If stargazing in the hills has always been on your bucket list, then Benital Astro Camp 2023 in Uttarakhand may be the perfect opportunity for you to tick that box. Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board is co-hosting the camp from May 19, offering astrophiles a chance for a starry vacation.
The month-long camp is taking place in Chamoli district’s Benital village, about 430 km from Delhi. Being developed as India’s first ‘astro village’, Benital is perched at 2,600 metres above sea level in the Himalayas. The offbeat location has clean air and is free of light pollution, making it the perfect destination for astro tourism in India. And after the roaring success of the first ‘Astro Party’ in 2021, the tourism board decided to host another one in collaboration with astro-tourism company, Starscapes.
What is expected at Benital Astro Camp 2023?
The camp, which will go on for two months approximately, will commence with a grand ‘Astro Party’ scheduled from 19 – 21 May. The event will have a long list of activities for people to participate in, like stargazing, astrophotography, and other astro-related activities that will be aided by telescopes and astronomy experts. You will be able to spot constellations, planets, moons and even a glimpse of the Milky Way galaxy. Furthermore, the camp will also organise hikes, cycling groups and bird-watching expeditions that will help you immerse in the natural beauty of Benital. The last date of the camp is not decided yet, but the official website has shared that the camp will continue till the weather permits, tentatively till June end. Entry to the event is completely free, and participants only need to register.
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You need to keep a few things in mind while planning for the camp. Accommodation and food are not part of the astro-event; therefore, you will need to arrange for it on your own. However, they have shared that the most convenient place to stay near Benital is Karnaprayag, a hill town around 30 km away. There is a shuttle that goes to and from Karnaprayag that takes about 75 mins to cover the journey. You will have the option to stay at the campsite as well, but you will need to bring your own tent and other basic amenities. Water and sanitary facilities will be provided at the site.
How to reach Benital
By air: Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is nearest to Benital, about 214 km away.
By rail: The closest train station is Haridwar Junction, about 230 km away.
By road: Benital is well-connected by road and is about 430 km from Delhi.
Hero and feature images: Courtesy representational image by Yann Allegre/Unsplash
This story first appeared on Travel + Leisure India.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: It is starting from May 19, with an 'Astro Party' that will continue till May 21.
Answer: The Astro Camp is taking place in Benital, which is being developed as India's first astro village. It is located in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district near Karnaprayag.