Home to one of the world’s highest astronomical observatories, it will promote astro-tourism.
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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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.