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Dark Sky Reserve: Ladakh – South East Asia’s First Night Sky Sanctuary

Why is it in the news?

  • Ladakh is set to host South East Asia’s inaugural Night Sky Sanctuary at Hanle, promoting the preservation of pristine night skies and astronomical observations.


About Dark Sky Reserve

·       A Dark Sky Reserve is public or private land recognized for its distinguished nocturnal environment and starry nights, developed responsibly to prevent light pollution.

·       Designated by the International Dark Sky Association (IDSA), a U.S.-based non-profit organization.

·       Its five categories include International Dark Sky parks, communities, reserves, sanctuaries, and Urban Night Sky Places.


Criteria for Designation

·       Public or privately owned, protected for scientific, natural, educational, cultural, heritage, and/or public enjoyment.

·       Accessible to the public partially or entirely during the year.

·       The core area of the land provides an exceptional dark sky resource relative to surrounding communities and cities.


India’s First Dark Sky Reserve

  • Location: Hanle, Ladakh.
  • Situated within the Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary.
  • Adjacent to the Indian Astronomical Observatory, the second-highest optical telescope globally, operated by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics.
  • To promote astronomy tourism in a sustainable and environment-friendly manner.
  • To be developed collaboratively by the Ladakh administration, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), and the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) from Bengaluru.



  • South East Asia’s first Night Sky Sanctuary.
  • Expected to boost astro-tourism in India.
  • Encourages and ensures the sustainability of dark skies conservation actions.

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