Best Stargazing Spots in Uttarakhand


Have you ever watched a clear sky full of twinkling stars and felt a wave of calmness wash over you? In the daily grind of city life, sometimes we even forget to look up at the sky, and even if we do, the pollution hides the majestic beauty of a star-studded night sky.

But if you love the night sky, you don't need to travel far and wide to get a glimpse of it. Close to Delhi, Uttarakhand boasts of some spectacular stargazing spots in India. Whether you are an astronomy enthusiast, or just seeking a respite from your busy life, one of these spots is sure to entice the adventurer within you.

(c) Conde Nast Traveller

Photo of Best Stargazing Spots in Uttarakhand by Aparajita

1. Nainital

Nainital is one of the most popular hill stations in India. The beautiful environs, the peaceful Naini Lake, the plethora of lakes surrounding Nainital, the orchards, the shopping and the easy accessibility from Delhi and other major towns are the reasons for its popularity.

But few people know that Asia's largest reflective telescope is located just a few kilometres away from the centre of Nainital. It is attached to Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences, and the clear skies around Nainital offer amazing stargazing opportunities.

In fact, you can even book a Mindful Retreat from Tripoto to enjoy the stargazing experience, and also a beautiful boutique stay at 'Once Upon a Forest' at Hariyal Village near Nainital.


Photo of Best Stargazing Spots in Uttarakhand by Aparajita

2. Kausani

Located around 120 km from Nainital, Kausani is famous for its uninterrupted views of snow-capped Himalayas. You can witness spectacular sunrise and sunset and go on nature hikes.

But if you are looking for something off the beaten track, Kausani is also home to Stargate Observatory, and offers various spots in and around Kausani where astrophotogrphers can spend time capturing the night sky. There is also an open air planetarium, and various short term astrophotography courses on offer.


Photo of Best Stargazing Spots in Uttarakhand by Aparajita

3. Mukteshwar

Mukteshwar is located around 50 km from Nainital, and is famous for the panoramic views of snowcapped mountains. It gets its name from the old Mukteshwar temple, and next to it are overhanging cliffs known locally as Chauli ki Jali. The beautiful environs of Mukteshwar make it popular for a tranquil holiday.

But it also has some of the best stargazing spots in India, and is also home to Stargate Observatory, which offers a 45 min "Guided Tour Across the Night Sky", "A Photo With The Stars Behind You", "Star Party" and other activities before sunset.

You can also book Tripoto's Mindful Retreat at Urna Boutique Stay near Mukteshwar to enjoy a stargazing experience.

4. Bhimtal

Bhimtal is famous for its huge lake, but it also has an observatory for watching the night sky, which few people are aware of. Stargate Observatory has opened an observatory which is just 3km from Bhimtal Lake and less than a km from Naukuchiatal Lake.

They offer various programmes and activities- guided tour of the night sky, observation of the Moon, planets, star clusters, galaxies and nebulae through the telescope, astrophotography workshops, observation of the sun through special filters, workshops to understand Physics experientially, by making rockets and cameras yourself.

5. Majkhali(Near Ranikhet)

Ranikhet is captivating, abounding with flowers, trees and green meadows and the beautiful nine-hole Ranikhet Golf Course is one of the highest in Asia. But nestled in the lap of Himalayas, just 10 km from Ranikhet is the hamlet of Majkhali.

Majkhali offers a stupendous view of the now-capped Himalayas by the day and is one of the most sought after stargazing spots at night. Summer months with clear skies are best suited for astrophotography.

6. Benital(Chamoli District)

Benital is known as the Astro Tourism village of India. Situated at an altitude of 2,600 meters above sea level and surrounded by two mountain ranges, the area is rich in biodiversity and teeming with mountain goats, leopards and macaques. Large observatories and telescopes are installed at the topmost elevation of Benital that will allow you to see and identify various stars, novas, constellations, planets, and other heavenly bodies. In Dec 2021, an Astro Tourism party was organized in Benital and more than 250 astro tourists had come for the two-day Astro Tourism event.


Photo of Best Stargazing Spots in Uttarakhand by Aparajita

7. Jeolikot (Near Nainital)

Jeolikot is popularly known as the gateway to Nainital. It is a quaint hill-station offering mesmerising views of the Himalayas, beautiful orchards and flowering gardens, colonial era cottages and splendid birdwatching opportunities.

It also offers clear skies with beautiful views of the night sky. Astrostops is a startup company that has a premium property in Jeolikot offering free astronomy sessions.

8. Kedarkantha

Kedarkantha is one of the best winter treks in the country. At an elevation of 12,500 ft. Kedarkantha is located within Govind Wildlife Sanctuary in Uttarkashi district. It offers one of the best locations for stargazing due to its low light pollution levels. Undoubtedly, gazing up at the stars from a tent pitched in the middle of mountains is one of the highlights of this trek.

9. Munsiyari(Pithoragarh District)

Munsiyari is almost 5 hours from the main city Pithoragarh. It offers stunning panoramic views of the sun-kissed Panchachuli peaks. Munsiyari is also the base for trekking expeditions to Ralam and Milam Glaciers and the Nanda Devi Peak.

It is one of the darkest places in state suitable for stargazing. Places offers beautiful scenic landscapes with the backdrop of Panchachuli Peaks, which are magical to see during the night time.

10. Chakrata

Chakrata is a small cantonment town situated around 80 km from Dehradun. It offers a veritable treasure trove of natural beauty and adventure. One can enjoy birdwatching, go on nature walks, visit Tiger Falls, take a drive to Deoban or visit the Lakhamandal temples.

But Chakrata is away from the mainstream cities and towns, and one of the best places in Uttarakhand to enjoy a clear night sky and a beautiful view of stars.

If you are an astronomy enthusiast, a budding astrophotographer, or just want to feel the romance and adventure under the stars, head out to one of these destinations. If you think we missed out on something, tell us in the comments, or write about your own stargazing experiences on Tripoto

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