The Ladakh administration has decided to declare Hanle- a ‘Dark Sky Sanctuary’- in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Astrophysics to promote Astro-tourism in the remote area of the union territory (UT).
The star-view sanctuary having the highest optical telescope in the world at an elevation of 14,764 ft is situated in south-eastern Ladakh near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. UT’s Principal Secretary Pawan Kotwal held a high-level meeting to finalise steps to be taken for promoting Hanle as an Astro-tourism spot.
For this purpose, a few things have to be taken care of like after dusk, depending upon the season, the curtains have to be drawn for the lighting inside the room.
For the outdoor lightings, shades have to be put on the lights so that the lights don’t go up to the sky. The vehicles moving in the area should always be on low beam and to ensure that they are low beam, they should paste stickers on the headlights so that even if the driver wishes to turn on the high beam, the light doesn’t go up towards the sky as that causes interference in the light coming from the stars captured by the telescope and other instruments, Kotwal said.
The Indian Astronomical Observatory, located in Hanle has one of the world’s highest located sites for optical, infrared and gamma-ray telescopes. It is operated by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore.
Army’s representative in the meeting, Colonel Pankaj Sinha, Leh, Sub Area, said that the Hanle situation can be implemented with ease and the Indian Army will extend all cooperation necessary towards showcasing Hanle as a Dark Sky Sanctuary.
Commissioner Secretary Ladakh, Ajeet Kumar Sahu; Chief Conservator of Forests cum Chief Wildlife Warden, Preet Pal Singh; Secretary, Power and Renewable Energy, Ravinder Kumar; Deputy Commissioner/CEO, LAHDC, Leh, Shrikant Balasaheb Suse; Chief Engineer, Border Roads Organisation, DIG, ITBP, Leh, RK Chauhan and Landscape Associate, SECURE Himalaya Project, UNDP Nansel Stobdan attended the meeting.