Night sky astro tourism is on the rise, and Rajasthan offers a series of breathtaking off-the-grid locations to experience the unparalleled beauty of our galaxy.
Experiencing the solar and lunar eclipses, chasing meteor showers, gazing at the twinkling galaxies far, far away — what’s there not to love about the hottest emerging trend of night sky astro tourism? Travellers today are looking beyond the earthly realm and into outer space for their holidays. Cloud-free, dark skies make these celestial wonders all the more alluring, and Rajasthan is the perfect destination to experience it all.
All you need to know about the night sky astro tourism in Rajasthan
It has now officially become the first state in India to officially launch night sky astro tourism in all of its 33 districts. The royal capital city of Jaipur itself will have four famous star-gazing venues including Jantar-Mantar, Amer Fort, University of Maharaja, and Jawahar Kala Kendra.
Mugdha Sinha, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology for Rajasthan, said that the novel idea was conceptualised during the lockdown when the fear of COVID-19 had packed people inside their homes, and a number of interesting astronomical events were taking place in the sky.
“Inquisitive, I thought of watching them and hence got a telescope. There was a lot of news about the Great Conjunction and Saturn, and I watched it. Later, we organised a star-gazing session in 2021 to help people venture outdoors. The officials were also quite excited. Then the decision to launch it for the public was taken on January 21, 2021, and it was quite a hit,” informs a proud Sinha.
Soon, recommendations started pouring in from officials of distant districts for potential sky-gazing venues, and the idea was accepted by the chief minister of the state, Ashok Gehlot, who finally announced the introduction of night sky astro tourism in all 33 districts earlier last week.
The country’s first astro-resort, Astroport Sariska located in Alwar district, not only focusses on astro tourism but also on education of astronomy and space science. Besides Rajasthan, the Bikaner House in New Delhi has also been picked as a hub for astro tourism, and a telescope will be installed for tourists for sky-watching. Places like Ladakh’s Hanle village and Uttarakhand’s Chamoli and Kausani have also been attracting astro-photographers and sky-gazers for a quite some time now.