जो भाई लोग स्पीती होकर आए हैं, वो इस वाले पोस्ट ऑफ़िस को ज़रूर जानते होंगे. देखते ही बता देंगे कि भई हिक्किम है यह तो और जो तस्वीर में है, वह है दुनिया का highest पोस्ट ऑफ़िस – समुद्र तल से 14,567 ft की ऊँचाई पर। जिन्हें नहीं पता और जो passes खुलने की बाट जोह रहे हैं, उनके लिए –
here are the things to know about Hikkim Post Office; the highest post office in the world.
Since its inception in the 17th century, India Posts has definitely become one of the most sought after postal systems in the world. India has a total of 1,55,618 post offices that employ 5,66,000 people working directly or indirectly for it. Among all the feathers that the India Post wields, the world’s highest post office in Hikkim village of Spiti Valley is a marvel. At 14,567 ft, located in a small but happy village rich which fossils, this post Office has lately become a center of attraction for hoards of tourists making their way into the mystique of this land.
Suggested Read: The Mystique Of Majuli – Bawray Banjaray Travelogue
The Hikkim post office opened on November 5, 1983
Lahaul and Spiti got their district status in the year 1960 and it took almost 23 years after independence to open a post office that was going to play such a pivotal role in the lives of a common Spitian or Lahauli. The Hikkim Post Office is about 16 kilometers from Kaza and the village is surrounded by great views of Chau Chau Kang Nilda peak.
The Postmaster – Rinchen Chhering is the first and the only Postmaster of the Hikkim Post-office till date.
Rinchen Chhering, now about to retire — has been the branch postmaster here, since the inception of the world’s highest post office.
“I was picked for the job from among three young guys. I had a better qualification. While I dropped out of school after class VII, the other two had dropped out after class V and class VI.”
The Department of Posts pays him rent, which had increased from ₹40 in 1983 to ₹200 in 2016. After nearly 35 years, Mr. Chhering needs a postman, post the vacancy notification in 2011.
Hikkim Post office is also the home to its Postmaster
This little Spitian office actually doubles up as Chhering’s home and is almost hidden if you happen to pass by the road. The main office room
where you get to see the PIN Code directory and the celebrated ‘Stamp’ sits in, doubles up as a bedroom at night. The postmaster and his family have got their farms just behind the office building.
Must Read: THE MUSEUM HOME – A HIDDEN WONDERLAND IN SAINJ VALLEY
The Highest Post Office in the World only functions for 6 months
Well, that’s an obvious thing but it is worth mentioning since it’s a Govt. Office. So, yes! Like the most offices and organizations in the valley, the post office also goes into hiberation blanketed by the sparkling snow.
Unlike in the mainlands, this post office acts as a lifeline for the natives.
How easy it is out there — just to be able to communicate?
The Hikkim Post Office might have become a tourist pilgrimage, but for around 160 residents of Hikkim Village, this post office is the only conduit to the outside. There is almost no cell phone signal or internet and even if you get some, it’s highly intermittent. The monks from Komik monastery get to receive their passports for overseas pilgrimage and the local farmers have got their savings account.
The mail delivery system is just a 2 men show
On a regular office day, two runners employed at the Hikkim Post Office deliver the mail on foot every alternate morning (take turns) to Kaza, the district headquarters. The mail then reaches Reckong Peo by bus and is taken to Shimla Railway Station. Well yes, the letters from Hikkim do travel on the toy train and is distributed by rail or air from Kalka.
What’s interesting to know among the things to know about Hikkim Post Office is the service of these 2 runners who hike for an hour on their alternate days schedule to beat the 16 km distance by road from Kaza. The hike would take you through a precarious path through the dry mountain desert that has kept Hikkim from Kaza. Also, the hike would expose you to ever languishing Ibex and Bharal (Blue Sheep) roaming around at some places.
You can buy postcards at the Hikkim post office and post from there
Yes, and we did try to send a handful. 55-year-old Rinchan Chhering has the best of his days during the time when he gets hordes of tourists from around the world, eager to send a postcard from the world’s highest post office at 14,567 ft. For him, this is now a part of his life. |
However, it should now be taken care of (especially when the tourist inflow is expected to increase manifold) that such high load takes a toll on the delivery system of the post office. Recently, more often than not, the post office has not been able to deliver the letters of tourists. With such limited resources and capacity, it certainly is difficult to prioritize on what goes first and what might not make it.
Things to know about Hikkim Post Office – Essentials
How to Reach the Hikkim Post Office?
HRTC (Himachal Road Transport Corporation) runs bus services twice a week — Tuesdays and Saturdays from Kaza town. From Kaza, it took us around 40 minutes to ride through 16 km of a scenic vista. And, if you are reading this, you know how to reach Kaza.
Best Time To Visit Hikkim
Well, both summers and winters have their own charm. And if you are a travel photographer, you can not choose. But, on a general note, we would recommend autumn (August – October) if you do not have exposure to harsh trips. Or else, what else is better than Winter Spiti?
Further Read: Villages Of Spiti Valley – A Bawray Banjaray Guide (Part 1)