Space outside the human living capacity has always been one of the greatest mysteries of our lives. We start by being toddlers that stare into open space, mouths and ears open to absorb everything and anything. We ask our parents questions for which answers they cannot create. Not more than their imagination takes them. School teaches us innumerable names, and we excite ourselves and others by adding to the seemingly vast knowledge we have gained. We live on to being young lovers who lie on grassy hilltops staring at those magical twinkling beauties. We kiss under the stars and live on to become the wiser ones who know a little more of the pieces in the jigsaw by being able to name the more than a few constellations right, and by being able to understand what all these sci-fi movies are constantly trying to put across. Those who can, will throw their imagination in the right places and trying to give a face to what the unknown may be. (Speaking of all the movies we know). But we never know enough. And the outer space in all its notoriety continually reminds us of how tiny we are. How insignificant in its comparison.
Here is the list of 26 Stargazing In India: Top Places For The Space Enthusiasts
Known For : Bactarian camel safari | Panamik village | Yarab Tso, Sumur
Ladakh is one of the best places for stargazing in India. Fulfill your stargazing dreams with unparalleled views of the night sky at Nubra Valley, Ladakh. Your mornings filled with mesmerizing lakes and beautiful landscapes, and your nights filled with glittery skies.
Best Time : June to September
The great Rann of Kutch is the largest salt marsh in the world. Here, one can experience a strange light phenomenon known as Chir Bhatti (Ghost lights) as well as beautiful views of the night sky. A lot of visual astronomy and astrophotography is possible from here, and most who have visited say that they can see nearly 6 magnitude stars with the naked eye.
Mandarmani, also a lesser known spot for stargazing is known as one of the most romantic night skies in India. Around Mahalya (New moon)is the best time to watch the night sky with almost zero pollution, making it a place for stargazing in India.
A popular district in Maharashtra for trekking with places like Ajja and Mahuli continuously being the place to hit for trekkers, Shahapur is also a beautiful star gazing destination.
Known For : Abbey Falls | Talacauvery | Golden Temple (Namdroling Monastery)
Coorg, a popular place for honeymooners and people who want a quick and beautiful break also has a beautiful nightlife- in the sense of the life that’s blown into the skies by the stars in the night time. It provides for a romantic night in the jungle with only the stars to keep one company. Definitely a place worth visiting for stargazing in India.
Best Time : October to March
Known For : Thajiwas Glacier | Zoji-La Pass | Vishansar Lake
Sonamarg, meaning meadow of Gold has snowy mountains with a backdrop of a cerulean sky. A sky so clear that by night time campers lie dazed under the stars that look like they have come out just to sparkle for Sonamarg and its guests.
Best Time : May to October
Known For : Chandratal Lake | Key Monastery | Kunzum Pass
Spiti is considered to be a paradise for all stargazers. The crystal clear views of the skies makes it one of the perfect places for stargazing in India. Kibber town in Spiti Valley is considered the highest motorable village in the World. Elevated at 14000 feet, it is the ideal spot for stargazing and is considered a location that stands out amongst all others.
Best Time : Mid May to Mid Oct
One of Andaman and Nicobar’s 572 islands, the Neil island is lit up with stars by evening, and its lush forests provide ample wind to caress your cheeks as you lie on its clean and beautiful beaches. There’s so much blue here, and the sky is smeared with stars for miles and miles as far as you can see or attempt to see. Carry a telescope to fulfil your experience.
Pangong Tso, Tibetan for Narrow Lake is a landlocked river basin that is a commonplace of choice for Bollywood dance sequences, including that of King Khan! Pangong Tso can easily boast of being one of the prettiest lit skies in the country in whatever season, the starry skies painted with a mountainous background which is even more beautiful to gaze at in the winters- covered in snow.
A place where Aryabhatta spent a lot of time counting stars, Taregna literally translates to ‘Counting stars.’ A lesser known spot to go about exploring space beyond us.
Known For : Killiyur Falls | Emerald Lake, Yercaud | Bear's Cave
One of the underrated hill stations in India, Yercaud in the south too offers beautiful opportunities for stargazing in India. Adorned by trees on all sides, it is called the Jewel of the South, maybe because of the strings of stars that appear in the night time.
Best Time : October to June
The Curzon trail, as Kuari pass is popularly known is home to five rivers. It offers a spectacular view of the Himalayas both in time of the sun and the moon. At night time, the peaks of the Himalayas are accentuated leaving the trekker breathless even in his rest time.
More known for its Flora, Fauna, and safaris, Dasada in the night time also becomes an astronomical enthusiast's loveliest memory. The stars and the canopy of trees all welcoming you into their realm.
The Hatu peak in the Narkanda region in India should be a must-have on your itinerary if you ever happen to be by this place. The peak itself is lesser known and requires one to travel by rocky roads. The mountainous region with the stars stretched out above you leave for a picture that stays blissfully in your mind for a long, long time.
It’s banks serving as a camp site for Fort Rajmachi, Shirota is a convenient spot for stargazing both in terms of its closeness to Mumbai and Pune but as well as its thick forest cover and beautiful bankside. An offbeat location and free from the pollution, it’s an ideal place for stargazing in India.
