What is Taramandal?

The Taramandal is an inflatable and portable planetarium.

Taramandal is capable of simulating night sky at any place on the Northern hemisphere of the Earth for any moment of time. In addition to simulated night sky, you can see various stars, constellations, planets, phases of Moon, polar night sky and its six months duration for day & night, rising & setting of sun and many more features and concepts of basic Astronomy.

The most important feature of this system is that it is interactive and gives Educators the possibility of directly communicating with the audience. They can modify the programme as and when required. It is a good tool to explain the basic concept of sky observations. It can also be used to incite / clarify queries from other subjects like geography, physics, math etc. It could also serve the purpose of an improvised dark room for conducting scientific experiments requiring dark room facilities.

Taramandal has been developed by the National Council for Science Museums, Kolkata.

For details about the IUCAA Taramandal see below

Detailed description

The Taramandal is a mini-planetarium inside an inflatable dome used to conduct interactive shows of a simulated night sky. We divide it into three necessary parts -

  1. the igloo-like dome,
  2. the blower fan and
  3. the planetarium projector.

For installing the unit, it requires about 8m x 8m (26ft x 26ft) of clear ground space and 4m (13ft) metres of clear unobstructed height, normally available in any school. A spacious hall which has a 13-foot-high ceiling is adequate. But the venue should not be an open scape where the tarmandal is exposed to wind, sun or rain. It can be inflated to its full capacity in less than 10 minutes. The dome is inflated using the blower, which also ventilates the dome and keeps it comfortably cool. A continuous supply of electricity is hence needed for running it. Once deflated, the thin, fire-proof, rubber dome can be folded into an bag.

The Taramandal can be operated even with just two trained people. The complete mobile planetarium packs into two boxes for the projector, one bag for the inflatable dome, and one box for the blower fan.

The Taramandal has a novel tunnel like entry to the dome, which serves as light trap, but children (and also the elders) do enjoy crawling in and out of it. The seating arrangement is on the floor and about 30 children or 25 adults gather around the teacher to watch the planetarium programme at a time. Generally a programme consists of 4 to 6 shows of about half an hour each for a half a day session. A full day programme would have 4 more shows with a break for lunch. The unit can thus be stationed in one village school for about two days so that it can cover the entire strength.

IUCAA Taramandal

In June 2006, IUCAA SciPOP acquired a Taramandal. Since then approximately 30,000 people have been able to enjoy and learn about the sky with it. IUCAA has carried out a large number of programmes in Pune and in Girawali region, where IUCAA's 2 m telescope is located. In addition, a few programmes at other places, such as Sangamner, Kolhapur, Baramati, Aurangabad, Jalgaon, Goa etc. were also conducted on invitations.

These programmes are essentially carried out by us at SciPOP. Some amateur astronomers and volunteer science educators have also been trained to run these programmes. After the wide use of the mobile planetarium, IUCAA has acquired one more unit in December 2007. The 2nd unit has been put into immediate action. In collaboration with the AndhaShraddha Nirmulan Samiti, it is now touring the state of Maharashtra. It has already reached in excess of 150,000 people & is expected to reach out to ~300 more village schools.

The first unit is being used for inhouse teaching at IUCAA and lending to interested schools in and around Pune. 25 schools / colleges have already availed this facility to the joy of their students and teachers alike.

We invite teachers to make use of this opportunity.

Those interested in recieving training & borrowing IUCAA Taramandal should verify the above requirements and send us a letter/an e-mail with the following information :

  1. Name of the requesting person
  2. Name of the school / organization
  3. Name of the person in-charge
  4. Address for contact
  5. Contact Telephone number / mobile / e-mail
  6. Preferred date & time of Programme & Return
  7. Do you have any person trained in use of this Taramandal?
  8. Number of students / spectators planned
  9. Some words about the spectators (i.e. their general status/medium of education)
  10. Any other expectations from us...

Our Address:
Post Bag #4, Ganeshkhind
Pune 411 007


In case sending a letter/e-mail is not possible, we can be contacted on phone at :

(020) 25604603/4 - Samir Dhurde