Staring at the sky looking for the answer to life and intense introspection are deeply connected. There are many things hidden in a dark starry sky like peace, calm and rest. It’s a calling and it’s a need too. It’s time you pack your bags and move to a place where the one task you have over you to do is to rest, relax and look at the stars. Cut the noise and cut the sounds of your cities by travelling to any great location that offers you the best stargazing experience. In this article, we are going to bring light to the best destination for Astronomy in India.
Top Astronomy tourism places in India
|1.||Shaheed Dweep, Andaman and Nicobar|
|2.||Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh|
|3.||Rann of Kutch, Gujarat|
|4.||Nubra Valley, Ladakh|
|5.||Pangong Lake, Ladakh|
Shaheed Dweep, Andaman and Nicobar
A tiny island earlier known as Neil Island is bounded by the Bay of Bengal which makes this place look magical. It’s a part of South Andaman. It’s a major tourist attraction but stays low on the crowd as it’s at the extreme end of India where you can commute only via Air and later by ship. Here you are away from pollution and city noise. In the evening the lighting pollution is non-existent too.
Here you can sit back and watch the stars for as long as you want. The atmosphere is so surreal that you will feel one with nature.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit Shaheed Dweep is in winter between October to February.
Commute: First you need to take a connecting flight to Port Blair. It’s connecting from Kolkata. Later one needs to take a ferry from Port Blaire to Shaheed Dweep. The timing of the ferry from Port Blaire to Shaheed Dweep is 6 AM to 11 AM.
Extra Information: The ferry price is from INR 195 to INR 250 or INR 350 depending on the kind of service you choose.
Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh
It’s time to get surrounded by the valleys that offer you peace and calmness. Spiti is one such place. This beautiful spot is bounded by the Himalayas from all sides. Located in Himachal Pradesh, this place is a well-known spot for astronomy tourism. People come here from all over India. This place is people’s favourite as many come here for the monastery, trekking and to explore the less-known place that Spiti Valley.
Some other great things you can do here are taste the local food, do yak safari, trekking and hiking.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit Spiti is from March to June. At this time the temperature ranges from 0 – 15 degree Celsius.
Commute: There are two routes to reach Spiti, the first one being Lahaul and Spiti. This is separated from Kullu by the Rohtang Pass and Kunzum Pass. This lies on the Manali-Leh highway. This route is suitable as it’s accessible only during summer.
There is another route that is accessible throughout the year, it’s Shimla via Kannur.
Extra Information: Some places you can visit here are Chandratal Lake, Key Monastery, Kunzum Pass, Pin Valley etc.
Rann of Kutch, Gujarat
This grand salt marshland is located in Rann of Kutch. An essential part of Gujarat it is also the favourite destination for people fond of astronomy tourism. This huge expanse is a part of the Thar desert. This magical place is very popular for the optical illusions that it makes as if they are real. This one of its kind region has been featured in various movies too like Ram Leela, Refugee, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam etc. The word Rann means desert. This place is away from the usual city life and a lot of people seek escape here when in search of great astronomic locations.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit Rann of Kutch is October to February. At this time the temperature is slightly more bearable than in summer.
Commute: We would recommend taking a private cab or self-driven car from Ahmedabad. The closest railway station to Rann of Kutch is Bhachau railway station and the closest airport is Kandla Airport.
Extra Information: The Handicrafts of Rann of Kutch are very popular. Make sure you visit and definitely shop for some of them. The collection of handicrafts here is unique and you get to see beautiful embroidery of many styles like Ahir, Banni, Ari and Soof. You also get to see the mirror work here.
Nubra Valley, Ladakh
Nubra Valley is a part of the Ladakh Union territory. It is much known for its astonishing view of the sky and the lights falling from the stars. This is the favourite place of people who love to spot constellations in solace. Many tourists visit this place to camp around and experience the silence they seek within themselves. Nubra Valley is also famous for Bactrian camel rides. These camels are rare because they have two humps and it’s found here in Ladakh. There is also a Diskit monastery that is popular in Nubra Valley.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit the Nubra Valley is June to September. Winters must be avoided as the temperature is unbearable.
Commute: The only way to visit this mesmerising valley is by road. There is no flight or rail connectivity. The nearest airport is Leh Rimponchee. The nearest railway station is Udhampur.
Extra Information: Some of the best activities you can experience in Nubra Valley are visiting Panamik village, Yarab Tso, Sumur, Lachung temple and Hundur monastery
Pangong Lake, Ladakh
A very popular lake especially after the release of 3 idiots. This is the best attraction in Ladakh. The astonishing feature of this lake is that it changes its colour from azure to light blue and then to green and grey.
The silence here is soothing and the best place for tourists who want to lie down under the stars and gaze at them endlessly. The lake supports no aquatic life due to its high salinity. It’s a haven for various migratory birds and ducks like Brahmani ducks and seagulls.
Best time to visit: The best time to visit Pangong Lake is June to September. Winters must be avoided as the temperature is unbearable.
Commute: The only way to visit this mesmerising valley is by road. One can take up a cab and go on a breathtaking road trip to this lake. There is no flight or rail connectivity. The only way to visit this mesmerising valley is by road. There is no flight or rail connectivity. The nearest airport is Leh Rimpochee. The nearest railway station is Udhampur.
Extra Information: The food that you must try while in Ladakh is Thukpa. This is a soupy dish with noodles, Tsampa is a dish made out of barley and Skyu is a heavy pasta dish made with many veggies in it.
If you are satisfied with the list of these best places it’s time you decide and visit one of these destinations soon. There are a few more locations that are popular for astronomy tourism like Coorg in Karnataka, Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, Katao in Sikkim, Roopkund in Uttarakhand, Sonmarg in Jammu and Kashmir etc. So, what are you waiting for pack your bags and get going. Look into nature and feel calm. It’s time to realise how small we and our problems are in front of the mysteries of the universe. It’s time to pay respect to nature and bow down to it by admiring it.
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Which is the best place for stargazing in India?
Spiti Valley, Neil Island, Nubra Valley, Coorg, and Rann of Kutch are some of the best places for stargazing in India.
Where can we see clear skies in India?
Spiti Valley, Neil Island, Nubra Valley, Coorg, Rann of Kutch etc. are some of the best places to admire a clear sky.
What is astronomy tourism?
Astronomy tourism is a destination where no artificial light exists at night. Such tourism is popular so that tourists can experience gazing at clear skies.
Can we see the Milky Way from the naked eye?
Even though the Milky Way is more than 100,000 light years in diameter. The Milky Way can still be seen from Earth with the naked eye from places where there is no air and light pollution.
Where can I see the Milky Way in India?
The Milky Way can be seen in Nubra Valley, Pangong, Sonmarg, Coord and Neil Island.