Is stargazing something you do at night? Do you love to get lost in the immense sea of stars? Then there is no reason you shouldn’t visit India’s first dark sky reserve.
Ladakh is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after destinations for tourists for several reasons. At an altitude of 4,500 from sea level, the breathtaking landscape of the Union Territory is worth the challenging journey. Now, you have one more reason to visit Ladakh. What is it? India’s first dark sky reserve. The first-of-its-kind night sky reserve lies in the remote village of Hanle.
Six small villages Bhok, Punguk, Shado, Naga, Khuldo, and Tibetian Refugee Habitations within the Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary form the entire area of the dark sky reserve. The reserve is spread over 1,073 sq. km around the Indian Astronomical Observatory.
First things first – What is a dark sky reserve?
A dark sky reserve is defined as public or private land covering at least 700 km with an exceptional quality of a nocturnal environment and starry nights. Such areas are protected for their natural, educational, scientific, cultural heritage, and public enjoyment. A dark sky reserve typically includes a 'core' area characterized by a clear sky and minimal light pollution, allowing telescopes to peer into the dark sky, enhancing the enjoyment and ease of observation.
A haven for stargazers
Hanle is a haven for stargazers for a range of reasons. Due to the low atmospheric moisture, it becomes easy to capture sharp images (through naked eyes, a telescope, or a camera) of celestial objects. You can witness the beautiful display of stars, constellations, and other celestial phenomena like meteor showers. The Milky Way is also visible to the naked eye and what a sight it is! Besides observing the night sky, you can tour the reserve during the daytime and explore local gems.
Who can visit Hanle Dark Sky Reserve?
Hanle Dark Sky Reserve is open for everyone throughout the year. However, you must drive for around 300 km from central Ladakh as the reserve lies close to the border. The long drive is worth the view you will be exposed to at Hanle.
The best time to visit
Hanle is attracting astronomy enthusiasts from all over the world and offering them one of the most unique experiences. Although you can always observe the sky at Hanle, the best time to do so is from April to September when there is dry weather and clear skies. There are established homestays for a comfortable visit.
So, what are you waiting for? An awe-inspiring experience awaits you in Hanle.