Cold desert of Ladakh is all set to let people explore astro-tourism as the Union Territory has made plans for it.
On the instructions of Lt. Governor of UT Ladakh, a meeting was convened by Commissioner Secretary, Rigzin Samphel regarding ‘Astro-tourism’ in UT Ladakh on January 8, which was attended by Director Tourism Ladakh, Kunzes Angmo and Engineer In-charge, Indian Astronomical Observatory, Hanle, Dorjey Angchuk.
During the meeting, it was highlighted that due to the distinctive geographical feature, there is a great scope for Astro-tourism which will not only promote tourism in Ladakh but also provide ample opportunity to the locals to earn their livelihood. Besides, tourists will get a unique opportunity to visit new places with viewing/ observing the unknown world of space which would be very exciting.
It was decided that the Department of Tourism and Culture will identify various locations/ stations where required instruments (Telescopes) would be installed for the use of the tourist and public. Proposal with regards to the identification of locations/ sites would be sought from both the Autonomous Hill Development Councils of Leh and Kargil.
It was also decided that the Indian Astronomical Observatory, Hanle shall guide and train the locals, so that they will be updated with night sky chart to highlight the nightly event.
Director Tourism, Ladakh was asked to prepare a detailed proposal after receiving the lists from the respective Hill Councils.
What is Astrotourism?
Astrotourism is any kind of tourism that involves the night sky or visiting facilities related to astronomy like observatories, and combining that with a broader sense of ecotourism where interaction with nature is what the visitor experience is about.