Surreal and magical… The District Administration of Chamoli, Government of Uttarakhand, in collaboration with Starscapes, hosted an Astro Camp at Benital with the mission of making it a premier dark sky destination. The trip was truly out of this world!
Get ready for an adventure of cosmic proportions as Benital in Uttarakhand is all set to be the destination for star lovers. In the quest to turn this hamlet into India’s first Astro Village and open up the doors for astro tourism, the District Administration of Chamoli and India’s leading tourism company Starscapes organised an Astro Camp, kicking things off with a threeday Astro Party in May. Visitors were treated to a thrilling astronomy experience with activities like stargazing, astro photography, solar observations, rocket making and so much more.
Explore The Universe Like Never Before!
Get ready to embark on an unforgettable astronomical journey at the Astro Camp! Here’s a sneak peek of the exciting activities:
• Sun Observation: Observe the sun’s surface and solar prominence through telescopes with special H-Alpha filters. Also, catch live coverage on a TV screen for a better view.
• Night Sky Wonders: Gaze at the mesmerizing beauty of celestial objects like the moon, planets, and deep sky objects through telescopes.
• Astrophotography: Learn the art of capturing stunning pictures of the night sky from an expert astrophotographer. Unleash your inner photographer and capture the beauty of the universe.
• Other Activities: Explore the fascinating world of astronomy with fun and interactive activities, including rocket-making, astronomy tambola, mystery star identification and more.
Wonders In The Dark
With minimal human activity and low light pollution offering an unparalled, undisturbed view of the night sky, Benital, Uttarakhand, has emerged as the ideal location to explore the wonders the universe has to offer. “Our vision for Benital as an Astro village encompasses two crucial objectives. Firstly, we aim to instill a deep sense of pride within the local community, showcasing the uniqueness and immense offerings of this remarkable place. Secondly, we strive to economically empower our youth, enabling them to engage in astro tourism activities and advocate for Benital as a premier dark sky destination. In the past one-and-a-half years, we have made significant progress in establishing the necessary infrastructure and fostering enthusiasm among the local community,” says Himanshu Khurana, District Magistrate, Chamoli, Uttarakhand.
A Trip To The Stars
A member of the International Dark Sky Advocate Network, Starscapes has been actively working towards promoting dark sky locations in India to boost interest in astro tourism. In addition to promoting astro tourism, Starscapes is working closely with the local community to raise awareness about light pollution and its impact on the environment. Furthermore, they have been advocating for the implementation of dark sky regulations across India. “The Astro party was a grand success and we have received a phenomenal response for the Astro Camp. The three-day astro party gave visitors a sneak peek into all the exciting activities lined up at the Astro Camp. Our mission is to promote and preserve dark sky locations in India. Through our astro tourism initiatives and community engagement, we aim to raise awareness about light pollution and inspire a deeper appreciation for the wonders of the night sky,” says Ramashish Ray, Founder, Starscapes.
Explore The Cosmos
The first edition of the Astro Camp came to a close in June, but the excitement is still running high and plans for more events are already underway. So if the mysteries of the cosmos excite you, keep your eyes peeled.