A small mountain village in Himachal Pradesh is popular for being home to the highest post office in the world. It is also one of the highest towns which is accessible by car, on Earth! By Payal Das
The post office is located in the Lahaul Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh. It has been operating from November 5, 1983 and is run by postmaster Rinchen Chhering. There are many villagers who go there to post letters, deposit money in their savings account, while travelers from more remote villages journey this backbreaking distance to mail their letters.
It is indeed a difficult job for the postmaster to run this office. Rinchen Chhering was 22 when he first took up the job to be a full-time postmaster. As for now, he stamps the letters and postcards which he receives every day. The mails are sent on foot from Haka to Kaza, another small village nearby, each morning. Then the mails are taken to Reckong Peo by bus whose destination station is Shimla. From Reckong, the mail is loaded on a train to Kalka if they need to be brought down to Delhi. During winter, the post office stays shut most of the time due to heavy snowfall.
The considerate people in Spiti Valley are extremely benevolent. In spite of all the hardships they face and describe their lives as ‘peaceful’. The Spitians are firm believers of Buddha. The Ki monastery in Spiti Valley is the largest monastery of the location. It is also one of the oldest monasteries which dates back to 1,000 years.
There is usually very weak phone signal and no Internet connection due to the altitude, which is why, many people prefer moving to larger cities. Thanks to the postal network, Spiti still has an old school method of communication with the outside world, and this is the simplicity that is a charm in itself.