Himachal Pradesh - the land of the eternal snow peaks - takes in the transition zone from the plains to the high Himalayas and in the trans-Himalayan region of Lahaul and Spiti actually crosses the mighty barrier to the Tibetan plateau. A journey through Himachal holds the promise of a deep and refreshing communion with nature in its varying beauty. The lush river valleys surrounded by snow-capped peaks, the fruit-laden orchards, gurgling streams and the dense forests that echo with birdsong evoke enchantment and delight. Closer to the Greater Himalayan and Zanskar range, delight gives way to awe as one is faced with the stark, haunting landscape of the cold desert. Here, still lakes gleam like emeralds and sapphires amidst towering White Mountains that stand aloof and forbidding in their majesty.