Your Ultimate Guide to the Places You Must Visit To See the Sky Shimmer Like Never Before!


There's no doubt that the melange of colours that sunsets and sunrises paint over the skies are stunning. But the sublime feeling that a sky blanketed in glittering stars provides is truly unparalleled. If you're someone who hasn't got a chance to witness a dramatic night sky, this is the right time to do it! March - October is the ideal time to spot the Milky Way, whereas between April- July, the galactic core of the Milky Way is the brightest.

Here are all the places where you can get a ticket to the stars!

Distance from Shimla: 311 km, 10 hours+

How to reach: The only way to reach Nako is by road. Hop on an HRTC bus from Shimla to Reckong Peo. From Reckong Peo, take a bus to Nako. You can also drive all the way by yourself.

Located in the Kinnaur region of Himachal Pradesh, Nako is a tiny village with a population of only about 500 people. Situated at an altitude of 12,014ft. , the location of the village serves as an ideal spot for star gazing. If you're lucky enough to be there on a night with clear skies, you are sure to have an experience you will never forget. Head to an open space, away from light pollution and stare at the sky to your heart's content. You'll spot shooting stars, milky way and even galaxies and planets!

Distance from Manali: 15 km, 30 mins

How to reach: The only way to reach Sethan is by road. Take a bus to Manali and then a cab up to Sethan. Alternatively, you can take a flight till Kullu Manali Airport and then, a cab up till Sethan.

Located near Manali, Sethan forms the pinnacle of the mountain that towers over Manali. Situated far away from city lights, Sethan is a secluded haven that makes for an ideal getaway into the mountains. With Sethan's location, verdant beauty and rustic setting, a trip there will rejuvenate you like nothing else. While you can explore its meadows by day, it is the night time that will completely mesmerise you.

Distance from Shimla / Manali : 423 km / 189 km , 2 days / 10 + hours

How to reach: There are two routes to reach Kee Monastery. One is via Shimla and the other, via Manali. While the route from Manali is shorter, it is much more treacherous than the one from Shimla. If you're travelling from Shimla, expect to reach in at least two days. You can travel by bus or drive on your own.

Kee Gompa is the poster-destination of the pristine Spiti Valley. The largest Tibetan monastery in the valley, Kee is a photographer's delight especially for its bee-hive structure. Towering over Spiti river and flanked by mighty, barren mountains, the Lego-like Kee Monastery looks straight out of a dream. If you're staying in or near the monastery, you can get a chance to spot the milky way zooming from right behind it.

Distance from New Delhi / Manali: 1010 km / 456 km , 1.25 hours / 15+ hours

How to reach: The most convenient way to reach is to take a direct flight from Indira Gandhi International Aiport. New Delhi to Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, Leh. In case you want to go by road, you can take a bus or drive by yourself from Manali. From Leh, the monastery is a 25 minutes drive away.

Thiskey Monastery is known for its resemblance with the Potala Palace in Tibet. Situated at a height of 11,800 ft., the monastery serves as a major tourist attraction of the region. The surroundings of Thiskey are dark, non-polluted and offer majestic views of starry skies.

Distance from Gangtok: 102 km, 4.5 hours

How to reach: The most convenient way to reach Lachung is to first take a flight to Pakyong Airport, Gangtok, from where you can hire a cab to Lachung. Alternatively, you can fly into Bagdogra Airport or take a train to New Jalpaiguri and then a cab to Lachung.

A small, sleepy town enveloped within the majestic mountains of Sikkim, Lachung serves as the first major pit-stop in the quintessential North Sikkim trip. Experience authentic North Sikkim by staying in a cosy homestay, gorging on delicious momos and chugging mugs full of chhang, a millet based alcoholic drink. By night, layer up in woollens and pullovers, and venture out to spot twinkling stars. You'll be left admiring the way the stars and moon light up the snow clad mountains.

Distance from Delhi: 383 km, 9 hours

How to reach: The most convenient way to reach Mukteshwar is to go by road. It takes approximately 7 hours from Delhi. You can also take a train to Kathgodam and a cab to Mukteshwar.

While Himachal is highly explored, the upper reaches of Uttarakhand still remain hidden from the purview of tourists. This is precisely why Mukteshwar is a perfect place to escape from your stressful city routine. Stay in a snug mountain house or book a plush Airbnb to truly enjoy your time amidst pristine nature. Needless to say, the night skies will transport you to a fairy-tale land.

Distance from Delhi: 486 km, 12+ hours

How to reach: Travel to Shoja or Banjar in Tirthan valley by bus, and from there, trek to Serolsar Lake.

Serolsar Lake is a high altitude lake situated close to Jalori Pass. An easy trek of about 12km through the dense forests of Tirthan will bring you to this gorgeous lake. The lake is highly visited by locals for the Buddha Nagini Temple that is located on one side of the lake. Legend has it that the deity herself lives at the bottom of the lake in a golden palace. You can camp overnight a few kilometers before the lake and head out at night to enjoy the night sky.

Distance from Delhi: 333 km, 7 hours

How to reach: Nainital is well-connected to other parts of the country. You can take a road trip, a train up to Kathgodam or a flight up till Pantnagar. You will find easily available cabs to Nainital from both these places.

Nainital is a town like no other. With an emerald green lake in the center of lofty mountains, the town offers a memorable travel experience. Though extremely crowded in the summer, you can see the best of Nainital by staying in a property away from the mall-road. Watch a dazzling night sky and enjoy the stars twice as they reflect on the glass-clear waters of the lake.

Distance from Delhi: 396 km, 9 hours

How to reach: Convenient ways to reach Almora are to take the road, a train to Kathgodam or a flight to Pantnagar. You will find easily available cabs to Almora from there.

The cultural capital of Uttarakhand, Almora is one of the most populated towns of the state. Often visited as it offers an insight into Kumaoni culture, it is its natural beauty that remains an attractive feature for tourists. Take a walk along its Deodar and Oak laden forests or lounge as you watch the Himalayas change colour as the day progresses.

Distance from Manali: 472 km, 14 hours

How to reach: Drive from Manali to Leh.

The Manali - Leh Highway is a road to paradise. Stunning landscapes will tease you from out the window and the challenging road will give you the ultimate road trip experience. Barren mountains, tiny chortens and Ladakhi houses will further make for a trip to remember. At 12,000 ft. the night sky will enchant you!

So if you haven't yet witnessed a sky full of stars, I say you head to these places. You are sure to see night skies that you will dream of for months to come.

Have more suggestions for a place ideal for night-sky watching? Write a blog about it on Tripoto here.

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