Crater on Earth : Lonar – Poornima Mittal

Crater on Earth - Lonar

Crater on Earth : Lonar – Poornima Mittal

 

Always had this fascination towards the mysteries that have been created by nature and man. I  am  not the too adventurous types but love to explore the places with historical significance and more particularly those which have not been exposed much to the human footfalls.. During 2015 ,when my brother told me  about this place where meteorite had fallen some 50,000 years ago I was extremely excited to know more about it . Then I started my search and laid my hands on a book where I read briefly about this “Hyper Velocity” meteorite lake which was formed due to impact by a meteorite .The more I read, the more thrilling it started to sound. It took me a little while to realize that I can  actually visit this place since its in Maharashtra itself ! This place called “LONAR” is situated around 300 km from Aurangabad and around 100 km from Jalna in Budhana District which meant that it  was just an overnight journey from Mumbai, where I lived. Till that time our holidays were only to those flagship locations available in any travel guide .But this out of the ordinary location no one had promoted – this fact made it all the more exciting !  Also the name LONAR sounded astronomical which further excited me to explore. So In July  2016 , along with my husband, son, brother, sister-in-law and sister , I set out  by train to Aurangabad. We stayed for couple of days at Aurangabad and absorbed in the beauty of the world famous Ajanta and Ellora caves .On the third day we left for Lonar. It was a good four  hour journey and a comfortable drive. We had arranged for our stay at MTDC’s ( Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporations) hotel which seemed to be the only place for stay for tourists.

On reaching there we found that not only did the place have a natural history but also had man-made wonders  which took our breath away! We reached the small sleepy town at around 12 noon and looked for the mystic lake which was nowhere in site .We asked the villagers who pointed up to a fenced area a circumference and that’s when we realized that we were standing on the top periphery of the crater ! On reaching the fenced area we looked down and were astounded on seeing the lake which lay 500 feet below .The lake was vast and seemed extra terrestrial ! The circumference of the lake is  4 km .The upper circumference is 6 km. The dia of it is 1.8 km  .

We were mesmerized by its beauty ! It seemed exact circular in shape .The wind was so strong , it literally blew us away . After  standing there for about half an hour and admiring this miracle, we decided to finally go and check in the hotel. We were like a bunch of kids  who had explored something like a Star Trek expedition – Journey into frontier space where no man has gone before  t\. After checking in we decided to trek down the lake the next day.  So the next day we started our journey to the supernatural lake  .We learnt from villagers that there are 9 old temples along the bank of the lake – on hearing  this our excitement knew no bounds! The adrenaline just kept gushing out at the thought of  exploring  both man made and natural beauty. We started our trek at 10:30 am and it took us half an hour to reach the lower portion of the lake .We began our walk along the lake’s circular bank .We first reached Ganesh  temple . This temple had lot of vegetation on its roof and seemed that it was very recently discovered by locals .It had idols of Ganesh and Shiva. The walls had beautiful carvings and was made in the typical old  style of architecture .We captured the enchanting beauty in our cameras and heart and moved on. There  was a proper trail which was formed by locals and we found it very easy to walk through. We reached the next temple which was of Lord Shiva, however we could not enter inside as there were lot of bats circling within the structure. There was a care taker appointed by local administration who was standing guard at the temple.The temple seemed to have been struck by an earth quake as the wall stones and the ceiling stones , intricately carved, were strewn around. Each one depicted a different yet engaging sculpture.

We then moved and reached a place from where we could access the water of the lake.The whole atmosphere seemed straight out of a dream wherein we were standing in the huge crater with mountain walls encircling it .For a split second I also experienced fear .The water was absolutely green. We took a sample in a bottle and couldn’t believe that the water was so rich in minerals that it had  turned the colour altogether. The water is 7 times saltier than sea water . Standing here  seemed much better than standing at a sea shore at Goa or Pattaya ! We moved on and reached the next temple which was the biggest and was still worshipped by locals . it was known as “Jai Kamalja Mata” temple.It was beautiful and we got transported back to the time when it would have stood supreme in its full glory. After praying we then started our return journey, as the path to move forward did not seem to be very friendly We had covered only half of the periphery of the lake. We reached back to the spot where we had reached on our trek down. We thought of walking in opposite direction along the lake to explore more temples but since it had begun to pour heavily we decided to trek back to top. There were no tourists in this place. It was a one hour walk along half the circumference .There were temporary steps made of stones by locals to make the descent and climb easier. We took around 45 minutes to reach back to the top .

We were all in a daze and were silent as we were in the thoughts imagining how this celestial activity would have happened 50,000 years ago ……as to how the meteriote would have hit ……how would the earth have shuddered then…..how the chemical reaction would have resulted in this mineral heavy water being formed after years.

With these crazy thoughts  we reached our MTDC hotel .After shaking ourselves back to reality we agreed to have food .We had not realized it till then that we were actually very hungry .

Till today when I think about the lake a feeling of thrill runs through my body and I cant stop feeling amazed by its beauty!

By the way, according to mythology, Lonar acquired its name from Lonasura who was a demon and was killed by Lord Vishnu. Was it the Brahmastra of Vishnu which had created this crater  or was it the celestial meteorite, you  take your guess !!!!

  • Bhupinder Kumar

    you have really chosen a very mysterious place … I am liking the place..may be this rainy season.. I will catch up..

    • Poornima

      Thanks bhupi for allowing me to post in your blog ! U must visit the place for a lifetime experience !!

  • Biju Gopinath

    Nicely written – Mystery deepens n would definitely like to explore this mystic place of Gods n meteors

    • Poornima

      Thanks !!!!

      • Poornima

        Its a must visit !!

  • Avi Mittal

    The Lonar lake is both saline and alkaline in nature. Also, there’s another lake called the Ambar Lake situated about 700-750 metres away from the Lonar crater and was believed to have formed from a splinter of the meteorite that also created a depression in the ground.

  • Avi Mittal
    • Poornima

      Thanks avi for the pano !!!

  • Bhupinder Kumar

    Poornima.. you must share more of such unknown places…

    • Poornima

      Sure !!

  • Bhupinder Kumar

    Avi I do wait for your stories too…