Meteor showers on the menu: why the hills are attracting more ‘post-Covid’ astronomical tourists

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The small mountain stations of UttarakhandKnown for its pristine lakes, scenic spots and adventure Activities now offer an out of this world experience to travelers.

With international travel becoming more expensive due to revenge travel after more than two years of the pandemic, more tourists are seeking national destinations such as Bhimtal and Kausani, promoting astrotourism among the main attractions.

Astronomical observatories invite travelers to glimpse solar eclipses, meteor showers, lunar craters, binary stars, and many other celestial events. Paul Savio, CEO and co-founder of Starscapes Observatory in Bhimtal, noted that visitors span all age groups.

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“This includes families, couples, children who are adding the exploration of celestial bodies to their bucket list,” Savio said.

Despite unpredictable rains in April and May, Savio said, the observatory received hundreds of visitors during the two months, a number that he thinks will only increase.

With more domestic travelers discovering the thrills of astronomy clubs, local campgrounds and accessible destinations with spectacular night views, hotels in and around Bhimtal and Kausani are capitalizing on the ‘astro boom’.

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stars Astronomy enthusiasts organize trips in advance to view solar eclipses, meteor showers and study the constellations in the skies above (Photo Credit: Pixabay)

“In addition to the lake aquarium and adventure sports, the main attraction near our hotel is the space observatory, which is seeing increasing interest among visitors,” says Deepak Dubey, general manager of Fisherman’s Lodge, located on the edge of the Bhimtal. Lake.

Dubey said that visitors’ interest in astrotourism has led the hotel to offer this type of visit in the menu of its travelers.

Shiv Kr. Mehan, Chief Operating Officer of Leisure Hotels Group, noted that although astrotourism is still in its early stages in India, it is certainly an upcoming avenue that Travellers wait after the pandemic.

“Post-Covid, travelers are looking for new avenues of experiential tourism. Astrotourism is still gaining popularity in India as it is still in its early stages,” said Mehan.

Mehan said remote places like Bhimtal and Kausani, where the hotel group has its experimental properties, offer a perfect spot for stargazing and exploring the darling and much beyond.

“Far from the city, the remote locations with higher altitudes offering lighter and darker skies, they are ideal for stargazing,” said Mehan.

“Astronomy enthusiasts organize trips in advance to see solar eclipses, meteor showers and study the constellations in the sky,” he added.

Starscapes looks forward to partnering with hotel chains and ecotourism operators to improve their offers.

The startup is hosting an Astro Camp in Mukteshwar, Nainital until June 30, offering a number of astronomy-related activities, from celestial shows to planetary parades.

There are efforts to take advantage of the growing potential of astrotourism in the country. Plans are reportedly underway to turn Benital village, located in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, into an astrovillage.

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