The “highest” of many! | Milaap

The “highest” of many!

Spiti Valley is blessed with both the touch of humans and that of the other elements of nature, nature itself. Right from the very moment you step into this dry desert, it does not cease to amaze you with an array of diversity in virgin beauty. The cross-culture of Tibet and India which shows its glimpse in language, clothing, and cuisine in the symmetrical villages enchants you to stick by for eternity. There lies another peculiar side this already- dazzling place. Spiti can actually be surnamed as the mother of “highest!”

The white face of Spiti

The Highest Village in the world with road access
As one travels through the twisting and turning roads from the main town Kaza upwards, the breath slowly cools down and one can feel the pricks of the wind in the skin. Lucky for me I got to go on a journey to the highest motorable road on a Government bus which just had me and my kind with a familiar driver and conductor, a trip of 5 precisely. Komic is located at an altitude of 4900m and is the highest village with road access in the world. It is a typical Spitian village with houses looking like matchboxes and very few tents for the extra enthusiastic lot of people.  There is a huge field wherein a warm morning when the sun kisses your flesh, simply sitting and meditating is all the body needs.

The highest village

The Komic village

Building just a road was definitely not enough. So Komek is also the proud village with the highest café in the world which serves you foremost real hot beverages which one needs at that high altitude. Then it has a multiple-choice between Indian, Tibetan and Continental dishes. This very café has recently started a homestay for people to not just come and have a warm sip of Ginger-Lemon-Honey tea but also enjoy a cold night stay. On a clear aft-dusk, you can see the Milky Way as clear as the dreams of an astronaut.  Komic does not invite much crowd to itself and with the attitudes of the locals, they seem to enjoy this controlled mass. As they say, the “Top” is not for all, it is a reserved place for few who strive for it.

Highest cafe

Highest homestay

The highest concrete Toilet in the world
This may not be in the books of Records but having witnessed a complete concrete pan toilet was rather satisfying than astonishing. Even in such harsh conditions, the natives have assured their sanitary habits in place. One must enter the toilet just for this experience whether nature’s call knocks the door or not. While many villages located in the plains of India still lack toilet and sanitation, Komek has managed to construct one, maintain one and even let passersby use one without the extra payment.

Highest toilet

The highest Post office in the world
Right below Komek lie another parish named Hikkim. The primary attraction of this tiny village is that it has the highest post office in the world. I, being a person of letters and postcards had a bunch of them prepared to post. Unlike a typical post office, this is actually the house of Rinchin Chetri and his family, the guardians of this ancient temple of communicating to loved ones. A small talk with him revealed that not many come by in the modern days to post letters. Perhaps that is why he was startled to see me sitting outside and write down my notes to family and well-wishers. With a humble voice, he asked me to come inside, and I must admit this is not just the highest post office, it is indeed the most hospitable one I have been to. They served me breakfast and tea by the fireside, enlightened me with so many stories from around the place. Stories of the past, the present and what future of pen and ink may hold!

Highest Post Office

Inside the Post Office

The highest bridge in Asia
On the way to Chicchim, a village famous for nothing at all lies the grand sweat and meat of the Chicchim Bridge, the highest of its kind in Asia. The bridge took over a decade to build and as an old man expressed, he has turned his hair grey over it. When you look below from the bridge it is a straight drop down to the core of the Earth. Pretty scary if someone is the victim of acrophobia or vertigo. The engineering of cutting those massive mountains and building something stable enough for busses for a run is not a child’s play.  This bridge can actually be seen from the last house of Chicchim village, the cars may look like tiny lights passing by but the grandeur of the bridge even from that distance makes you want to respect the achievements of mankind’s technology.

The highest bridge in Asia

Chicchim bridge

This is the perfect example of balance being restored, in the books of Buddhism what is coined as the Ying-Yan. On one hand you have breath-taking views of cosmos at every corner your eyes meet and on the other hand, you have marvellous achievements of human engineering.