Pench Tiger Reserve Achieves Milestone as India’s First Dark Sky Park

January 21, 2024: In a significant development, Pench Tiger Reserve has earned the distinction of being India’s inaugural Dark Sky Park (DSP), marking the fifth such park in Asia. This accolade ensures that visitors to the reserve can now witness the enchanting celestial wonders unfolding in the starry nights, free from the interference of artificial light pollution.

The Dark Sky Park concept revolves around protecting the natural darkness surrounding a park or observatory, fostering an environment conducive to astronomical observations. Deputy Director of Pench National Park, Prabhu Nath Shukla, expressed that the land of tigers is now poised to inspire stargazers, providing them with an opportunity to delve into the mysteries of the universe.

Recognizing the intrinsic value of a pristine night sky as a natural, cultural, and historical resource, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) underscores the importance of preserving natural darkness for the sake of nature conservation, ecological integrity in protected areas, and the well-being of urban communities.

In response to the growing global threat of light pollution, the Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society Working Group, led by the International Astronomical Union, advocated for the ‘Dark Sky Oasis’ concept. This concept, endorsed by national and local governments, aims to safeguard the right to enjoy a star-filled sky.

The DSP certification places a spotlight on crucial aspects such as lighting policy, dark sky-friendly retrofits, outreach, education, and night sky monitoring. It encourages communities in protected areas worldwide to take steps in preserving dark sites.


Shukla elaborated on the certification’s significance, highlighting that it not only bestows national recognition upon Pench but also propels it onto the international stage. Capitalizing on this achievement, a night observatory has been inaugurated with funds from the district planning development committee.

Further enhancing their astronomical infrastructure, Pench has installed an additional telescope on a protection tower at Wagholi, located 3 km off the buffer in Sillari, which already houses an observatory.

To combat light pollution, over 100 street and community lights in Wagholi, Pipariya, Sillari, and Khapa villages within the park’s Paoni buffer area have been replaced with lights directed towards the ground.

This initiative not only promises educational opportunities for enthusiasts across the nation but also establishes a platform for celestial observation. Collaborating with the neighboring eco-development committee (EDC), Pench ensures the availability of accommodation facilities and hospitality services, recognizing that activities are often scheduled for the nighttime.

Pench Tiger Reserve is set to provide a unique and extraordinary opportunity for stargazers and nature lovers to experience the jungle at night, further solidifying its status as a beacon for conservation and astronomical appreciation.