After travelling for 10 days, I wanted to post a letter to my parents. Yes, you read it right, ‘post a letter’ and not ‘send a mail’ or ‘give them a call’. Well, why not, when you are at the World’s Highest Post Office? I was feeling at the top of the world to write a letter with pen and paper and then drop it in a red post box, a long gone habit for most of us today; in the era of instant phone calls and emails. Literally too, one could say I was on top of the world because Hikkim Post Office at 14567 feet is the highest Post Office on earth.
About Hikkim Post Office
Hikkim is a tiny village in the Lahaul and Spiti District of Himachal Pradesh, India, at 14400 feet. The nearest town to this tiny Himalayan hamlet, Kaza, the Head Quarters of Spiti, is 15 kilometres away. This area is open to the outer world for six months only. It is inaccessible during the harsh cold winter months due to heavy snow. The Post Office is a means of connecting the small villages of this part of the isolated world to the outside world. There is hardly any mobile coverage and forget about the internet. Besides, there is no public transport in this area too.
Two postmen carry the letters on foot to and from Kaza. The Post Office also acts as a savings bank where the locals deposit and/or withdraw cash from. This Post Office is pivotal to the daily lives of the people. Mr Rinchen Cherring had been the first Post Master since its inception in 1983.
Do visit the Hikkim Himalayan Tea shop and try the sea buckthorn tea or juice. Sea buckthorn is a kind of berry and the juice helps in high altitudes. The shop sells postcards and souvenirs too.
Interesting Facts about Hikkim
This area is one of the highest inhabited places on earth. Life is not smooth here. This is a cold desert with barren mountains, snow capped peaks and treacherous passes. Being absolutely cut off from the outer world for six months; definitely doesn’t make life easy here. There are a few patches where limited crops and vegetables are grown, mainly barley, peas and potatoes. However, the villagers here are extremely content, happy, peaceful and spiritual.
The place is magical. The vastness of the place, the rugged mountains, the blue sky, fluttering prayer flags all over, a few typical huts made of stone and wood and the meandering river make the place ethereal. Hikkim was also World’s Highest Polling Station in 2012 and has its name in Limca Book of Records. This was also covered by BBC News. The record was broken in 2019 by Tashigang Village in Himachal Pradesh which is situated at an altitude of more than 15000 feet.
There are two extremely nearby villages which one must visit from Hikkim or while travelling to Hikkim from Kaza. They are Langza and Komic.
Komic – Highest Village in Spiti Valley
Komic, Spiti’s highest village at 15000 feet, is a hamlet situated 2 kilometres southeast of Hikkim. It is popular for the 14th century-old Buddhist Gompa, Tangyud Monastery, on the edge of a deep canyon (14830 feet) overlooking the town of Kaza. The monastery is located at the periphery of Kibber Wildlife Sanctuary famous for Himalayan snow leopard. It was a fortified monastery and has a sturdy and rustic outside. The gompa’s interiors are mystic and beautiful. It is exotic to sit at the organic café at the foot of the monastery and enjoy their menu with such amazing views.
Langza is another tiny village at 145000 feet, consisting of around 150 villagers, 13 kilometers from Kaza, famous for a Buddha Statue which is 1300 years old. The magnanimity of the age old statue is past compare. The moment we got down from our car at this remote village, the first thing that caught our eyes is this majestic Buddha statue overlooking the village with mud houses and colourful prayer flags or mani flags all over. The sight is transcendental. A short hike of 10-12 minutes is required to reach the statue from the parking. Langza is known as the ‘Fossil Village’ of Spiti Valley as fossils, mostly ammonites, is found here.
The Best time to Visit Hikkim
The Spiti valley remains opened from June to October for tourists. Even though its summer, the weather is harsh, unpredictable, windy and tremendously cold at times. It is common to feel nauseatic and breathlessness at such high altitudes. It is better to be preparing ourselves from before the trip. Getting acclimatized to such high altitude is of utmost necessity.
I was feeling super excited as I was writing about Hikkim Post Office, World’s highest Post Office. Even if you are not planning to visit it right now, why don’t you write a letter to the people of Hikkim. Let’s relive some of our old habits. The Postal Code is 172114.
A versatile writer and travel freak, discovering the world in her own casual way. Loves to immerse into the core of Mother Nature and extract her inherent beauty.