Now is the time to ditch the tall buildings and electric cables blocking your open skies. Around 120 stars will be shooting through the sky per hour on the night of 13th and 14th December. Known as the brightest one, the Geminid meteor shower won’t disappoint you even with a full moon in the sky.
The farther you get away from the smog-filled, sky-clouding cities, the better the experience. Your best bet is a mountain top or an open field. Making it easier for you, we have listed down some of the places with amazing views of the Milky Way.
1. Spiti Valley, Himachal Pradesh:
If you are up for some extreme survival adventure, Spiti Valley in winters is the perfect option for you. The road to Spiti from Manali might be shut due to snow at this time but it is accessible throughout the year from Shimla via Kinnaur. At 14000 ft, this high mountain desert is completely devoid of pollution. With no haze and fog this is an exceptional spot for stargazing.
2. Taregna, Bihar: If you are an astronomy enthusiast, you might already know about this place. Literally translating to ‘counting stars’, Aryabhatta counted stars at this very place. During the July 2009 solar eclipse thousands of visitors crowded this little town of Bihar, to get the best visibility of the eclipse. So, don’t forget to carry your blanket and binoculars to sprawl under the stars.
3. Jaisalmer, Rajasthan:
For an Arabian Nights theme, take a trip to the Thar Desert from Jaisalmer. The sand will be shining silver, drenched in the full moon while you lay back and enjoy the meteorite burst. Don’t worry about the cold nights of desert. A bonfire and the ghee laden Rajasthani cuisine will fix it for you.
4. Yercaud, Tamil Nadu: A hill station named for it’s lake and dense forest, Yercaud at 4,970 ft is an ideal place to stargaze if you are around Tamil Nadu. Trek up to the sunrise point and camp or choose from the many resorts on the hill top. Make sure the accommodation has a balcony or a wide enough window, there are options aplenty.
5. Kalavantin Durg, Maharashtra:
Just 48 Km from the bustling Mumbai city is tranquility. Kalavantin Durg is a popular camping site for the Mumbaikars and that too for all the right reasons. An easy trek, amazing woodfire cooked food, and clear, open sky that will leave you gaping.
It is said that at Bhandardara you will always see a shooting star or two. With the upcoming Geminid meteor shower, you just can’t go wrong with this place. A scenic countryside road trip takes you to the Bhandardara Lake. The night sky reflecting on the pristine lake makes stargazing all the more mesmerising.
A winter night, starry sky and such beguiling destinations! What are you waiting for? Go on, pack your bags! Also, don’t forget the sky map and binoculars to track the stars.