Reaching for the stars: India to set up first Night Sky Sanctuary in Ladakh
India's first-ever Dark Night Sky Reserve in Ladakh will have powerful telescopes making it possible for tourists and scientists to see the world of stars and study moving galaxies.
Ladakh, Dec 05: Ladakh, often known as the roof of the world due to its high plateau, is a much favored destination for star gazers and astronomy students as well as scientists. Keeping this in mind, the Department of Science and Technology has come up with a unique and first-of-its-kind initiative under which it plans to set up India's first-ever Dark Night Sky Reserve in Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary region of Ladakh. Under this ambitious project of astro tourism, 18 powerful telescopes will be installed in Hanlee for stargazing.
According to reports, the Ladakh administration has also distributed 18 telescopes to the trained youths of Hanle village.
Located 4500 meters above sea level, it is believed that as soon as the telescope is established in Hanle village, scientists as well as tourists will be able to see the world of stars and moving galaxies.
Apart from installing telescopes at 18 places, the Ladakh administration is also planning to set up mobile and permanent planetariums. Meanwhile, Leh Hill Council CEC Tashi Gyaltson and MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal have convinced the Hanle villagers about the economic development through Home stay services and new avenues in tourism. LG Mathur has already instructed the authorities concerned to get affiliation with International Dark Sky Association and Star Light Foundation for Hanle Dark Sky Sanctuary.
Boost to Astro tourism in India:
The Night Sky sanctuary will boost Astro tourism in India and will be one of the world's highest-located sites for optical, infrared, and gamma-ray telescopes. Science and Technology Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh had earlier said that a tripartite MoU was signed in June this year among the the UT administration, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council LAHDC Leh and the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, IIA, for launching the Dark Space Reserve. He said, the site will have activities to help in boosting local tourism and the economy through interventions of Science and Technology.
Singh further said, a high-level delegation of scientists and officials from Central Leather Research Institute, Chennai will visit Ladakh by the end of this year to explore the possibility of setting up a regional branch of CLRI.
Ladakh has a very rich and wide variety of animals for leather research and industry and to promote the bio-economy of animal skin-derived products. He also complimented CSIR for organising 4 training workshops, two each at Leh and Kargil for the treatment of diseases of famous Pashmina Goats.
Ladakh Administration has taken a decision to start the commercial plantation of Leh Berry. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research CSIR is promoting Leh Berry which is an exclusive food product of the cold desert and also a means of wide-ranging entrepreneurship as well as self-livelihood.