Uttarakhand's Benital to be made an 'astro-village'

Efforts underway to develop Uttarakhand's Benital as 'astro-village'

Benital will offer visitors an easy and close view of stars, planets, and astronomical events, once it becomes an astro-village

Representative image. Credit: iStock Photo

The Chamoli district administration has stepped up efforts to develop Benital in Karnaprayag block as an 'astro-village', according to officials.

A team headed by District Magistrate Himanshu Khurana visited Benital on Thursday to explore what can be done to generate interest among tourists in the upcoming project, they said.

Located at an altitude of 2,600 metres above sea level, Benital will offer visitors an easy and close view of stars, planets, and astronomical events, once it becomes an astro-village equipped with large telescopes and a night-vision dome, the officials said.

Cottages, pathways, tent platform, restaurant with a reception, and two parking lots are also being built in Benital by the Tourism department for visitors as part of the project, Khurana said.

The department has estimated a total expense of Rs 5 crore for the project and submitted a report to the administration. It has entrusted the Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam with the responsibility of developing Benital as an astro-village, the DM said.

A preliminary clearance for transfer of forest land for the project has already been secured, he added.

Khurana advised the department to immediately start repairing the road from Simli to Benital and putting up signage along the route to attract more and more tourists to the place.

"Benital already has the potential to attract tourists due to its picturesque location. Once it becomes an astro-village, it can generate self-employment opportunities for locals due to increased tourist activities," he said.

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