Hanle Village in Ladakh soon to be declared as a ‘dark sky sanctuary’

Home to one of the world’s highest astronomical observatories, it will promote astro-tourism.
Prabhjit s. Kalsi
The magical night sky of Ladakh is perfect for stargazing. Image: Shutterstock/Prabhjit S Kalsi.

Located by the banks of Hanle River on the ancient Ladakh-Tibet trade route, Hanle village will soon be declared as a dark sky sanctuary. The Union Territory’s administration announced the same, in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, to promote astro-tourism in the region.

Pawan Kotwal, Principal Secretary, Planning, Development, and Monitoring Department, Ladakh, made the announcement during a meeting convened to discuss the streamlining of certain activities in the protected and wildlife areas. The Indian army has promised to extend its assistance for the development of the sanctuary. A dark sky sanctuary aims at promoting proper illumination as and when needed, without wasting energy or polluting other areas, especially the night sky.

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Anupam g
Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Hanle, Ladakh. Image: Shutterstock/Anupam G.

Other than being one of the highest astronomical sanctuaries in the world located at an altitude of 4,500 meters, Hanle is also home to the site of the 17th-century eponymous monastery of the Drukpa Kagyu branch of Tibetan Buddhism. The picturesque Ladakh village is famous for stargazing, thanks to its magical night sky always illuminated by countless stars.

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