The highest post office in the world: Hikkim, Himachal Pradesh
A 40 minute uphill drive from the town of Kaza in Spiti valley for 14km and one will reach the village of Hikkim. This place houses the highest post office in the world. The village of Hikkim is situated at a towering altitude of around 14,400 feet above sea level. Hikkim also has the highest polling booth in India.
There are two options of getting to Hikkim, the first is to hire a taxi from Kaza. The second option is to take the local HRTC government bus from Kaza to Hikkim, which runs twice a week on Tuesdays and Saturdays and departs from Kaza at 2 pm. It’s advisable to recheck the bus schedule a day prior to your journey. The bus ride takes around 70-90 minutes to reach Hikkim and is the most economical way of getting to the village.
The same bus runs all the way to the village of Komik and also makes a stop at the fossil village of Langza. The bus leaves from the village of Komik the same day at roughly 4 pm and heads back to the town of Kaza.
At first glance, Hikkim can be easily mistaken as an extension of either Komik or Langza since the village has a very similar bowl shaped setting and is located between these two high altitude villages. On reaching the village, travellers will be flocked by little kids asking for chocolates and money. It is advisable not to give into their demands since this has developed into a new breed of children begging all day. In some place the kids even get aggressive and fling stuff if their demands are not met. This seems to be the tantrums of the children of the area.
The houses in Hikkim are built out of stone and mud with the outer walls painted in white and have Buddhist prayer flags hung around the house to symbolise the Buddhist influence in the village. The houses in the village are all clustered close to each other just below the road. It is a steep 65 degree inclined walk down to the village houses. The village monastery is located at the far end over looking the entire village. The village also has a Hindi medium co-education government school till the eight grade which was started in 1965.
Hikkim much like the other two villages in this belt is rich in fossil life since it was also a part of the might Indian Ocean before the Himalayan fold mountains were formed. Here fossils are found a lot more easily as compared to in Langza which is known as the fossil village since very few travellers visit Hikkim. In Hikkim, fossils can be found everywhere all you have to do is just look around.
An absolutely must do thing while in Hikkim is to walk down to the post office and send a post card, because its not everyday that you get to send a post card from the highest highest post office in the world.
The lower flat plains of the village are where the villagers grow their crops. Since the land is barren and the weather is dry, cultivating crops is extremely hard but just like the rest of the valley, the villagers from Hikkim have managed to do the impossible and cultivate potatoes, spinach and cabbage. Yaks are used to plough the field and traveller will get a glimpse of this through the day.
Accommodation in Hikkim is limited to a couple of extremely basic home stays which provide nothing more than a mattress to sleep on. The home stays are very clean and also provide all three meals to travellers. Food served in the home stays is a home cooked Spitian meal which consist of the local Spiti bread which is a round shaped fluffed up roti made from wheat served with jam, butter and the previous day’s dal. Lunch and dinner generally includes rice, rajma (kidney bean) dal, roti and a mixed vegetable dish.
The village of Hikkim is a place which is more suited to travellers in search of wilderness since the village has nothing touristy to offer to a regular traveller. To experience the life of the locals a night stay in the village is highly recommended.