7 Prominent Astronomical Observatories in India

Observatories in India are not a new post-modern concept but have a history attached to them. One of the world’s oldest observatories was in Kerala, India. Maharaja Jai Singh II of Jaipur, Rajasthan, commissioned 5 brilliant observatories between 1724 to 1735. These five age-old observatories at New Delhi, Jaipur, Ujjain, Mathura, and Varanasi are some of the most popular tourist spots in India.

Today is World UFO Day. Every 2nd of July is observed as UFO Day to encourage stargazing among people to scan for unidentified flying objects. Studying celestial substances or energies is a wide field of astronomical science. Observatories are instruments of aiding that science. Let’s quickly check out some of the major observatories in India.

ARIES, Nainital, Uttarakhand

Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) is situated at Manora Peak near Nainital. ARIES houses Asia’s largest telescope, Devasthal Optical Telescope. The observatory is open to the public on weekdays during afternoons. For night viewing prior permission is required. Besides astronomical facilities, the abundance of nature’s beauty around Nainital is captivating.

Vainu Bappu Observatory, Kavalur, Tamil Nadu

Vainu Bappu Observatory is located on Javadi Hills at Kavalur, near Vaniyambadi in the Tirupattur district. It is one of the most renowned observatories in India; especially because of its discovery of a new minor planet in 1988. The planet was named 4130 Ramanujan after the Indian mathematical genius. It houses Asia’s second-largest telescope. This is the first such discovery from India. For visiting the observatory prior approval is required. The forested area of the hill, outside the observatory, is remarkable.

The Indian Astronomical Observatory, Hanle, Ladakh

Amidst the vast rustic barren fields of Hanle in Ladakh, stands the highest of all observatories in India. It is located at an altitude of 14.8K feet. The Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO) at Hanle is one of the world’s highest observatories. The remote landscape is ethereal and is star gazers’ paradise. The arid atmosphere and clear skies make it one of the world’s best sites for infrared and gamma-ray optical wavelengths.

Udaipur Solar Observatory, Udaipur, Rajasthan

In terms of location, the Udaipur Solar Observatory (USO) is mesmerizing. It is situated on the island of Fateh Sagar Lake. It is one of the best solar observing sites among the observatories in India, rather Asia. The surrounding water makes that possible by reducing air turbulence. The wide range of telescopes and the solar vector magnetograph is worth mentioning.

Kodaikanal, Solar Observatory, Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu

The Solar Observatory is located on the beautiful Palani Hills near Kodaikanal town. It is the oldest of all observatories in India to provide solar data. The unique longitudinal position of Kodaikanal enables precise observations of the equatorial electrojet. This observatory plays a major role in educating the public about astronomy with their guided tour facilities. They provide access to an astronomical library and night-time telescopic sky viewing. Their specialized University courses, public seminars and workshops are remarkable.

Gauribidanur Radio Observatory, Bangalore, Karnataka

The Gauribidanur Radio Observatory is located at Gauribidanur, near Bangalore. It houses Radio Heliograph Telescope. Studies of gaseous remnants of exploding stars are a significant one. Besides, the apparently vacant space between members of a cluster of galaxies is another of its analysis. The study of Supernova sounds exciting, right? Gauribidanur Radio Observatory is the only one among all the observatories in India which can record observations at low frequencies.

Madras Observatory, Chennai, Tamil Nadu

Set up in 1786, Madras Observatory is the oldest observatory in Asia and so deserves a special mention here. The scientific workings have stopped in 1931. Yet it is a significant name when it comes to observatories in India. The building is almost in ruins. But the granite pillars of the building stand with a more recent inscription, “Madras Meridian” marked on it. It is this observatory that demanded the rise of this new science; thus resulting in the construction of the modern observatories as a global phenomenon.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about the astronomical observatories of India. Do share your comments and feedback. Please follow our blog for more interesting articles.

Author

Dipannita

A versatile writer and travel freak, discovering the world in her own casual way. Loves to immerse into the core of Mother Nature and extract her inherent beauty.

22 thoughts on “7 Prominent Astronomical Observatories in India

  • July 3, 2021 at 2:30 am
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    I love observatories! I have one not far from my house that I often visit with the kids

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  • July 3, 2021 at 7:53 pm
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    There are so many beautiful observatories in India. I’ve always wanted to take a tour inside an observatory and peer through a telescope.

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  • July 3, 2021 at 10:06 pm
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    All of these look very cool but I am definitely taken by Udaipur! What a besatiful location. I would have to remind myself to look into the sky! Thanks for sharing!

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  • July 3, 2021 at 10:24 pm
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    These observatories all sound so interesting, but I’d especially like to visit the Madras Observatory, even if it is in ruins. I bet it’s still fascinating to see!

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  • July 5, 2021 at 1:00 pm
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    Wow! I would like to visit all of them. Maybe after the pandemic? Great photos!

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  • July 5, 2021 at 9:09 pm
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    oh wow I didn’t know it was World UFO day! Your photos look amazing and thanks for this informative post <3

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  • July 8, 2021 at 2:37 am
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    Those are all wonderful places to visit someday and I love anything related to astrology.

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  • July 8, 2021 at 5:33 pm
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    These are some awesome places! I would love to visit as they are unique buildings to look at space.

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  • July 8, 2021 at 7:49 pm
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    Look like such amazing places to go and visit! I know my daughters would love to go to these places!

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  • July 8, 2021 at 9:04 pm
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    I have yet to visit India but I am so interested. Thanks for your list and review, I hope to see it all soon..

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  • July 8, 2021 at 9:16 pm
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    It sounds like there are a fair few observatories in Indian. I haven’t been to one but it would be very interesting.

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  • July 8, 2021 at 11:27 pm
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    How beautiful and impressive! I’d love to visit one of these days and experience it for myself!

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  • July 9, 2021 at 2:18 am
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    Did not know that India had all these observatories, I can’t wait to visit these places on my next trip to India

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  • July 9, 2021 at 4:01 am
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    Wow I would love to see the sky from one of these observatories! Thank you for sharing.

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  • July 9, 2021 at 1:50 pm
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    I love observatories, but I only think I’ve been to one before in my life as there don’t seem to be many in the UK x

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  • July 9, 2021 at 8:49 pm
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    I love observatories especially opened for public. it is so much fun!

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  • July 9, 2021 at 9:46 pm
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    I am a big fan of visiting the observatories. I’d love to visit all of these. I just know that the views are absolutely breathtaking.

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  • July 10, 2021 at 10:21 am
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    The universe is always intriguing…so much is unknown to us. Observatories allowing public visit is really helpful. It’s fun and educative.

    Reply

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