Imagine gazing at the clear skies at night and witnessing endless views of twinkling stars and constellations. If stargazing in Ladakh is your ideal type of tour, this blog is for you!
Stargazing in India is not a foreign concept. We have done it all our lives, lazing on the terrace, looking at the stars, which only increase as you constantly look at the sky. And stargazing in Ladakh is preferable as the pollution level is lower, making the experience more enchanting.
Ladakh is the prime destination for astrophotographers to capture the clear night skies with millions of stars that are hard to find in cities. The experience for you will be unforgettable, especially if it’s for the first time, as it will infuse you with a sense of the universe’s vastness. This makes Ladakh one of the best places in India to stargaze.
So without further delay, let’s get into the best places to stargaze in Ladakh.
Places For Stargazing In Ladakh
Blessed with abundant natural beauty and breathtaking vistas, Nubra Valley milky way is the best experience in Ladakh. Located far up in the north part of Ladakh, this valley is known for its high-altitude cold desert in Hunder Village, 10,000 feet above sea level. Not just this, Nubra Valley is noted as the world’s highest motorable road at 18,380 feet, Khardung La.
Stargazing in Nubra Valley will be one of the top highlights of your Leh Ladakh bike tour. Nubra falls on the old Silk Route, which takes the breath away of most travelers. Further, the valley needs tourists to get a special permit since it is located near the international borders.
During the daytime, you can check out the most famous tourist attractions in Ladakh, like Diskit Monastery, the Panamik hot spring, and Samstanling Gonpa. If not, a safari on double-humped camels, trekking, river rafting, or sunbathing in the dunes of Hunder is always a better idea.
Pangong Lake is something you have to see in person to believe it. Witness the pristine beauty and experience the calmness at Pangong Tso, also called Pangong Lake. It is among the best lakes in Ladakh and is popular among nature lovers because of its surreal beauty and outdoor adventure, as it offers camping opportunities.
As the lake is located near the Line of Actual Control, a delicate border point, you are expected to be more respectful and not cause any scene that can risk your life. Besides, you can have a wonderful time camping and enjoy Pangong Lake stargazing with your friends or fellow travelers.
Pangong Tso gained immense popularity after being featured in the super hit movie 3 Idiots, starring Aamir Khan, R. Madhavan, and Sharman Joshi. It is located at 4,350 meters above sea level and has no pollution, making it ideal for catching good sight of the Milky Way galaxy.
A small village in one of the most famous places of Ladakh, Nubra Valley, Turtuk Village is perfect for gazing at the stars. Treat your eyes to the dreamy Karakoram mountain range and capture it for memories. Note that Turtuk is an unexplored place that only opened to tourists in 2010. So, there are not that many options besides trekking and visiting the two monasteries.
Like Pangong Lake, Turtuk Village is located near the Line of Actual Control on the banks of the pristine Shyok River. In addition, it is a part of five villages where Baltic people reside, as it is in the Baltistan region.
Balti culture is rare and can only be experienced in these Baltistani villages under India’s control. The best part is that you can stay in a homestay or guesthouse with locals to experience the culture up close. Also, you cannot access this for six months during the winter. Therefore, knowing if you plan a winter trek in Ladakh is essential.
A historic village in Ladakh, Hanle is a site of the 17th-century Hanle Monastery, one of the top Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh. Located in Hanle River valley on the old Ladakh-Tibet trade route, Hanle also houses one of the world’s highest astronomical observatories, Hanle Observatory or Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO).
This observatory is located at 14,764 feet and is perfect for Hanle stargazing. It encourages enthusiasts to come here and witness the galaxy and the region’s unique moonscape-like terrain. The observatory also has facilities for night-time astronomy. In addition, you will find the 2-meter Himalayan Chandra Telescope from 2001.
Further, it also has a seven-unit High Altitude Gamma Ray (HAGAR) telescope for better views. For the best experience, you can camp and stare into space. As for the day, drive around the unique landscape to Tso Moriri Lake.
Best Time For Stargazing In Ladakh
The best time for stargazing in Ladakh is from April to June and September-October. And if you want to know the best conditions for stargazing, there should be no humidity or dust. The better the transparency, the better views will be visible. Also, it makes sure the atmosphere is stable.
How To Reach These Locations
The best way to travel to Ladakh is to take a road trip. It will be one of the best adventures of your life. Either take the Leh-Srinagar highway or Leh-Manali one. They only open during the summer season. If not, buses are also available from Srinagar to Leh (434 km approx. one way) and Manali to Leh (427 km approx. one way). Take halts to rest and get used to the altitude change.
Leh Airport is the second best option. It is connected to major airports and is the only accessible route to Ladakh in winter. But remember, your flight can get canceled during winter due to snowfall. Jammu Tawi is the closest railway station.
Other Places For Stargazing In India
If you are bummed about that canceled Ladakh trip, don’t worry. Here are other places to fulfill your desire to stargaze in India.
Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh
Located at 9,680 – 13,450 feet above sea level, Spiti Valley is one of India’s best places to stargaze. You cannot imagine the views you’ll witness with little to no pollution and at such a height. You will have easy access to the glittering sky and stars. Visit Kibber and Kaza to see the magical sky.
Rann of Kutch, Gujarat
Explore the beauty at Gujarat’s Rann of Kutch, the world’s largest salt desert. Witness clear skies, white sands, scenic views of the moon, and sparkling stars for a memorable experience.
Primarily visited for its greenery and coffee plantations, Coorg also guarantees a blissful time for stargazers. It offers clear night skies dotted with a million stars, looking surreal. So take your best people with you and enjoy your time looking at the stars.
Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu
Tucked away in the Palani Hills, Kodaikanal has a solar observatory in Tamil Nadu. The unique longitudinal position of this place and its geographical conditions makes it a favorite among people for stargazing in India. So when the day is clear, you might spot the Milky Way and even a shooting star!
Neil Island, Andaman & Nicobar Islands
Neil Island is in Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The island is famous for its white beaches, coral reefs, flora, and fauna. At night, you can see the water reflecting the stars from the sky, looking magical.
Stargazing is a lifetime experience; if you wish for the best one, Ladakh is the best place to go. The Ladakh night sky view is to die for! Plus, the blue lakes, stunning landscapes, and the upper reaches of the region are perfect for just staring at the sky and seeing a million stars. And once you experience it, it will encourage you to go back there again and again. So, why wait? Book Ladakh tours for stargazing with us and get on an adventure for a wonderful time.