Are you a traveller? Specialy love to explore some less known and naturally wonderful places?? And what if the place is having unique scientific or more precisely geological background? Thinking of visiting such offbeat but scenic places..then you must, must visit Lonar Lake in Buldhana district of Maharashtra.
Yes, I am talking about the the Earth’s largest and only hyper-velocity impact crater in basaltic rock which was created 52,000 years ago when a 2 million tonne meteor whilst plummeting towards earth at 90,000 km/hr gouged a hole which was 150 m deep and 1.8 km wide!
What is the mistry about the lake ?
This lake has very unique ecological environment because its water is both alkline and saline . Micro organisms found here are rarely found anywhere else on earth are supported in this environment. NASA, Geological Survay of India and many such organizations conducted various experiments to know the reason behind this ..but yet no one really found out the answers.
The basin which has an oval shape (almost round) with circumference at top of about 8 km (five miles). The sides of the basin rise abruptly at an angle of about 75°. At the base, the lake has a circumference of about 4.8 km (three miles). The slopes are covered with various trees. The water of the lake contains various salts or sodas, and during dry weather when evaporation reduces the water level, large quantities of soda are collected. The lake is a haven for a wide range of plant and animal life,resident and migratory birds and one can enjoy birdwatching here.
The lake is surrounded with many beautiful temples and sculptures and have very interesting mythological stories beind all of them.
Lonar is a taluka place in Mehkar tahsil is one of the oldest settlements , tradition ascribing its foundation to the Krita Yuga, the first of the Hindu ages. The story of the demon Lavnasur is given in the Skanda-Purana .The demon lived in a subterranean abode from which he used to devastate the surrounding country. Lord Vishnu, assumed the form of a beautiful youth— Daityasudana to destroy Lavnasur as he aspired to wage war against the gods themselves. They, becoming alarmed, petitioned Vishnu to destroy him and Vishnu having won by his beauty the assistance of the demon's two sisters, discovered his abode.Then with the touch of his toe Vinshnu is said to have unearthed the giant, and having overcome him in a single combat and after that Vishnu buried lonasura in the pit which was his home.
The Daityasudan temple located in lonar village narrates this story of lord Vishnu's victory on Lonasura through the sculptures beautifully carved on its walls. This temple dated to the Chalukya Dynasty which ruled Central and Southern India between the 6th and 12th centuries. It belongs to the Hemadpanthi class and is built in the form of an irregular star.The deity of this temple is made of an ore with a high metal content that resembles stone. The idol of lord vishnu standing atop Lavanasur . The present day idol was made by bholse rulers of Nagpur after the original went missing. On the roof one can see beautiful cravings of puranic stories viz. Killing of Lavanasur by Lord Krishna and appearance of Dhar of Lonar; story of Kansa and Krishna, story of Narasimha and HiranyKashyap and lastly raskrida.
Many more temples like Kamalja Devi mandir, Ramgaya and Sita nahani ( Gomukh ), Shankar Ganesh temple, partially submerged and noted for rectangular shivaa idol, Motha Maruti temple near the Ambar crater lake, with the idol made of rock believed to be splinter of the meteor that created the crater and having high magnetic properties, are standing their telling lot of such interesting stories which add an different element to original scenic beauty and mystic atmosphere of lonar lake.
Serene green waters and stony temples ,layering of jungle around it gives sense of absorbing stress in observer's mind and a feeling of calmness in the company of this natural wonder.
How to reach ?
Most tourists come to nearby Aurangabad to visit the Ajanta and Ellora UNESCO World Heritage Sites, but never make it as far as Lonar. The four-hour drive from Aurangabad to Lonar is graet to explore and one can get comfortable accommodation at the Government guesthouse, an excellent place to start your astronomical adventure.
Aurangabad is the closest airport to Lonar, with direct, daily flights from Delhi and Mumbai. More than 20 trains run between Mumbai and Aurangabad .
The central bus stand in Aurangabad is about 1km from the train station. Buses to Lonar ply via Jalna and take about 5 hours. MSRTC, Shivneri and private buses run overnight services from Mumbai to Aurangabad .
Maharashtra state tourism department also organises Lonar Festival with various kinds of events like astronomical tours or biodiversity information treks around lonar so that this beautiful and virgin place can be explored in graet way by tourists .
Overall Lonar Lake is a one of its kind destination which one must visit to experience its exquisite natural beauty !!!
Keep traveling & stay happy !!