For some of us, looking at the stars takes us on a journey to space – that which is beyond the ordinary, a galaxy of dreams coming to life, true yet surreal at the same time.
BUT… WHERE ARE THE STARS??
Ground reality – Behind the clouds
Let us introduce the cloudy Mr CumuloNimbus, who is confused about whether to hang around still or burst into showers! His confusion only adds to the haze, preventing Lady Night sky from showing up, with her moons and stars. A dim prospect for an avid star-gazer like you, is it not?
Star-gazing (over and above the academic kind) holds a promise for many of us – a universe of possibilities that lies beyond. So let not the conflict between Mr Nimbus and Lady Night sky wipe out your ‘starry’ dreams. Time to grab a chair by the fireplace and plan a trip to these amazing star-gazing getaways of India. You have ample leisure on hand to do that, while the Lady and Mister reconcile with each other, on their ‘seasonal’ differences. Here you go!
The arid, austere and awe-inspiring scenery of the Nubra valley, Ladakh, presents a different dimension of the Himalayas. Timeless, as the universe beyond the starlit skies. The clear, pollution-free atmosphere offers breathtaking views of the night skies. So pitch a tent here to count the stars. Lose count of them, till you trace a constellation popped right out of that chapter on astronomy. Dream-like, to be guided by the stars, isn’t it?
Stay: Camps at Nubra valley, homestays in Diskit
White desert of Kutch
Ready to experience something spooky, while watching the night skies? Head to the salt swamp at the Rann of Kutch. The ‘Chir Batti’ or the ghost lights phenomenon at the Banni wetlands has mystified physicists and stargazers alike. That apart, the desert beholds the infinite sky with spectacular views attracting astronomers and astrophotographers from across the country.
Stay: Bhuj, Kutch
Break free from the mundane and drabness of smoggy environs. Take to the forest trail to Karjat in Maharashtra, to reach Bhivpuri. Amid lush greens, hills and waterfalls, pitch your tent right, just to watch a magical night sky unfold before your eyes!
Eager to know the science behind the stars? Head to Vangani, in Karjat, for night sky shows conducted by the Khagol Mandal.
Stay: Camp in Bhivpuri, resorts in Karjat
Mark the calendars for the new moon, when you plan to head to Mandarmani in West Bengal. An offbeat seaside village, it gives you a sense of quietude that will make you plonk on those sleeping bags. You won’t sleep but only gaze long at the horizon. So, shed your loads and launch yourself on an imaginary space sojourn in this amazing star-gazing getaway in India.
Katao in Sikkim
Snow-clad peaks, verdant slopes, fluttering prayer flags, Katao is a pilgrim’s paradise and a sojourner’s dream. A hidden gem in the Yumthang valley, you will find a resplendent night sky with nebulous formations, clusters and constellations. Find the cosmos enveloping you in its vastness, in this favoured star-gazing spot.
There you go with the listicles of star-gazing getaways in India, for mission ‘STAR TREK’. While you get your backpack ready, do not forget these:-
- A camera with a wide lens or a light telescope
- Torch, full-fledged camp tents (if you are camping on your own)
- The Practical Astronomer by Anton Vamplew (In case you want to know the nuances of star-gazing)
- Google Skymap mobile app
- Spaceman Spiff series of Calvin and Hobbes – for that streak of wild imagination and imaginative space sojourns
Last but not least, a bottle of wine. When stars wink and wines sparkle with mischief, how can you leave out the romance in star-gazing? Let us not forget that Cumulonimbus patches up with Night Sky, with a parting gift. Her diamonds and moonstones shine better in the rain-washed atmosphere!