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Tips and places for a 'starry' vacation

If twinkling stars fascinate you, now is the time to pack your telescopes and head out for some stargazing.

travel Updated: Dec 30, 2014 20:35 IST
Hindustan Times

Once considered a hobby for the discerning few, with experiential travel fast rising up the popularity charts, stargazing is coming up as a must-do vacation activity for many. Here, we give you tips and suggest places for a starry vacation.

In Maharashtra
Tungarli Lake in Lonavala is a great option for people who wish to go on a stargazing trip. The lush green environs and the panoramic view of the surrounding area is an added attraction.

A small town located near Karjat, Vangani is a favourite with people who are interested in stargazing. The clear skies and less pollution makes it a must-go.

A quiet village on the outskirts of Igatpuri, Bhandardara is about 185 km from Mumbai. Known for its beauty and scenic view during the monsoon season, the place is also ideal for stargazing trips as the sky is pollution-free, making it an ideal place to observe constellations.

It is a town in the Buldhana district, and is famous for the Lonar crater. Situated around 550 km from Mumbai, the place has always piqued the interest of people with knowledge and love for astronomy because it is the largest meteor crater site in south-east Asia.

Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Tarkarli in the Sindhudurg district is known for its beautiful beaches and waterfalls. The clear night sky that one can witness here is apt for spotting stars.

Rest of India
Spending a night in the desert of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, is nothing less than an adventure. For stargazers, this unique setting with clear skies and a blanket of stars is an unforgettable experience.

Pangong Tso
It is a lake in the Changthang region of Ladakh. While it gets extremely cold in winter with the lake freezing almost entirely, it is a haven for stargazers with its spellbinding setting and absolutely clear skies.

Spiti Valley
The Kibber village in the Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh, is known as the highest motorable village in the world. Several people visit the place for stargazing owing to the clear expanses of the region.

Neil Island
Neil Island is located 40 km northeast of Port Blair, the capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The pristine beaches, which have low population and very little pollution, give tourists a chance to stargaze.

Overseas options
Aoraki Mt

Cook Located near the town of Twizel in the Southern Island of New Zealand, Mt Cook is far from the city, and therefore, offers dark skies that are considered apt for stargazing. It is part of the Dark Sky Reserve, and hence a perfect place to attract people for astro tourism.

Canary Islands
These islands, located in the Atlantic Ocean, are known as one of the best locations for stargazing, owing to the perfectly clear skies and the favourable climate. Also, with the islands being near the equator, the entire northern hemisphere and parts of the southern hemisphere can be observed from this spot.

Mamalluca Observatory
The northern half of Chile houses the Mamalluca Observatory, where they say that clouds are virtually unknown. With clear skies and a location far away from the lights of the main city, one can see the magic of the shimmering stars here.

The Big Island
This Hawaii island is gradually gaining prominence as a paradise for stargazers. The clear sky that the island offers has become tempting for people interested in this kind of vacation activity.

At Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock, it is a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part of Australia), there is no artificial light that interferes with the night sky, which is ideal for anyone interested in some stargazing. — With inputs from Thomas Cook (India) and Expedia

First Published: Dec 30, 2014 20:29 IST