India’s 1st night sky sanctuary to come up in Ladakh

The proposed dark sky reserve will be located at Hanle in Ladakh, as a part of Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary and it will boost astro tourism in India

night sky sanctuary Ladakh

New Delhi: In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, has undertaken a project to set up India’s first-ever “Night Sky Sanctuary” in Ladakh for star gazing. The project is likely to complete in the next three months.

The proposed dark sky reserve will be located at Hanle in Ladakh, as a part of Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary. It will boost astro tourism in India and will be one of the world’s highest-located sites for optical, infra-red, and gamma-ray telescopes.

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology Jitendra Singh told the media persons after meeting with Lt. Governor Ladakh RK Mathur, who called on him at the national capital today.

The Union Minister informed that a tripartite MoU was signed recently among the UT administration, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh, and the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) for launching the dark space reserve. He said, the site will have activities to help in boosting local tourism and economy through interventions of science and technology.

All the stakeholders will jointly work towards the preservation of the night sky from unwanted light pollution and illumination, which is a serious threat to the scientific observations and natural sky conditions. It may be noted that Hanle is best suited for the project as it is located in Ladakh’s cold desert region, away from any form of human disturbance and clear sky conditions and dry weather conditions exist throughout the year.

A high level delegation of scientists and officials from Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI), Chennai will visit Ladakh by the end of this year to explore the possibility of setting up a regional branch of CLRI, as the UT has a very rich and wide variety of animals for leather research and industry and to promote bio-economy of animal skin-derived products.

The Union minister said that Charthang in Ladakh has over 4 lakh animals mainly pashmina goats, besides sheep and yaks. He also complimented CSIR for organising four-training workshops, two each at Leh and Kargil for treatment of diseases of famous Pashmina Goats.

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