Direction of lights changed, Pench tiger reserve to be India’s first Dark Sky Park | India News – Times of India

NAGPUR: Pench Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra has earned the distinction of being named India’s first International Dark Sky Park within a tiger reserve for earmarking areas around the park that restrict light pollution for star-gazers to access pristine dark skies.
The certification was given by the International Dark-Sky Association, a global dark sky movement to promote astronomy. “The land of tigers will now inspire stargazers who seek to study and imbibe a deeper understanding of the universe. Pench has bagged the prestigious title of the first ‘Dark Sky Park’ in India and fifth in Asia,” said Prabhu Nath Shukla, deputy director of PTR.
In 2022, the Centre had notified Hanle in Ladakh as India’s first Dark Sky Reserve and opened it for tourists and night sky watchers.
The DSP certification for Pench focuses on lighting policy, dark sky-friendly retrofits, outreach, education, and night sky monitoring. It encourages communities in protected areas worldwide to safeguard dark sites. “This certification not only grants national recognition to Pench, but also catapults it on the international stage. Seizing this opportunity, we have inaugurated a night observatory with district planning development committee funds,” said Shukla. “To mitigate light pollution, over 100 street and community lights in Wagholi, Sillari, Pipariya, and Khapa villages in the park’s Paoni buffer area have been replaced with lights facing the ground,” he added.

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