A crater lake in India!
What am I talking about? I am talking about a lake which was created a by a meteor crash about 5000 years ago. This lake, discovered in the year 1823 and known today as the Lonar Crater Lake, is a must visit for people who would never associate India with craters and meteors!
The Lonar Crater Lake
The Lonar Crater Lake is a visual sight in itself. Completely bluish-green in colour, its sheer width and breath is enough to make you stop and take in the view. Located at Maharashtra, India, this lake has the fortune of not being too crowded at any point of time in the year. However, in spite of the ignorance of the majority of people, there are good facilities for travelers for going there. Travel guides are there as well for giving you a tour of the lake and also for explaining its existence.
Worlds’ third largest
The Lonar Lake is the world’s third largest crater and is situated in a small of town of the same name located at the Buldana district of Maharashtra. This crater has been the biggest factor behind the major developments in this small town. The hotels, the transport and the locals have all been beneficiaries of this cataclysmic event which took place about 50,000 years ago.
A 2 million tonnes meteor!
The crater which hit Lonar was about 2 million tonnes in size and it must have smashed onto the earth at the greatest of speeds. The end result was a huge crater which was 150 meters in depth and 1.83 kilometers in terms of diameter. Today, Lonar attracts scientifically minded travelers as well as casual tourists who are looking for something different. Several big organizations, such as the US Geological Survey and the Smithsonian Institute have come here to take a look at this wonder.
For bird watchers!
Other than the scientific angle, the lake is also a big treasure trove for bird watchers and lovers. It is a home to a number of different types of birds like egrets, coots, grey wagtails, magpies, storks, moor hens, grebes, robins, tailorbirds and many more.
The lake is surrounded by hills which are not very high. The shape of the lake is almost oval and its sides are completely covered with vegetation. Other than the natural elements, the lake is surrounded by a number of temples. Most of these are almost in ruins now because of lack of preservation. The existence of these temples around the lake indicate towards the fact that it was considered to be holy at one point of time.
Only three temples, the Daitya Sudan temple, The Gomukh temple and the Kamalja Devi temple are still standing and are good examples of Hindu architecture. The Daitya Sudan temple is dedicated to God Vishnu and is the biggest of them all. Even though the Kamalja Devi temple is located just besides the lake, the water never comes in contact with the temple, regardless of whether it’s a high tide or a low one.
Alkaline Vs Neutral
The most interesting thing about the Lonar Lake is that it houses two totally different ecosystems within few meters of each other. While the water of the lake is totally alkaline, the outer atmosphere is completely neutral. Both of these ecosystems feature their own distinct flora and fauna and these are known to even mix and blend with each other!
How to get to Lonar
Aurangabad is about 122 kilometers away from Lonar and it is very easy to get there. If you are travelling from Mumbai, you just have to take a plane to reach there. After getting down at Aurangabad, you have to take a bus or a cab to reach Lonar. The distance can be covered in about 3 hours even with maximum traffic. It is advised to reach the crater by 9 am because it takes about 3 hours to explore the whole perimeter of the lake. Yes, it is that big!
The government rest house at Lonar is pretty decent and offers a great view of the lake. However, it has only two suites and has no phone number to call for reservation. Rooms can be only booked from PWD offices at Aurangabad, Mumbai and Pune. There is also the MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation) holiday resort (Phone number - 022 2284 5678) which comprises of an in-house restaurant, rooms with all kinds of amenities and a dormitory as well. Rooms can be booked from the MTDC offices at Mumbai, Aurangabad, Amravati and Nagpur.
Don’t forget to:
- Carry food and water
- Wear appropriate shoes
- Wear sunscreen
- Carry a camera