Stamps of India: Article of the Month - June 2012

Inauguration of India's new Antarctic Station 'Bharati'

by Abhai Mishra & Bhagwati Prasad

Dakshin Gangotri

India's first research station in Antarctica was “Dakshin Gangotri” (1983) which has been decommissioned after it got buried under ice and has now been marked as an historic site.


“Maitri”, the second Indian station has been hosting summer team of about 40 members and winter team of 25 members every year since 1988‐89. It is the gateway for Indian scientists to venture into interior Antarctic mountains.

Bharati Station

The newly built third station “Bharati” is situated at an unnamed promontory of land between the Strornes and Broknes peninsulas in the Larsemann Hills region of East Antarctica. The natural topography is a rocky granite hill towering approximately 90 meters above sea level. The placement of the new research station was based on a location that would minimise the amount of snow drifting, minimise the need for extensive site modification and provide the best access to the sea and sea ice. The new station is located almost 3,000 km away from the existing “Maitri” station which has been serving the nation since its inception in 1988-89.

First Wintering team at Bharati Station

Australia, Asia, Africa, South America and India were once part of a super‐continent called
Gondwanaland where the present day east coast of India shared a common border with the eastern
shores of Antarctica. Indian polar scientists want to put this theory to test by examining rocks in river
basins in the Indian subcontinent and minerals in the glaciers around the Larsemann Hills. The
government has allocated Rs 2900 million in the Union Budget 2012-13 for polar sciences and
cryosphere, which covers research activities at Antarctica, Arctic and glaciers of Himalayas.

Cover cancelled at Maitri dated 26 Jan 2012. It bears cachet of 18 MAR
2012, inauguration of Bharati station and signed by the leader of first
wintering team, Dr Rupesh M Das.

The research station was opened on March 18, 2012 and at present 15 members are doing wintering in the newly built station. According to Rajesh Asthana, voyage leader of the expedition the research station would address the growing urge in the Indian scientific community for exploring deeper and wider areas of Antarctica for better understanding of the vast continent. In fact India has done a soft launch of its third research station in Antarctica's Larsemann Hills region, considered as one of the few geological windows into the history of the continent.

Cover posted from DAVIS station (Australia) on 13 Mar 2012 which is near to
Bharati station and came to India via Hobart date stamped (18 Apr 2012).

According to Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, the station is being run on trial basis after the completion of its construction and the winter team is carrying out tests on various equipment and systems. The formal launch of the research station Bharati is expected in November when it is summer time in the icy continent.

Earlier “Dakshin Gangotri” and present “Maitri” station had post office under the aegis of North Goa
Postal Division. Normally the mails were serviced at these post offices and used to be returned back
once in a year. The coordinating agency of the Indian Antarctic Expeditions, National Center for
Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) is situated at Vasco, Goa only. NCAOR has been requested for having a post office at Bharati station also. It is hoped that the new station Bharati will also have a post office.

# Bhagwati Prasad is member of first wintering team at Bharati station

Version 1.0, First published in Issue # 533 of Jul 26, 2012 of the Stamps of India Collectors Companion
Version 1.1, July 27, 2012, with images published on


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