Time to Run Away from the City:Visit These Secluded Locations for the Best View of the Lunar Eclipse


Astro-enthusiasts, a total lunar eclipse is just around the corner, and so it is time for you to grab your telescopes, cameras, sky apps, and most importantly, tickets away from bright city lights. The good news is that in India, you'll be able to see the eclipse from start to finish, so here is a guide to the best places you can visit to witness the Total Lunar Eclipse on July 27, 2018.

Image credit: Tripoto

Photo of Spiti Valley, Marango Rangarik, Himachal Pradesh by Saumiabee

This is the most magical time to check Spiti off your bucket list. Spiti is a cold-desert mountain located high up in Himachal Pradesh and is known for its extremely dark, clear skies. You can opt for the Lunar Eclipse Expedition that Tripoto is organising from July 24- July 29, 2018. As you travel across the most beautiful places in north India, watch the lunar eclipse create a riot in the star blanketed sky. You are sure to witness a beautiful eclipse and click photographs that'll go viral on Instagram.

Click here for more details of the expedition.

Image credit: Myriam Fotos

Photo of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, India by Saumiabee

Jaisalmer in Rajasthan is also known as the Golden City owing to its glittering desert that expands as far as one can look. Although the Jaisalmer desert is hot and sultry during the day, by night it turns into a star-gazer's dream. Imagine seeing every phase of the eclipse against the backdrop of an imposing desert, with camels creating the perfect silhouette as they tinkle across dunes. As the moon gets completely hidden, witness the entire sky sprinkled in stars. You might just see some shooting stars too!

Most convenient way to reach:

Fly to Jodhpur airport and hire easily-available cabs to Jaisalmer. This journey is about 300km long and will take about 4.5 hours to complete. You can then book a night tour in the desert through operators like Jaisalmer Tour Package or Royal Adventure Tours.

Image credit: Px Here

Photo of Triund, Himachal Pradesh by Saumiabee

This is a much more accessible spot to witness the lunar eclipse from. Located in Mcleodganj, Triund lies right opposite snow-clad Dhauladhar ranges and offers brilliant views of the sky. From here, get an uninterrupted view of the moon in eclipse. If you're lucky and the sky is clear, you might even spot a galaxy. An eclipse, snow ranges and a galaxy – this is the perfect recipe for paradise.

Most convenient way to reach:

Fly to Kangra Airport located in Gaggal and hire easily-available shared cabs to Mcleodganj. The distance between the two is about 19km and it takes about 52 minutes to complete this journey. From Mcleodganj, take a cab to Gallu Temple which is the starting point for Triund trek. After 2.5 hours of climb, you will reach Triund top. Here, you can hire tents for an overnight stay.

Rajasthan's arid landscape provides the perfect setting to explore the sky's magic. Sambhar Salt Lake, located near Jaipur is another easily-accessible location that you can visit to witness the total eclipse. Earlier this year, this spectacular shot of the Super Blood Moon Eclipse by Nitish Walia shot at Sambhar Lake gives us even more motivation to catch the eclipse from here this time.

Most convenient way to reach:

Reach Jaipur via train, road or flight, whatever is most convenient for you. From Jaipur, you can hire a cab to Sambhar Lake, or you can board the Kota SF Express that will take you to Sambhar Lake in one hour's time.

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Taj Mahal, Dharmapuri, Forest Colony, Tajganj, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India by Saumiabee

What better location to experience the eclipse than at the seventh wonder of the world, Taj Mahal!? Moon photography at Taj Mahal is something that you must experience if you're a photographer. The white marble monument adds more magic to the moon, and I'm sure watching the eclipse from here is going to something that you'll remember forever.

Taj Mahal will be opened the night oo July 27, especially for tourists to witness the lunar eclipse.

Most convenient way to reach:

Board a flight to Agra Civil Enclave from where you can hire a cab straight to Taj Mahal.

Representative image. Credit: Matthew McElwaine

Photo of Nubra Valley by Saumiabee

Located in the north-east of Ladakh, Nubra Valley is a sight to behold. This high-altitude desert valley is an ideal spot to view the eclipse, as during this time, night skies in Nubra are crystal clear. Moreover, the sapphire blue Shyoka river, reflecting the moon will allow you a doubly-enchanting experience.

Most convenient way to reach:

The nearest airport to Nubra Valley is Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport in Leh. From here, the valley is about 160km away. You can stay a day or two in Leh for proper acclimatisation and then board a bus to the valley. If you want to travel by train, the closest rail head lies in Udhampur, located 300km away.

Image credit: Subhankar Saha

Photo of Pangong Lake by Saumiabee

Located at a height of 14,000ft, Pangong Tso is another pristine location which you can visit during the eclipse. This is a suitable time to visit Leh since temperatures wont drop below 13° celsius even during the night. You can camp overnight at the lake and experience the eclipse.

Most convenient way to reach:

Fly to Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport in Leh; from the airport, the lake is 225km away, a journey that takes around 6 hours to complete. Please note that if you plan to stay at such high altitude, you will need at least 4 days of proper and gradual acclimatisation, so please don't just head to the lake straight away.

Image credit: Carl Larson

Photo of Rann of Kutch, Gujarat by Saumiabee

This area of salt marshes located in Thar Desert is another landscape that will give you a majestic view of the eclipse. Again, there's no hint of civilisation anywhere nearby, so you can also spot constellations along with an exclusive view of the moon in eclipse.

Most convenient way to reach:

Reach Bhuj Airport, from where Rann of Kutch is only 53km away. You can hire a cab till Kutch and get around within via buses, autos or cabs.

Image credit: Skeeza

Photo of Katao, Sikkim, India by Saumiabee

Known as the Switzerland of Sikkim, Katao is located at a height of 15,000 ft. Although, you need a permit to visit this town, the effort is totally worth it. Here, you'll see the valley blanketed in flowers and snow-capped mountains, reflecting colours of the lunar eclipse. You can see all phases of the eclipse barring a few parts of the penumbral phase.

Most convenient way to reach:

Fly to Bagdogra in West Bengal that is well connected to all cities of the country. From here, hire a cab to Gangtok that is 123km away and takes about 4 hours to reach. You'll need to get your permit to visit Katao in Gangtok. From Gangtok, hire a cab to Katao which is 130km away and takes 4.5 hours to reach.

Image credit: Gellinger

Photo of Sundarban National Park, Gosaba, West Bengal, India by Saumiabee

If you can't make it all the way to higher regions of the north, you can visit Sunderban National Park in West Benga instead. With huge mangrove forests intertwined with rivers, a night out here to watch the eclipse is sure to be an eerie yet exciting experience. You can watch the moon in its phases through canopies or by banks of the numerous rivers that flow through Sundarbans.

Most convenient way to reach:

Fly to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata and from Kolkata Railway station, board a train to Canning. Canning is 45km away from the national park, the journey between the two can be undertaken via a hired cab.

Important details about the eclipse:

Date: 27th July, 2018

Timings: 10:44pm - 04:58am

The duration of the full eclipse is 1 hour 43 minutes. 

So what are you waiting for? Choose your destination and book your trip to watch the eclipse already!

Please note that all locations mentioned in this article are either untouched, secluded or of historic importance. Please visit these locations only if you plan not to litter, and make your trip as sustainable as possible.

If you do happen to visit any of these places for the eclipse, create a photologue on Tripoto; share your pictures and experience with a community of 25 million+ travellers. For more travel inspiration, head to Tripoto's Youtube channel.

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