INDIA. Jaipur, Rajasthan: Jantar Mantar, built-in 1734 by Sawai Jai Singh II in Jaipur is an astronomical marvel, and it is a UNESCO world heritage site. Also Rajasthan, the desert state has various existing attractions and experiences. And now, the state will have the new Night Sky Tourism to provide an opportunity to city-dwellers, students, researchers, and tourists to observe the night sky with the help of telescopes and other astronomy equipment free of cost. It is a welcome step as the pandemic is waning and tourism activities have started to pick up. This initiative will further boost tourism in Jaipur in the field of science and technological advancements along with history and heritage.
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The project was inaugurated recently by the state government’s Minister of Art & Culture in the presence of the Chief Secretary, with an objective to bring more tourists to Rajasthan. The tour circle includes viewing of celestial bodies on special occasions across different spots across Jaipur.
The Department of Science and Technology will focus on specific astronomical events that happen from time to time, said Mugdha Sinha, Secretary of Art and Culture and Science and Technology. He added: “The state government’s objective is to inculcate scientific thinking among people, to make people aware about the happenings in nature in a scientific way. As per the astronomical scenario every month, this facility will be available free of cost at different places on different days.”
The Minister also said that Night sky tourism will give a boost to tourism as well as create scientific thinking among the general public. The Chief Secretary joined him in appreciation of the calm night sky, saying that a refined view of the moon displaying its pits and craters would motivate people’s curiosity about Akash Ganga (Milky way).
The Department of Science & Technology has prepared a list of forthcoming astronomical episodes that people can enjoy from different spots in the city. This night sky tour circle will include moon watching at Jawahar Kala Kendra, the telescopic view of Saturn, Mercury, Jupiter & Venus from Jantar Mantar on 11 February, Jupiter-Mercury conjunction from Albert Hall on 5 March, a closer view of the year’s biggest moon from Amber Fort on 26 May, Mercury from Amber Fort on 17 May, and Venus from Albert Hall on 3 July.