If stargazing is something you look forward to on your trips, things just got bigger and better for you. On your next trip to Rajasthan, you can witness major astronomical events through telescopes set up by Rajasthan’s Department of Science and Technology. Rajasthan has become the first state to introduce night sky Astro tourism in all 33 districts of the state. By Karan Kaushik
Over the last two years, Astro tourism has emerged as a popular travel trend. With the pandemic, international travel had come to a standstill. This led to domestic travellers developing an interest in Astro tourism. Astro tourism enthusiasts now look forward to planning their trips around solar eclipses, meteor showers, and other major celestial events. All they need are all you need are cloud-free, dark skies.
Places like Ladakh’s Hanle village and Uttarakhand’s Chamoli and Kausani have been attracting astrophotographers and sky gazers for a long time now. However, Rajasthan has become the first state to officially launch Astro tourism in all its districts.
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All you need to know about Night Sky Astro Tourism in Rajasthan
The first step towards starting Astro tourism in Rajasthan was taken after the first wave of the pandemic. A Night Sky Tourism project was introduced by the State Department of Art and Culture. The move was aimed at encouraging tourists to explore the night sky using the telescopes set up at Jaipur’s Jawahar Kala Kendra and Jantar Mantar.
In the first phase of the Night Sky Astro Tourism project, telescopes will be installed at four venues in Jaipur. These include Jantar-Mantar, Amber Fort, Maharaja College, and Jawahar Kala Kendra. The State Department of Science and Technology will also set up a telescope at the Bikaner House in New Delhi to facilitate skywatching for tourists.
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It was the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn that happened during the first phase of the pandemic that inspired Mugdha Sinha, Rajasthan’s Department of Science and Technology Secretary to come up with the novel idea. Soon, the department organised stargazing nights at the secretariat and received a great response from government officials. They began stargazing nights for the general public from January 21, 2021. The response was overwhelming, especially from kids who lined up outside the venues from all parts of the state.
The government wishes to keep it free for all and encourage students to inculcate interest in astrophotography and science in general. The events will be planned according to the calendars of the sky. The state also plans to start astrophotography workshops in the future.
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