The Himalaya meander through five very different countries, where the world religions of Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism are mixed with ancient shamanic religions. Countless languages and vastly different cultures live in the secluded mountain valleys. Modernity and tradition collide, while the great powers fight for influence. We have read about mountain climbers on their way up Mount Everest and about travellers on the spiritual quest for Buddhist monasteries. But how much do we know about the people living in the Himalaya? This book invites us into close encounters with the many peoples of the region, and at the same time takes us on a dizzying journey at altitude through incredible landscapes and dramatic, unknown world histories – all the way to the most volatile human conflicts of our times.