Studies of specific mountain areas have almost invariably been contextualized within an integrated picture of highlands in opposition to an 'other' - the lowlands. The Himalayas have not been an exception. It has been long contended by anthropologists that the inhabitants of the lowerHimalayas - stretching from Kashmir to eastern Nepal - share common cultural and historical traditions. Studies show that several characteristics such as, inter-caste relations, marriage customs, the status accorded to women, religious practices and dietary habits, distinguish pahari people from theinhabitants of the plains. This book presents a discussion on the broad aspects in which Himalayan societies are markedly different from the adjacent lowlands of South Asia. The essays engage with some of the key institutions and traditions associated with these differentiating areas. They also illustrate the diversity withinthem, emphasizing that while certain customs are broadly representative of a shared Himalayan culture, there is no single underlying rationality for the entire region. The internal variations that have evolved historically within Himalayan societies still persist.