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With the temperatures reaching a record high in Delhi today, Delhiites would surely be hoping for winters to come soon. And not just Delhi, things may be similar in cities across the nation. However, I assure you, after seeing what life during winters in Oymyakon – the coldest inhabited place in the world – looks like, you will hope that the winters to never arrive.

The rural locality, located along the Indigirka River in the federal state of Sakha Republic in Russia, is a part of Arctic Tundra region. Oymyakon is ranked as the coldest inhabited village on Earth in a list that features many other regions of northern Russia, Greenland, Alaska, Sweden, Finland, and Canada.

Let us now take a photo tour of the village of Oymyakon, as seen in the winter season. Be prepared! These pictures might make you freeze in your very seats.

1. The temperatures fall down to over 50 degrees below the zero mark.

A weather specialist showing the low temperature in Oymyakon during winters

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The coldest inhabited place on Earth is the Siberian tundra village of Oymyakon where temperatures as low as -72° C have been recorded. Even the average temperatures in winters are as low as -50° C.

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2. And if such be the case, it is only ironic that the town’s name means ‘non-freezing water’.

A snap of the thermal spring in Oymyakon during winters

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In its defence, the town was once only a stopover for reindeer herders because of the thermal spring on outskirts of the present-day town. These herders would water the reindeers from the thermal spring.

3. The ground is always frozen.

The snow-covered Road of Bones in Oymyakon during winters

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The highway leading to the coldest inhabited town goes by the name of ‘The Road of Bones’. Anyone interested in knowing why? Why don’t you go there and ask the locals for yourself!

4. This frozen ground can’t be dug easily here. Hot coals have to be used to thaw it instead.

Roads being thawed using hot coal in Oymyakon in winters

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There seems no respite even after death. Digging the grave, in itself, takes up to three days. Heat generated using hot coals help thaw the snow. Thereafter, the grave is dug and the coffin is buried.

5. And so, most of the toilets are outdoors; making it totally worth holding out for.

An outhouse toilet in Oymyakon snapped during the winter months

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Most toilets in the town are long drops out on the street and not inside the houses. Why? It is because of the difficulty in digging plumbing through the permanently frozen soil. People with small bladder; this place is a strict no-no for you!

6. Perhaps, because of the same reason, there’s no vegetation whatsoever. One has to rely on meat for food.

A local buying an arctic hare from the meat vendors in Oymyakon in winters

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Locals mostly live on a diet of fish and meat of reindeers, arctic hares, & horses. And the only source of calcium and many other crucial micronutrients is deer milk that helps the locals to stay fit. Vegans; I feel sorry for you guys!

7. It is so cold that the houses end up being encrusted in frost.

A house covered in snow flakes in Oymyakon in winters

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The warmer air from inside escapes and freezes on the outsides of the house in the form of puffs.

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8. Cars too end up getting frozen, completely.

Frozen cars on snow-covered streets of Oymyakon in winters

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This makes me wonder if that is why one sees the locals either walking or commuting in buses during winters.

9. To prevent the cars from freezing, their engines need to be kept running.

A local leaving the car engines running as he goes to purchase goods from the general store in Oymyakon during winters

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If not kept running outside, cars must be kept in a heated garage to prevent them from freezing.

10. This means that you might have to visit the petrol pump pretty frequently.

A snap of the petrol pump in Oymyakon during winters

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Would you dare the cold again and again, just to keep your car engine running? I am pretty sure that I wouldn’t.

11. And people have only a few choices for the modes of transport.

-A Soviet-era Uazik van that is the most favored vehicle in Oymyakon during winters

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The Soviet-era Uazik vans are the most favored due to their ability to withstand the cold. Often, even these are equipped with industrial-sized heating fans in the passenger compartment.

12. Not just the cars, but also the entire town has a heating plant.

A snap of the Oymyakon village with a heating plant snapped during winters

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While most cities are trying to push the thermal plants away from the residences, this town ensures that the in-town heating plant is ever running.

Note: Just so that you know, it was so cold that the photographer’s thumb nearly froze while taking the photograph of the town’s heating plant at dusk.

13. When the locals say that the “Winter is coming”, they can really relate it to the White Walkers.

Snow-covered statues on the streets of Oymyakon in winters

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Well, at least the statues in the Yakutsk Park commemorating World War II resemble the humanoid ice creatures from the Game of Thrones.

14. The locals, clad in thick layers of clothing, do not look very different either.

A cow-herder poses with his cows in Oymyakon in winters

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The locals are hardened to this weather. And life goes on and on even in the coldest of temperatures.

15. While schools in the hotter countries would shut down at the slightest drop in temperature, it is much different here.

A young girl clad in thick wollens waiting for a school bus in Oymyakon during winters

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There is just one school in the town. This too shuts down if and when the temperatures fall below -52° C.

16. Just like the students, seniors and elders too do not deviate from their routine.

A woman bears the cold of Oymyakon in winters to visit a cathedral

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The chapel would be open even in the coldest of temperatures. People would still go to work. And none would complain, despite the hardships.

17. And all this happens even when life here can give you a cold feet; quite literally.

Snow-covered shoes hanging outside a house in Oymyakon in winters

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And that is why you need to be wearing winter boots and thick layers of clothes at all times. Lest, the town in the Tundra region of Siberia will leave you with a frostbite.

18. But all this can be avoided should you visit this region in the relatively hotter months.

A chart showing the year-round weather conditions in Oymyakon

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Yes! Regardless of how cold it might be in winters, the summers are very much bearable. In fact, June to July is the best time to visit Oymyakon. The sun hardly sets and one can enjoy winter sports like skiing, ice-skating, & dog sledding under temperatures permitting outdoor human life.

I am already shivering. Aren’t you? But should you dare to plan a visit to the coldest inhabited place in the world, this travel story of the Indian woman – who went on a road trip to Oymyakon – would be of great help.

Further Read: First Indian To Travel Coldest Inhabited Place In The World

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