During his recent meeting in New Delhi, Jitendra Singh, Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, said that India’s first Night Sky Sanctuary being set up in Ladakh will give a fillip to astro tourism in the Union Territory.
The Night Sky Reserve, located within the Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary in Eastern Ladakh, also aims to promote livelihood through eco-friendly activities of astro tourism, spread awareness about astronomy, besides boosting wildlife conservation and scientific research with reduced artificial light.
In December last year, the Ladakh UT Administration notified the proposed Dark Sky Reserve at Hanle village in Eastern Ladakh. Spread over 1,073 square kilometers, this Night Sky Reserve is adjacent to the Indian Astronomical Observatory which is the second-highest optical telescope in the world, of Indian Institute of Astrophysics at Hanle.
“This Dark Sky Reserve is among only 15 or 16 of its kind in the world that will offer a spectacular view of the night sky. Because of its altitude and location across the Himalayas in the rain shadow area, this Night Sky Reserve is the ideal place for star gazers almost throughout the year,” added Singh.
“On behalf of the Department of Science & Technology and CSIR, we will request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate the Night Sky Reserve at an early date,” he informed.
The minister added that the projects are afoot on developing food products from Leh Berry, the nutritionally rich and exotic fruit of the region, which is also a means of wide-ranging entrepreneurship as well as self-livelihood. The delegation led by the Chairman, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Tashi Gyalson also discussed a wide range of issues and new developments pertaining to the region with Singh during the meeting.