5 places to see Milky Way

5 Places to See the Milky Way in India (2024)

Discover the best spots for stargazing and witnessing the breathtaking Milky Way in India. Explore remote locations, national parks, and observatories perfect for astronomy enthusiasts. Find ideal destinations for astrophotography and nighttime adventures under the starry skies of India.

Do you find yourself captivated by the wonders of the galaxy, from stars to planets? If so, the Milky Way is special in everyone’s hearts. I still remember the first time I saw the Milky Way while camping in the Western Ghats—it was a moment of pure enchantment.

Surrounded by countless stars, I was spellbound by the sight, having never witnessed such magnificence before. Little did I know that such celestial marvels were within reach. In this post, I’ll unveil five remarkable locations across India where you can also behold the Milky Way’s awe-inspiring beauty.

PIN for later reference – Places to See Milky Way in India

PIN for later reference - 5 places to see Milky Way in India
PIN for later reference – Places to See Milky Way in India

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What is the Milky Way?

The Milky Way encompasses our solar system, with Earth nestled within its vast expanse. When gazing from our planet, a hazy ribbon of dust composed of numerous stars becomes visible, forming the Milky Way. This luminous band presents itself due to the disk-shaped structure observed from Earth. Scientists estimate that the Milky Way hosts anywhere from 100 to 400 billion stars, with some of the oldest among them nearly as ancient as the universe itself.

Milky Way
Milky Way

The winter season proves most favourable for optimal viewing of the Milky Way. In India, this season spans from November through January. The ideal time to observe the Milky Way is during the new moon phase.

5 Places to See the Milky Way in India

India boasts numerous locations where the Milky Way can be marvelled at. While treks or hikes in the Himalayas offer unparalleled stargazing experiences, there are also accessible road destinations perfect for Milky Way sightings.

Are you currently in New South Wales (NSW), Australia? Discover the top spots for witnessing the Milky Way in NSW.

Pangong Tso (Lake) in Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir)

One of the premier destinations for Milky Way observation is Pangong Tso in Ladakh. It is 4,350 meters and stands as the world’s highest saltwater lake. Nestled between eastern Ladakh and western Tibet, Pangong Tso is an endorheic lake, offering pristine conditions for stargazing with minimal light pollution.

Note: Be prepared for extremely cold temperatures.

Milky Way at Pangong Lake in Ladakh
Milky Way at Pangong Lake in Ladakh

The Western Ghats (Gujarat to Kerala)

As mentioned, my first encounter with the Milky Way was amidst the Western Ghats. This majestic mountain range, also known as the Sahyadri Mountains, runs along the western coast of India.

Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Western Ghats stretch from Gujarat to Kerala. Among the peaks and locales within the Western Ghats renowned for Milky Way sightings are Kumara Parvatha, Kodachadri, and Chikkamagaluru.

  • How to Get to the Western Ghats? Depending on your destination village or town, you can drive or take a regular bus by state transport corporations.

Red Hills Nature Resort in Ooty (Tamil Nadu)

Also referred to as Udhagamandalam, Ooty is a city in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu state. Renowned for its picturesque tea plantations, Ooty ranks among India’s most sought-after hill stations, earning the title of the Queen of Hill Stations.

Just on the outskirts of Ooty lies the enchanting Red Hills Nature Resort. Nestled amidst pristine surroundings, this resort offers a tranquil escape with minimal light pollution, providing an exceptional setting to admire the Milky Way from the comfort of your accommodation.

Note: Exercise caution regarding leopards, as there have been occasional sightings in the area during the night.

  • How to Get to the Red Hills Nature Resort? Ooty enjoys excellent connectivity via buses and trains from cities and towns across India. Situated approximately 5 kilometres from Emerald Lake in Ooty, the resort offers pick-up and drop-off services for guests.
Milky Way at Red Hills Nature Resort in Ooty
Milky Way at Red Hills Nature Resort in Ooty

Nubra Valley in Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir)

Situated at an impressive altitude of 3,048 meters, Nubra Valley is another breathtaking location in Ladakh, offering prime Milky Way viewing opportunities.

Renowned for its Bactrian camels and ancient monasteries, Nubra Valley graces the northernmost region of Jammu and Kashmir. Referred to as Dumra, this valley once served as a vital trading route linking Tibet and Turkistan.

  • How to Get to Nubra Valley? Located approximately 160 kilometres (about a 5-hour drive) from Leh City, you can opt for a taxi or a bus. Regular bus services operated by JKSRTC ply between Leh and Nubra Valley, providing convenient access for travellers.
Milky way at Hunder in Ladakh
Milky Way at Hunder in Ladakh

The Redstone Resort in Wai (Maharashtra)

Situated just a short 20-minute drive from Wai, the Redstone Resort offers a spectacular setting for Milky Way observation. With its serene property and surrounding areas free from light pollution, guests can enjoy uninterrupted views of the stars.

  • How to Get to the Redstone Resort? Wai is approximately 100 kilometres from Pune city, and the journey by road typically takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes. The Redstone Resort is about 18 kilometres from Wai, providing a convenient drive for travellers.

Camera Settings for Milky Way

I’m passionate about photographing the Milky Way, and while many modern smartphones offer impressive camera capabilities, I remain devoted to my trusty Canon 7D Mark II. Below, I outline the settings I use and play around with to capture stunning shots of the Milky Way:

  • Use a tripod for stability.
  • Opt for a wide-angle lens for optimal results.
  • Set the aperture (f-stop) to its lowest value, typically between f/1.4 and f/4.
  • Adjust the ISO settings between 1600 and 3200 for optimal light sensitivity.
  • Set the shutter speed between 15 and 20 seconds to capture the intricate details of the Milky Way.

Please note that these settings serve as guidelines, and I encourage experimentation to achieve the desired results. Feel free to explore and adjust to capture your perfect Milky Way shot!

5 places to see Milky Way
5 Places to See the Milky Way in India

Closing Notes

If you’re enchanted by skyscapes and the beauty of the night sky, then the Milky Way is sure to captivate your imagination. Just catching a glimpse of the Milky Way can whisk you away to a fairy tale world. I’m eager to explore more destinations in India to uncover the best spots for admiring this celestial wonder.

Have you had the opportunity to witness the Milky Way? I’d love to hear about your experiences and the best places you’ve encountered this breathtaking beauty. Share your thoughts by writing to me at Solopassport@gmail.com.

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5 Places to See the Milky Way in India (2024)
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    PIN for later reference – Places to See Milky Way in India

    PIN for later reference - 5 places to see Milky Way in India
    PIN for later reference – Places to See Milky Way in India