Leh, India is a town on the fringe of modern civilization surrounded on all sides by the massive Himalaya mountain range and dotted with 17th-century palaces and monasteries. Fresh air and stunning views are in abundance, but some everyday goods can be nearly impossible to come by.

“We are cut off from the rest of the country,” said Sonam Chunzin, a lifelong resident of the Ladakh region. Ladakh, which is also the local language, translates to “land of high passes.”

A motorcycle drives along  winding roads.
A Buddhist monk in glasses and maroon-colored robes accepts an Amazon package from a uniformed delivery associate. The associate stands at street level and is flanked by a colorful mural. The monk stands in a doorway on the second of three steps that lead into the building behind him.
Some of Amazon's regular customers in Leh, India are monks who live in mountaintop monasteries.
A smiling man in an Amazon delivery uniform carries a package up a staircase of at least 100 stairs that snakes along a hillside up from a road below. Trees and buildings are in the background of the image.
In Leh, the walk from road to doorstep can be long.
Four men in uniforms with Amazon logos stand around a table. One man carries a large plastic bag. Another man shakes an empty plastic bag in preparation for leading it. Bins and packages are on the floor at the right side of the image.
Sorting packages for delivery in Leh, India.
On a dirt road, one man sits on a motorcycle, and two men sit on motor scooters. All three men wear helmets, backpacks, and uniforms. They appear to be preparing to ride away.
Associates head out with backpacks full of packages for Amazon customers. They are Leh, India locals who don't need maps to find their way on their delivery routes.
A motorcyclist rides on an asphalt road. Behind him, the road curves to the right and disappears from view. In the background a tan rock formation rises up from the road.
This mountain road is blocked by snow and frequent rockslides for months each year.
A helmeted motorcyclist wears a large black backpack with the Amazon smile logo. Snow-capped mountain peaks are in the background of the image.
Even during summer, snow-capped peaks ring this high mountain town.
A motorcyclist wearing a large black backpack and an Amazon delivery uniform stands astride a motorcycle on a dirt road. He looks down and checks his smartphone. Two cows are in the background of the image.
Cows are a frequent roadside sight on Incredible Himalaya's delivery routes.
Paczki z Amazon w Lehu przebywają różnorodne tereny: począwszy od nizin, a kończąc na wymyślnych górskich przełęczach.
Paczki z Amazon w Lehu przebywają różnorodne tereny: począwszy od nizin, a kończąc na wymyślnych górskich przełęczach.
Under a bright blue sky and colorful prayer flags, multi-story buildings with shops are photographed on facing sides of a street. Domed structures and snow-capped mountains are in the background.
Central shopping district in Leh, India.

The town sits at an elevation of roughly 11,500 feet and supplemental oxygen tanks are offered in some local hotels in the same way a visitor might ask for a spare toothbrush down at sea level. There are two roadways into town — each offering a windy and at times treacherous mountain journey — that are blocked by snow and closed several months a year. There is no train service, but there is a small commercial airport.

Due to the location, altitude, and difficulty finding a safe way in and out, the local bazaar has traditionally been the only way to buy things. For fresh produce, the region’s famous pashmina wool, and other basic products, residents say that’s just fine. But limited selection can be a serious issue for people seeking even the most ordinary household goods.

“If you wanted to buy something for some occasion, or if it’s a specialty item like a part for your bike, you have to ask someone ‘please bring that item for me from Delhi,’ and then you have to wait,” said Chunzin. Delhi, India is a commercial airline flight away.

"We have become family"

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In 2017, Amazon set up its own delivery service in Leh by contracting with a local adventure guide company to make deliveries throughout the rugged mountain town — making it the company’s highest elevation delivery route. For townspeople, basic things which once seemed extremely difficult to get are now easily available, and they say this faraway place feels a lot more connected.

“My wife is eight months pregnant and we were looking for this pregnancy pillow. We couldn't find it in the whole Leh city,” said Sonam Rinchen, who runs Amazon’s small but mighty delivery station in Leh. “Through Amazon, we got the pregnancy pillow within two, three days.”

Some of the delivery routes aren’t on a map, and Amazon has relied on the local knowledge of the delivery people who grew up in the area to find customers’ homes. The routes not only involve high mountain passes and occasional rock slides, but rough, primitive roads and sporadic traffic jams caused by free-roaming cattle and donkeys. Rinchen said his team of drivers love the new opportunity and have made surprising connections with people along the way.

Twenty-five-year-old Urgyen Dolma, a self-described “shopaholic,” said the Amazon delivery drivers who arrive on motorcycles are some of her favorite new friends.

“We have become family. You get to know the delivery guy. Everything becomes personal,” she said.

Despite the new convenience, Leh, a traditional trade route between Tibet and Kashmir dating back centuries, hasn’t much changed and the local market remains the town’s heart. But for residents, the little things just got a lot easier, and they say they’re thankful to have a connection to the rest of the world that once seemed so distant.

“With Amazon, we can get anything you wish to have in your house. It’s perfect,” said Chunzin, who just got her two-year-old a special birthday dress, delivered right to her door.