Mail From The Heavens: Highest post office in the world
Hidden away amongst the lofty peaks and desolate valleys of the Himalayas, away from the prying eyes of civilization, lies the picturesque hamlet of Hikkim. A journey which mirrors a trip through Hades, minus the sight dead and the damned, rewards the knackered with a sight unmatched by Aphrodite herself.
Situated at a height of 4,440 m, Hikkim is home to the highest post office in the world. Since its establishment in 1983, this post office has been acting as the village’s eyes and ears, providing it with the much-needed interaction with the world. Mail is not the only article handled by the post office; it also offers the inhabitants of this outlandish world the means to save what little they earn through small savings accounts.
Throughout its 38 odd years of existence, this highest post office in the world has had just one guardian. Rinchen Chhering, who signed on as the Post Master of this unique post office since its foundation, continues to faithfully discharge his sacred duties. His dedication to his craft as he single-handedly manages the workings of his charge is exemplary and one might even say that it puts Hermes to shame.
The topography of the area is such that a few traversable roads exist and come winter, the snowfall renders them useless. Giving in to Mother Nature’s power, the highest post office in the world hibernates for six months every year, emerging from its deep slumber with the first signs of spring. The summer months however do not guarantee an easy transit of mail to and from Hikkim. A strenuous trek on foot through rugged trails and rough terrain is the only way to transport the mail. Two hardy postmen make the daily round trip of more than 40 km to Kaza, which serves as the capital of the Spiti Valley. Kaza is well connected to several other major towns and postal hubs in Himachal Pradesh and serves as a collection point for both outbound and inbound mail to the highest post office in the world; outbound mail sent off on four wheels while the inbound mail is lugged back on two.
While the world speeds forward like a runaway train, life in the domain of the highest post office in the world is relatively idyllic and slow-paced, creeping along at a snail’s pace. With minimal mobile connection and the internet yet to announce its presence, Hikkim is still untouched by modern amenities. Monasteries dot the landscape as far as the eye can see and serve as places where the populace can come together for religious, cultural, and social purposes.
With trouble and strife running riot in the world, this wonderful paradise has had the good fortune to be spared the horror so far. The mighty Himalayas, ever imposing and majestic, the tower in the backdrop; a stark contrast to the humble Post Master of the highest post office in the world, slouched over his desk as he labours over the next batch of mail which awaits the start of a journey to distant lands.
“Percentage of Visitors Travel From Spiti Valley to Hikkim Post Office in Last 5 Years”
Last modified: March 15, 2021