What is so enchanting and magical about stargazing that it just elevates your experience to a whole other level of bliss? We may not be able to answer that right away but, spending a few nights in these 8 places across India might get us closer to it. If you’re a stargazer, you’ll know that it is addictive and something that grows on you a little more each day. By Shubhanjana Das
1. Rann of Kutch, Gujarat
The infinite expanse of the white salt marsh in Kutch, Gujarat has long been on the list of stargazers in the country. With no intervention of light and pollution from vehicles, the sky reveals every constellation, every planet and star like a bejewelled bride. Besides the light phenomenon of Chir Bhatti (aka Ghost Lights) 6 magnitude stars are visible even to the naked eye here at Kutch.
2. Shahapur, Maharashtra
Closer to the city, just a few hours away from the Mumbai skyline punctuated by skyscrapers is Shahapur. At Shahapur, after trekking up either Ajja or Mahuli, you will be rewarded with a sky full of stars that no picture can do justice to. The sky tells a hypnotic story in the night, one which every stargazer would want to listen to.
3. Neil Island, Andaman and Nicobar
Feels alert! Imagine the vast expanse of the ocean guarded by the watchful night sky twinkling like India as seen from space during Diwali. Every other thing shies away from the beauty that the skies of Neil island in Andaman and Nicobar is. The sky is not black but a velvet blue, which makes everything look like its straight out of some kind of a fantasy! Get your cameras out, astro photographers.
4. Nubra Valley, Jammu and Kashmir
Is there any known end to the number of breathtaking natural beauties that Jammu and Kashmir boasts of? At night, Nubra Valley’s sky resembles what would’ve been Picasso’s dream had he been alive. With no light and air pollution, there is no distortion at all and what you see when you tilt your head up is what dreams are made of. Starry, starry night indeed.
5. Coorg, Karnataka
Down south, Coorg has one of the most promising stargazing spots in the country. Pack your tent and camping equipment for you wouldn’t want to come back any soon after you have witnessed the Coorg night sky. Set your camera up for a time-lapse and enjoy staring endlessly at the starry sky while taking in the invigorating smell of the coffee beans from the nearby plantations.
6. Yumthang Valley, Sikkim
The North-Eastern part of India is a jewel waiting to be shown off. Sikkim’s Yumthang valley not only boasts of rhododendron blossoms during spring but also unbelievably starry skies, every single night. At that altitude, there is nothing that can obstruct the view and stop you from spotting constellations.
7. Taregna, Bihar
The place whose name literally translates to ‘Counting Stars’ cannot be missing from the list, can it? In Bihar, you can find the pace where even Aryabhatta spent uncountable nights staring at stars, possibly trying to unveil some kind of mystery. It is one of the lesser known stargazing spots in India.
8. Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
Getting back to where we started this list — the desert. There’s something that calls you back to Jaisalmer and its sand dunes. The mystery of the night sky as seen from the desert will remain unparalleled. When you take the safari through Jaisalmer, spend a night in the middle of the desert in a camp and you will come back a new person. Certainly one who is addicted to stargazing.