Jammu Kashmir is often credited as the crown to India's glory. However, one of the most exciting and astonishing facts about the Himalayan state is that it boasts of the world's only floating post office delivering letters to people for over 200 years now. In Dal Lake, amidst the snow-clad mountains of the Himalayan range, floats a large houseboat that provides postal service to the local public. The architectural marvel is only one-of-its-kind, in the country and in the world. At first glance, the boat would appear like any other Shikara in the lake; however, upon looking closely, one can quickly locate the red and yellow symbol of India Post.
200-Year-Old Post Office
The houseboat post office provides all services like any other post office. However, the officials make sure to leave a mark on all the letters that pass through the boat by putting a special seal of a shikara along with a boatman. Zee News quoted Farooq Ahmed, the postmaster of the floating post office, saying, "This is a 200-year-old post office from even before the Maharaja's time to British Era. It was finally called a floating post office. There is no change in the number of posts sent across". When the tourist season is on, the employees do not have time to talk to each other. Further, he added that thousands of people come to take pictures in the floating post office. Moreover, tourists can buy special covers, postcards and stamps from the office. The Postman hires a shikhara and delivers the letter to houseboats. This has been going on for years and continues".
Time-Consuming, Yet Charming Process Of Delivering Letters
Several postmen have been delivering letters to people living on the lake. Even though the entire procedure of visiting every houseboat for delivering letters is time-consuming, the charm of the whole process is what they like the most. Moreover, the locals often say that the age of social media has heavily reduced sending and receiving of letters. The floating post office continues to preserve old stamps, and it has also converted a room into a museum, which got destroyed in the floods of 2014.
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