Stargaze your way for a glimpse into heaven from Land of Gods

People interested in planets and constellations travel around the world to fulfill their desires

A clear night sky filled with hundreds of twinkling stars is one of the most beautiful, romantic, serene and calming things in life. Since time immemorial, humans have always been fascinated with stars and galaxies in all its magical glory on a clear night sky. In the quest to capture beautiful pictures of the sky with their cameras, people interested in planets and constellations travel around the world to fulfill their desires. Uttarakhand’s small hill stations, known for their pristine lakes, scenic spots and adventurous activities, are now offering travellers an out-of-this-world experience by providing glimpses of eclipses, meteor showers, moon craters and binary stars.

Astro Tourism means nature based tourism that involves stargazing. It's a way to forge a connection with nature in pristine locations. Uttrakhand Tourism's seamless Astro tourism provides such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to world tourists. With clean cities, well-covered street lights and dipper lights, as also judicious use of light and electricity by households, star-gazing opportunities are maximized here. The state has opened observatories in unexplored places away from the dust & pollution of civilization where tourists can have a majestic view of the sky and can locate stars, planets, constellations, the milky way galaxy and other astrological phenomena. To preserve the ecology of these places, no new construction is being allowed here. Scientifically, it's extremely important to open astro-gazing centers at remote locations. Whether it's local or international tourists, none of them will rest easy if they aren't able to indulge their senses to observe the stars if there's dust, smoke or light pollution, or even the formation of gas clouds all of which might cover the night sky and prevent star gazing.

A few spots in the state offering uninterrupted views of a star-studded sky include Gurson Bugyal (near Auli), Jeolikot (near Bhowali), Kedarkantha (Uttarkashi district), Munsiyari (Pithoragarh district), Majhkhali (near Ranikhet), and Chakrata. Local Tour operators provide camping facilities for astro tourists.

Benital in Uttarakhand is famously known as the Astro village of India. Situated at an altitude of 2,600 meters above sea level & surrounded by two mountain ranges, the area is rich in biodiversity and teeming with mountain goats, leopards and macaques. Large observatories and telescopes are installed at the topmost elevation of Benital.  A night sky sanctuary is in the pipeline too. The place is merely 6 km from the Adi Badri pilgrimage site. In Dec 2021, an Astro tourism party was organized in Benital and more than 250 astro tourists arrived in Benital for this two-day astro tourism event. Bhimtal near Nainital is another Astro town situated at an altitude of 1,500 meter high. It's just 23 kilometers from Kathgodam railroad. Footfalls at Bhimtal Observatory are increasing by the day.

Then, there's also Kausani, a block in Kumaon district of Bageshwar, situated at an altitude of 1,900 metres above sea level. It lies on NH 24. The Kausani Observatory has worked out exceedingly well and has grown organically and purely by word of mouth to become a chief destination in the district. People from near & far come over to visit the place impulsively.

In one of the tweets, UTDB mentioned "Filled with lush coniferous forests, magnificent meadows, and the majestic glaciers, the Gangotri National Park is a glimpse of heaven on earth and the skies here offer a glimpse into the great beyond through its blanket of twinkling stars that leave one enchanted here." In another Tweet UTDB recently wrote about another such unspoiled location, "Close to Tanakpur and Kathgodam, Khaliya Top, Munsiyari is a treat for ardent star gazers. Munsiyari is located in a zero light pollution area making it perfect for unbelievable  night sky experiences."

Astro-tourism is a fun activity that appeals to people of all ages. In the coming years, Astro-tourism will flourish as a popular tourist activity.


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