All You Need to Know About Sriharikota - Chandrayaan's Launch Pad!

Photo of All You Need to Know About Sriharikota - Chandrayaan's Launch Pad! by Namrata Das Adhikary

India scripted its own space history when ISRO’s Chandrayaan-3 launched into space on a mission to take a leap towards greater heights in exploration! Setting out from India’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre, the ambitious lunar lander is the first probe in the world to land in the unexplored South Polar region of the moon.

But did you know this satellite launch centre is located on an Island off the east coast of Andhra Pradesh? Sriharikota Island, known as the ‘spindle-shaped island’, is renowned for housing India’s first satellite launch station.

In 1969, the island was selected for this purpose with a view to serve as India’s main satellite launching station.

Not only does it hold its importance as a launch pad, but also provides travellers with a wide variety of picturesque and peaceful sites. Here’s what you can do in Sriharikota!

Invoke your inner space enthusiast the Space Theme Park

If you consider yourself a space enthusiast, then check off an item from your bucket list by visiting the Space Theme Park. Located in the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at SHAR, this attraction allows a select few Indian citizens to view rocket launches from its powerful viewing gallery.

At the Rocket Garden, you can admire the sights of beautiful ISRO launch vehicles like the Sounding Rocket, SLV, ASLV, PSLV, and GSLV in both photo and in person. A central fountain also adds to the atmosphere of this unique spot. As thousands of viewers flock to witness the launch at the Launch View Gallery, be sure to make your visit worth your while and appreciate the history of the Indian space programme at the Space Museum, where visitors can learn about the technology, applications, and future of the Indian Space Programme.

At present, the Launch View Gallery and the Space Museum are open to the public, with other facilities progressing. You can also view rocket launches, so keep an eye out for the launch dates here.

Get mesmerised by nature's raw beauty at the Pulicat Bird Sanctuary

Attracting photographers and adventurous souls from around the globe, the Pulicat Lake Bird Sanctuary is home to a spectacular sight during the winter each year.

As thousands of beautiful flamingos flock to the area, one can hear the promise of excitement in the air. From Portuguese, Dutch, and British traders to the birds they attract, Pulicat is truly a sight to be seen. With its historic infrastructure, including forts, churches, and cemeteries, the sanctuary is a place of historical richness, offering a glimpse into a time past.

For bird-lovers, there is no better sight than the gathering of flamingos in the sanctuary each year, ready to be admired by intrepid photographers and explorer souls. With the right pair of binoculars, one can also observe countless other birds, such as storks, pelicans, and egrets.

Best time to visit Sriharikota

The best time to visit Sriharikota Island is during winter or the beginning of summer season, between October and May. During these months, the weather is pleasant and favourable, making it the ideal time to explore the island and its attractions. With temperatures ranging between 14°C - 30°C, you can enjoy outdoor activities throughout the day and spend evenings stargazing in the pleasant night sky.

You can even enjoy the breathtaking view of the green landscape of the island during monsoon season when rainfall starts from June. So whichever time you choose to plan your trip, you will be sure to have an unforgettable experience.

How to reach Sriharikota

The nearest airport is in Chennai (MAA IATA). To get to the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC-SHAR) from there, the most convenient way is to take a bus from the Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT), which would take around two hours.

Alternatively, one could take a suburban train from MGR Chennai Central to Sullurpeta railway station, which would take two to two and a half hours. Another option is to take a terrain vehicle or a share-auto, which would be the best way to get there. Lastly, one could take a cab such as an Ambassador or an Indica to get to SDSC-SHAR.

Pro-tips for an unforgettable adventure!

1) Buy rocket models and posters from the space centre

2) Explore delicious seafood from the local fishermen

3) Check availability of the canteen before you go so as to avoid any last minute surprises

4) Finding accommodation in Sriharikota can be difficult as the two guest houses may not offer accommodation. It is best to know an employee of SHAR who can help with cheap accommodation options

A trip to Sriharikota can undoubtedly help you explore India’s gateway to the moon. With its mix of space exploration, history, natural beauty, and delicious seafood, Sriharikota is certainly an experience to remember!

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