Planetariums are an integral part of any society that values space exploration and has an inherent inclination towards astronomy. India has not less that 30 planetariums which can be found in almost all big cities of the country. Some of the these are among asia’s biggest and boasts of latest technologies.
So, here we list 10 most interesting planetariums in India (in alphabetic order).
M. Birla Planetarium is a large planetarium in Chennai providing a virtual tour of the night sky and holding cosmic shows on a specially perforated hemispherical aluminium inner dome. It is located at Kotturpuram in the Periyar Science and Technology Centre campus which houses eight galleries, namely, Physical Science, Electronics and Communication, Energy, Life Science, Innovation, Transport, International Dolls and Children and Materials Science, with over 500 exhibits. Built in 1988 in the memory of the great industrialist and visionary of India B. M. Birla, it is the most modern planetarium in India.
Birla Planetarium is a must-visit for science enthusiasts. It is a good place to take kids for outing as it provides insight into the universe and galaxy. Other than being an informative place, it is also a fun place to be at. The screen inside the planetarium provides information about the planet in three different languages namely Hindi, English and Telugu. This planetarium helped in bridging the gap between science and the common masses. Birla Planetariums timings are between 11:30 am to 8:00 pm. The duration of the sky show is approximately 35 minutes.
The Birla Planetarium in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, is a single-storeyed circular structure designed in the typical Indian style, whose architecture is loosely styled on the Buddhist Stupa at Sanchi. Situated at Chowringhee Road adjacent to the Victoria Memorial, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the Maidan in South Kolkata, it is the largest planetarium in Asia and the second largest planetarium in the world.
Popularly known as taramandal, the planetarium was inaugurated on 2 July 1963 by the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. It has an electronics laboratory for design and fabrication of science equipment. It has an astronomy gallery that maintains a huge collection of fine paintings and celestial models of renowned astronomers. The Planetarium also has an astronomical observatory equipped with a Celestron C-14 Telescope with accessories such as ST6 CCD camera and solar filter. It offers to the public and students more than 100 astronomical projects dealing with various facts of astronomy, astro-physics, Space Science as well as myths concerning stars and planets. It has a capacity of 680.
Guwahati Planetarium is one of its kind centre of astronomical research in Assam and the entire North-Eastern region of India. The Guwahati Planetarium is unrivalled in Assam and rest of northeast India with its distinctive dome and sloping walls that sets it apart in the skyline of the area. The Planetarium uses the Japanese Goto GX instrument. The hardware includes the GX starfield projector, sixty special-effects projectors, and the sky theatre’s sound system.
The Planetarium is getting a unique hybrid planetarium projection system, the first one of its kind in the entire northeast region. It is the second planetarium in India to get such a system, the first one being New Delhi Planetarium.
Apart from the projection system, an astronomical gallery, mobile ‘taramandal’ and an astro-van are soon going to be launched by the National Council of Science Museum (NCSM) at the planetarium. The state science and technology department has already sanctioned funds of around 38 Lakhs for the upcoming projects.
Indira Gandhi Planetarium is located in Patna’s Indira Gandhi Science Complex. Planetarium was constructed through Bihar Council on Science & Technology at a total cost of about ₹11 Crores. It was conceptualised in 1989 by Bihar Chief Minister Shri Satyendra Narain Sinha who laid the foundation stone in October 1989 and was inaugurated by Shri Laloo Prasad Yadav, the then Chief Minister of Bihar, on March 21, 1993. The Planetarium was dedicated to the Nation and opened for the public from 1 April 1993.
The Patna Planetarium is one of the largest planetariums in Asia. It attracts a large number of domestic as well as foreign tourists. The planetarium has regular film shows on subjects related to astronomy. It also holds exhibitions, which attracts lots of visitors. Patna Planetarium is located on Bailey Road near Income Tax Golambar in Patna within a distance of 8 km from Patna Airport, 1½ km from Patna Railway Station, 2 km from Government Bus stand, and 10 km from Private Bus stand.
Jawahar Lal Nehru Planetarium was founded by Bengaluru City Corporation in 1989. Located on Sir.T Chowdaiah Road, it has been managed by the Bengaluru Association for Science Education (BASE) since 1992. The Planetarium features a 15.0 meters diameter dome with a seating capacity of 210. “Space Master”’ planetarium projector projects the night sky as seen with naked eye on the dome along with constellation pictures and panoramas. It is used for teaching astronomy as well. Apart from this, video projectors, slide projectors, special effect projectors, etc., are also used for the shows.
The sky-theatre shows are very popular and attract about 2 lakh visitors every year at Jawahar Lal Nehru Planetarium. These blend science with literature, art and cultural aspects of many countries using special animation, visual effects and videos. The planetarium also has exhibition halls, and a science park. A special feature here is called ‘Know Your Stars’, which is a program conducted by ABAA on first Sunday of every month that includes lectures on constellations, Stars and planets, using of telescopes manned by amateur astronomers.
The Nehru Planetarium, commissioned on 3rd March, 1977, with the objective of fostering scientific temper through the means of edutainment (that’s right! education + entertainment). The planetarium has been making learning Astronomy a pleasant experience. It also has grown into a Center for scientific study of astronomy and for meeting of scientists and scholars for discussions and lectures, arranged periodically on various stellar and Astronomical events.
Nehru planetarium aims in promoting astronomy education. Nehru Planetarium in Delhi has been built in the memory of Jawaharlal Nehru and is situated at his earlier official residence. Established with an aim to impart the knowledge of space in students, the planetarium is now a wing of Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. A number of shows are held, each running for a duration of 30 to 40 min. Special shows are held for schools groups. There are live interactions and programs for visitors, students, and amateur astronauts. There are a number of workshops and observing activities held throughout the year. There are also Astronomy Quiz and Art competitions in the months of February and August. If you are a fan of astronomy or curious to know about the mysteries of the universe, this place is where you should come to. Do take out your kids to this planetarium for a fun-filled day outing!
Established for creating more awareness about the space, astronomy, and astrophysics, the Pathani Samanta Planetarium is one of the most loved landmarks of the city of Bhubaneshwar. Once inside, you can participate in various interesting activities like audio visual programs, poster shows and Night sky viewing.
The Planetarium also encourages research in the field of astronomical science and provides financial help as well.
Solely incepted with the help of Shri Nanjibhai’s donation, Tara Mandir is one of the two planetariums initiated by the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru. This planetarium encapsulates within an overhead round screen that projects detailed renditions of the stars, moon and other heavenly bodies.