Sikhs at the North Pole

On 15th July at 11.57 pm three Sikhs reached the North Pole aboard Nuclear Ice Breaker "50 Years of Victory"

On 15th July at 11:57 pm three Sikhs reached the North Pole aboard the Russian nuclear ice breaker "50 Years of Victory "

"T50 Lyet Pobyedi" (50 years of Victory) is the latest icebreaker of the Russian Navy and every summer it takes two voyages with private passengers to the North Pole

It is an Arktika-class icebreaker and has a double hull, with the outer hull being approximately 48 mm thick at the ice-breaking areas and 25 mm thick elsewhere. There is water ballast between the inner and outer hulls which can be shifted to aid icebreaking. Icebreaking is also assisted by an air bubbling system which can deliver 24 m³/s of water from jets 9 m below the surface. The ship has a polymer coated hulls to reduce friction. Arktika-class ships can break ice while making way either forwards or backwards. These ships must cruise in cold water, in order to cool their reactors. As a result, they cannot pass through the tropics to undertake voyages in the Southern Hemisphere. Although they have two reactors, normally only one is used to provide power, with the other being maintained in a standby mode.

This is first time ever for Sikhs to reach the North Pole. It is also the first for an Indian living in India as earlier only one Indian living in Europe travelled last year to the North Pole. Sardar Gurpreet Singh Anand and Sardarni Gurmeet Kaur Anand are from Delhi and the third Sikh on board, Arvindar Pal Singh Bahal is from Boston and has been living in USA for the last 38 years.

A total of 128 passengers from 24 countries sailed on the Russian Nuclear Powered Ice Breaker from the Russian Port of Murmansk on 10th July 2009.The ship is part of the regular Russian Nuclear Fleet and in summer takes passengers through the US based company Quark Expeditions to the North Pole .

After cutting through the frozen Arctic Ocean, the Ice breaker reached the North Pole at 90 degrees North at 11:57 pm on 15th July 2009. On arrival all the passengers made a circle with their hands joined symbolising world peace circling the North Pole Banner planted in the frozen ice.This was a proud moment for India when for the first time four people living in India landed at the pole and proudly held the Indian flag. Mr. and Mrs Badri from Mumbai and Sardarni and Sardar Gurpreet Singh Anand from India carried the flag.

Also on board carrying the Indian flag was Sardar Arvinder Singh Bahal from Boston USA and Dr Rao from Las Vegas. Dr Rama and his wife Pat Jaeger joined in taking pictures on this momentous occasion. It was a great moment of pride for us being first civilian citizens of India to ever have reached the North Pole and first time Sikhs carried the Indian Tri-colour.

All three Sikhs have been to both poles of the earth.The South Pole (Antarctica;) the North Pole and also the Everest Base Camp (Not the summit of the Everest.) Only around 300 persons all told have been to both the poles and is not known to us how many fewer have been to Everest base camp as well.

On 20th July during the voyage, Sardar Arvinder Singh Bahal gave a demonstration of how to tie a turban to the crew and passengers. Sardar Gurpreet Singh Anand explained to the passengers the importance of the Turban in a Sikh's life along with its history and answered questions from those assembled.


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