A bit different topic today, other than the regular travelogues, cultures and traditions. Introducing my readers to the world of astronomical science. India’s credibility in astronomy dates back to pre-historic times and now occupying the top rung of the ladder among the prominent countries of the world. We, Indians, especially respect and attribute the history to the greatest mathematician and our first astronomer Aryabhata I. About 47 planetariums are present in India, entertaining and educating from the young generation to the old, the marvels waiting up there in the sky. Many of them are among the best in Asia and powered with the latest and trending technologies. So here I go, presenting some of the best planetariums in India, enabling you to explore the universe, space, the stars, the planets and many more astronomical bodies discovered by the eminent astronomers and scientists of the world.
Birla Planetarium in Kolkata
At first, I would like to mention one of the planetariums in India I visited when I was in my school. Its Birla Planetarium in Kolkata, inaugurated by the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, on 2nd July 1963. You would be quite surprised to know that is the second largest in the World and the largest in Asia.
The astronomical gallery inside the planetarium is filled up a massive collection of paintings and models of world famous astronomers. It has an observatory where almost 100 projects are featured focusing on astrophysics and astronomy and the facts related to the celestial bodies. It accommodates a total of 680 people, which is a huge audience to entertain. The structure of the planetarium represents a dome-shaped structure and is one of the iconic landmarks of the city.
Birla Planetarium in Chennai
One of the modern planetariums in India, build in the memory of the greatest industrialist of India, Mr B. M. Birla in 1988. Located in Chennai, it comprises of 8 galleries and almost 500 exhibits. The galleries are segregated according to the different educational streams namely, Physics, Energy, Biology, Electronics and Communication, Transport, Space Science and others.
You can experience a virtual night tour of the sky with its numerous astronomical bodies. Inside the planetarium, there is an inner dome-shaped structure for hosting the cosmic shows. It has a seating capacity of about 236 people. The 360-degree sky theatre in the planetarium is the first of its kind in the country.
Nehru Planetarium in Bengaluru
Established in 1992 at Bengaluru, it is one of the most popular planetariums in India. Named after Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, every year it attracts thousands of visitors from across India and abroad. The observatory inside the building has a similar dome structure as that of the other planetariums accommodating 210 audiences in the gallery.
The projector called “Space Master” projects the wonderful vision of the night sky adorned by a constellation of stars and other astronomical bodies. Every month an exclusive program called “Know Your Stars” is showcased in joint association with ABAA, Association of Bangalore Amateur Astronomers. Several prominent astronomers talk about topics related to stars, planets, space and the universe. There are a science park and many exhibition halls in the planetarium.
Indira Gandhi Planetarium in Patna
The planetarium has been opened to the public on 1st April 1993, named after Late Indira Gandhi, the beloved Prime Minister of India. It is one of Asia’s largest planetariums, luring a huge number of tourists from India and abroad every year.
Equipped with modern technologies, the planetarium has an auditorium, exhibition halls, and workshop areas. The auditorium has a seating capacity of about 276 people, hosting regular cosmic shows. Regular workshops, seminars and exhibitions are held for education and learning purposes on the different facts and subjects of astronomy.
Guwahati Planetarium in Assam
One of the most sophisticated and modern planetariums in India. Located in Assam, it has a unique hybrid protection system for hosting the astronomical shows. The dome-shaped structure of the building stands high, distinguishable from the other structures in the city.
The other unique feature of the planetarium is its Goto GX instrument, procured from Japan. The instrument consists of projectors and a sound system. Besides, it has an astro van and a gallery too where certain exhibits related to the celestial bodies are hosted for the public.
Nehru Planetarium in New Delhi
Constructed in 1964, it is one of the oldest planetariums in India, sponsored by the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund. Nehru had a special zeal for the children of the country to spread the knowledge of education among them and inculcate the innovative minds right from childhood. To pay respect to his wishes, the government of India had promoted the establishment of such learning endeavours throughout the country. The Nehru Planetarium in New Delhi is one such projects undertaken to salute his noble desires.
The planetarium hosts several astronomical shows for the children, from school and college. A number of workshops are held on the premises to spread the knowledge of astronomy and the facts and science behind it. It also hosts quiz competitions and art contests every year.
A travel enthusiast craving to explore the exotic destinations in the world, deciphering the mysteries and the thrill concealed in them.