Known For : Desert Safari in Jaisalmer | Jaisalmer Fort | Gadisar Lake
Stargazing in a desert is always special. Undisturbed by any concrete obstruction. Next time request a safari that stays the night in the desert as well, you will not regret it.
Best Time : October to March
Lesser known among those who enjoy stargazing even, The Sunderbans offer not only clear skies for stargazing with shooting stars said to be spotted every 10 minutes, but also water containing bioluminescent bacteria which gives the water a unique glow. Some say you will feel like you are under the sky as well as sailing over it. Magical.
Best Time : September to March
Known For : Eco Cave Gardens | Naini Lake | Naina Devi Temple
The largest telescope in India is a part of the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (also known as ARIES), at Manora peak, 9 kilometres from Nainital- a favourite hill station in Uttarakhand. It is an autonomous institution under the Department of Science and Technology of the government of India. Although open to the public at day time on all days, special permission is required in advance for night viewing. ARIES has in-house workshops and is known for its extremely well-maintained library that houses over 10,000 volumes of research journals and an impeccable collection of books on Astronomy, Astrophysics and the Atmospheric Sciences. Fun fact: A great place for both children as well as adults, through the telescope at ARIES the rings of Jupiter can be seen.
Best Time : Throughout the year
Known For : Pangong Lake | Magnetic Hill | Leh Palace
The Indian Astronomical Observatory in Leh-Ladakh operated by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore has one of the world’s highest sites for optical, infrared and gamma-ray telescopes. Situated at an elevation of 4,500 meters (14,764 feet ), it is currently the second highest observatory in the world. Also called the Hanle site, this observatory is deemed to be excellent for visible, infrared and sub-millimeter observations throughout the year. It has two telescopes, namely the Himalayan Chandra telescope and the High altitude Gamma-ray telescope. The observatory is at a 10-hour drive from Leh, the district capital of Ladakh and is close to the Chinese border.
Best Time : Jun to Sep
Built by the Rajput king Sawai Jai Singh II and completed in 1738 CE, the Jantar Mantar at Jaipur is one among the five in India. These ancient astronomical instruments are situated in New Delhi, Varanasi, Mathura, and Ujjain other than in Jaipur. The one at Jaipur is the largest among the five. The entire structure is a collection of instruments that can be used to observe astronomical positions with the naked eye. The observatory is an example of the Ptolemaic positional astronomy which was shared by many civilizations. All the five Jantar mantars are worth the visit, but only if you read up on them earlier before you go.
The largest planetarium in Asia and the second largest planetarium in the world, the Birla planetarium at Kolkata is most known for its design -which resembles a Buddhist stupa and for its interactive session of learning. It offers to the public and students more than 100 astronomical projects dealing with various facts of astronomy, astrophysics, Space Science as well as myths concerning stars and planets.
The Nehru planetarium is as much of rage now as it was earlier when I was a child. Children of all ages used to love coming to the town side in Mumbai and visit the planetarium and science center. The planetarium is extremely child-friendly and has brilliant shows, especially at its Sky theatre (as shown in the picture). The idea behind creating such a center itself was to create a scientific temper using science and entertainment. At the center, learning takes place un various ways- You can come here for astronomical study, come to attend lectures by scientists and scholars, attend quiz shows, Astro-painting, Science elocution, Astro-poetry, and Astro-quiz competitions. Special arrangements are made to watch, study and photograph Solar & Lunar eclipses, and many such other events. Telescopes are installed outside the Planetarium to enable eager visitors to watch these phenomena.
The Aerospace museum maintained by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in Bangalore is well known for its educative and engaging environment for all kinds of people; specifically teens and adults. It is open from 9 am to 5 pm on all days and is a visual treat for people who would like to find out about all that the Indian company has achieved in the Aerospace industry. The museum houses a large number of aircraft and helicopters, simulators, a mock control tower and much more that unravels the history and development of the Aviation industry. Visiting this place is a must in Bangalore on a visit for both veteran enthusiasts and the new and learning.
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Stargazing in India: Tips Even though stargazing might seem like a simple thing to do, it is important to plan well in ahead so that you can derive the best out of the place you will be visiting keeping in mind your budget, time and who you will travelling with (Not everyone will be in for a quite night under the stars) Here are a few points to keep in mind before you embark upon your journey to find some truth in the shimmery skies that call you. 1. Do your research: Get well acquainted with the Lunar Calendar, find out the best vantage points and do basic research about what you can find if you look out at the sky in the night.(Movements of comets, stars, names, constellations) 2. Weather and Where to go: Make sure the weather is perfect and the skies are clear, the farther away you are from the city or nearest town, the better. Light can pollute your view. 3. Equipment and protection: Carry equipment and adequate measures to protect the equipment be it snow, dew or sand. 4. Technology: Apps like Google Skymap App can help you locate stars, constellations and the pole star among other things. 5. Other preparation: make sure you carry tents, torches, food, water and medicines among other required things. Checklists always help. Now, you’re all set for your stay at a five billion star hotel. Enjoy!