Glimpses of life inside North Korea, the world’s most isolated countryhttps://indianexpress.com/photos/picture-gallery-others/glimpses-of-life-inside-north-korea-the-worlds-most-isolated-country-4861657/

Glimpses of life inside North Korea, the world’s most isolated country

The Indian Express visited Pyongyang in North Korea earlier this month for an AFC Cup football match between Bengaluru FC and North Korean military club, 4.25 SC. Mihir Vasavda captures some of the images of the life of people in this reclusive nation under its leader Kim Jong-un.

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The Indian Express visited Pyongyang in North Korea earlier this month for an AFC Cup football match between Bengaluru FC and North Korean military club, 4.25 SC. Mihir Vasavda captures some of the images of the life of people in this reclusive nation under its leader Kim Jong-un. This picture shows a view of the city skyline. Dozens of skyscrapers have mushroomed across Pyongyang, belying the claims that the strong economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations are damaging North Korea’s economic aspirations. (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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Hiding behind the skyscrapers, however, are modest homes that are dark inside. Tourists are not allowed to venture into these areas, with or without their guides. (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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A bridge over the Taedong river. The locals say all the infrastructure in the city is 'self made.' (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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The Soviet-style houses in Pyongyang. Housing, the government guides say, is affordable to the common man. (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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The newly-constructed sky-scrapers on the Ryomyong Street and Mire Street are artistically designed and are on par with any modern city. Most of these apartments are given for free to teachers and researchers. (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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Passenger and goods trains pass the Sunan district of Pyongyang. The country has very limited connectivity to rest of the world. At present, the only ports of entry into North Korea are via Russia and China, making their railway and air networks very crucial from a trade and tourism point of view. (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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Cycle is one of the main modes of transport; not because of fitness reasons because very few Koreans can afford a car. (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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A North Korean man riding a cycle in Pyongyang. (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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When they are not cycling, the people walk. Hundreds of people walk to work every day in Pyongyang and many more use public transport. (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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Public modes of transport in Pyongyang include a tram and metro. The Pyongyang metro station, in fact, also doubles up as a bomb shelter, the locals say. (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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The quality of roads in Pyongyang is good but it deteriorates as you travel into the countryside. Locals cannot take their cars out after 9 pm on a weekday while on weekends, there’s a complete embargo unless they have prior permission from the police. Pyongyang has even tried the odd-even a couple of years ago. But with so few cars on the road, that rule fizzled out. (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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Trawlers are parked on the Taedong River, one of North Korea's biggest rivers. Fishing is among the most important occupations in the country. Fish is also one of the main proteins in the diet. (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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However, the fishermen cannot use or sell their catches directly. According to some locals, it all goes to the government who then decide how it has to be distributed. (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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The colourful tiny kiosks, called Sangjom, sell everything - from light snacks to lunches. However, the best-seller is an Eskimo (an ice-cream) (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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The Grand People's Study House, located in the city centre. This is one of the designated tourist sites and offers a glimpse into Korean literature, which largely focusses on the anecdotal stories and biographies of the Kims apart from their history with the US and Japan. (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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Adjacent to the library is a building with the North Korean flag. It is located at the Kim Il-sung square, where most parades and national celebrations are held. (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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Giant pictures of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il hang on the building of North Korea's main and biggest newspaper, Rodong Sinmun. The media is completely controlled by the regime. Newspapers often carry big pictures of its current leader Kim Jong-un on their front pages.

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The Grand Theatre in Pyongyang, which occasionally shows movies as well. While Chinese movies are most popular, they show Hindi films as well. The last one to be played was Bahubali while Baghban - called Chongwonsa in Korean - is one of the most popular Indian movies.

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The May Day stadium. With a seating capacity of 150,000 it is the biggest stadium in the world. It hosts the national team's football matches, local league games and the famous Mass Games.

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soldier checks his mobile phone while taking a stroll on the Mire Street, also called the Future street, in Pyongyang. There is a huge presence of servicemen on the streets.

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Not just on the streets, they are seen on the posters hanging across the city. The propoganda messages highlight the country's preparedness for war if it comes down to that.

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Fighter jets parked at the Sunan International Airport. It's like any other terminal in the world but on the tarmac, you see more fighter jets parked than commercial flights. (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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Military trucks carrying soldiers pass through Pyongyang a day before the missile that sailed over Japan was launched on September 15. (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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It was business as usual on the streets of Pyongyang hours after the country launched a missile over Japan on September 15. The missile was launched at 6.27am local time (3.27pm IST) and by 9, the locals were already on the way to their offices. (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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Most of the traffic police are women. They are strict and move their necks only in 45-degree angles while looking at different directions. (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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An armyman watches television at the Sunan International Airport. They have only three TV channels in North Korea, all state-run. At the airport and hotel lobby, one of the channels played the images of Kim Jong-un on loop accompanied with revolutionary music. (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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A cop patrols the city's streets. Crime rate is considered to be very low. However, the police has the right to search an individual's house without any notice. Among other things, possessing a South Korean movie CD is considered to be a crime, which can lead to several years of hard labour as punishment. (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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Football is the country's biggest sport, with basketball coming a close second. Although the matches are not shown live, there is a wrap every weekend. This has led to a thriving black market where CDs of Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar are sold for substantial amounts. (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)

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The LED-illuminated buildings across the city go dark every night after 9. Only the Tower of Juche (right) burns bright in the night sky. The red flame is the country’s symbol and guiding principle. Juche, translated as self-reliance, calls for the North Koreans to be the ‘masters of their own destiny.’ (Photo by Mihir Vasavda)