India has launched its Mars Orbiter Mission from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre on the country’s east coast.
The spacecraft is expected to reach the Red Planet in September 2014 after a flight time of 300 days.
India is aiming to become the fourth space agency to reach the lunar surface.
Critics of the mission have questioned the morality of the 54 million-euro project when close to 33 percent of the population live under the international poverty line.
The head of the country’s space agency said it was a great opportunity for India to demonstrate its technological capability.
The launch is the latest salvo in a growing space race between the Asian powers of India, China, Japan and South Korea.