How would you like be welcomed at a place where people live in very low temperature? It is Sudarvarti Oymyakon, Russia, a village in Siberia. It is called the coldest village on the earth, but people are living there on a permanent basis at freezing temperature. — 71.2 C ( — 98.16F ) recorded in 1924. Also known as ‘Pole Of Cold.’
Photo : Dainik Bhaskar.
The people living there are habitual to live at such a low temperature. There is a single shop in this village populated by 500 residents. These folks are dependent on agriculture and animal husbandry as their livelihood.
A New Zealander photographer Amos Chappel toured this village and shared a few things about the community there. The people over there face challenges that ordinary citizens do not come across in day to day life. You cannot draw water from the taps. You need to keep the vehicles half an hour prior to driving in a heated garage. The cold was so severe that the camera lens could not focus, and the zoom ring had jammed in its position. The mobile phones do not operate at such low temperatures. The pen ink freezes and prevents writing. The glasses get frozen on people faces. Residents’ homes have outside toilets.
The homes in the village still burn wood and coal for their cooking. The villagers do not have most of the modern amenities. The doctors say that there are ample micronutrients in the reindeer and horse meat, therefore hardly any sickness is ever noticed.
The digging of the graves take as long as 72 hours as ground has to be thawed by placing burning coals.
As the villagers remain toughened due to severe winters, the village school closes if the temperature falls below -52 C ( -61.6 F)
Nearby the village is thermal spring water available for the herds. During Soviet time, the place in 1920 & 1930 was a stop over for reindeer herders to water their flocks at the thermal spring.
Although strange the name Oymyakon in Russian Language means ‘Nonfreezing Water’. Daylight duration is 3 hours in winters to 21 hours in summers and summer temperature goes up to 30C ( 86 F). Life goes on at its pace…