Khotan) and Lo-u-lo (Lahaul) in his estimate of distances, admittedly derived from hearsay.