India’s First Astro Tourism Campaign “Nakshatra Sabha” Inaugurated In Mussoorie, Uttarakhand

Key features of Nakshatra Sabha include stargazing, expert talks, astrophotography competitions and special solar observations

The Tourism Department of Uttarakhand, in collaboration with the Astro Tourism Company, has inaugurated ‘Nakshatra Sabha’ at George Everest in Mussoorie. This unique event, held for the first time in India, focuses on astro tourism and will continue until June 2.

Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has emphasized the importance of promoting diverse tourism activities beyond religious tourism in Uttarakhand. The state’s initiatives aim to enhance green tourism, adventure tourism, wellness tourism, and specifically astro tourism. As part of these efforts, the government is developing Astro Villages at various locations.

Tourism Minister Satpal Maharaj highlighted the government’s commitment to providing an enriching experience for all tourists and developing new tourist destinations.

The inaugural ceremony featured notable figures including Dr. Dipankar Banerjee of the Aryabhatta Research Institute, Dr. Prabhas Pandey from the University of Delhi, Mr. Akash Sinha from Shiv Nadar University, Dr. T.V. Venkateswaran from Vigyan Prasar, and Mr. Ramashish Ray, Founder of Starscapes.

George Everest peak, named after the British surveyor Sir George Everest, is historically significant as the site of the Trigonometrical Survey of India, crucial for accurate country mapping. Recently, the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Council inaugurated India’s first Cartography Museum at Sir George Everest Estate.

Nakshatra Sabha offers a comprehensive astro tourism experience with activities such as stargazing, solar observations, an astrophotography competition, and camping under the stars. The event will continue until mid-2025, with programs across dark sky sites in Uttarkashi, Pithoragarh, Nainital, and Chamoli districts. It also includes seminars and webinars with experts to engage astronomy enthusiasts.

The initiative aims to train and develop skills among local youth, creating new employment opportunities. It advocates for dark sky conservation, promoting a community dedicated to preserving dark skies in Uttarakhand through the implementation of a dark sky conservation policy. The Starscapes team will collaborate with local communities, travel and tourism partners, and homestay communities to ensure the successful implementation of Nakshatra Sabha.

Sachin Kurve, Secretary Tourism/CEO of Uttarakhand Tourism Development Council, expressed the aim to establish Uttarakhand as a leading astro tourism destination. He emphasized the state’s potential due to its vast forest areas, nature-based tourism, and homestays. The campaign seeks to attract global visitors, showcasing Uttarakhand’s unique heritage and the wonders of the universe.

Ramashish Ray, Founder of Starscapes, noted the success of previous astro tourism camps and expressed enthusiasm for the annual Nakshatra Sabha campaign. This initiative aims to position Uttarakhand as an ideal astro tourism destination while providing employment opportunities for local communities.

Key features of Nakshatra Sabha include stargazing, expert talks, astrophotography competitions, and special solar observations.

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