Ladakh’s Hanle Village Emerges as Southeast Asia’s First Night Sky Sanctuary

December 04, 2023 –  In a groundbreaking collaboration between the Union Territory Administration, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh, and the prestigious Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Hanle village in Ladakh is set to become Southeast Asia’s first Night Sky Sanctuary. Nestled within the Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary, this initiative further solidifies Hanle’s status as India’s first Dark Sky Reserve.

At an altitude of 4500 m, Hanle’s secluded location, high altitude, and minimal light pollution make it an ideal spot for stargazing. The Night Sky Sanctuary will exclusively host optical, infrared, and gamma-ray telescopes, enhancing India’s prowess in astro-tourism. Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State for Science & Technology and Space, expressed optimism about the project’s potential to captivate enthusiasts and contribute to India’s significant space achievements.


Hanle’s Dark Sky Reserve is expected to join the ranks of around 15 to 16 similar sites globally, adding to India’s prominence in astro-tourism. The tripartite Memorandum of Understanding will not only contribute to scientific advancements but also boost local tourism and the economy. Dr. Singh emphasized Ladakh’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral, unveiling a special development package of INR 50 crore to fund diverse projects in the region.

With the recent permission granted by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs for overnight stays for foreign tourists in Hanle, the region’s allure has taken a new dimension. Dr. Singh highlighted the introduction of Snow Sculpture as a tourist attraction, creating job opportunities for locals and contributing to the region’s economic growth. These initiatives underscore Ladakh’s commitment to sustainable development and its rich cultural heritage as it marks the fourth anniversary of its establishment as a Union Territory.