While it is hard to miss the coveted status of Komik that declares it to be the world’s highest village with a road, life is harsh for the 130 residents. With a backdrop of the snow-capped Himalayas stretched out across a vibrant blue sky, it is hard to dispute the world’s highest village sign as you enter Komik.
Others also boast the title – from Nepal’s Dho Tarap to Bolivia’s Santa Barbara. But at 4,587 metres (15,050 feet), this remote Buddhist hamlet near India’s border with Tibet is no doubt among the planet’s topmost motorable human settlements. Komik is a quaint collection of whitewashed mud-and-stone houses located in the desolate Spiti Valley.
But Spiti’s some 12,000 inhabitants, who eke out a living farming green peas and barley, have a much bigger concern: their main sources of water – streams, rivers, ponds – are drying up.
“We are used to being in a remote place. We have our traditional ways of living,” said farmer Nawang Phunchok, 32, as he sat tying bundles of a prickly desert bush together to insulate the local monastery’s roof.