Lonar Crater Lake – The only meteorite lake in the country

Lonar Lake is a saline soda lake located at Lonar in the Buldhana district of Indian state of Maharashtra. It was created by meteor impact during the Pleistocene epoch and is the only known hyper velocity impact crater in basaltic rock anywhere on earth. Researchers believe that meteor of about 60 meter diameter and weighing a million tones in the form of a stone had struck the earth at 20km/sec high velocity creating tremendous energy & heat and a cloud of molten ash and dust. It resulted in the destruction of neighbouring flora and fauna. The explosion was equivalent to that of a 6 megaton bomb. The meteor is believed to have been buried 600 meter below the crater level. The impacting crater struck at an acute angle from the northern side and thus the walls of crater slope gently over here. Rest everywhere, an uniform slope of 26 degrees is present.

The lake has a mean diameter of 1.2 kilometeres and is about 137 meters below the crater rim. The crater rim is about 1.8 kilometeres in diameter. The crater’s age is usually estimated to be 52,000 ± 6000 years.

The forest department have planted different species of plants inside the rim of the lake, which gives an exotic experience to the visitors. It is home to many birds and animals. Near the crater around the margin of the lake, there are a number of temples which are mostly in ruins. These temples were believed to have been built during the 12th and 13th centuries. Some of these temples were constructed during the Yadava period.

View of the Lonar crater lake from near the MTDC Guest House
The trail around the lake through the vegetation
Another view of the lake
The trail around the lake through the vegetation
A red-wattled lapwig in the lake
Black-winged stilts in the lake
Ducks inside the lake
Black-winged stilts in the lake
I encountered this bulbul during my trail around the lake
Ruins of the temple around the lake
More ruins
Around the lake
Ruins of the temple around the lake
Anther view of the lake
Ruins of the temple around the lake
The trail around the lake through the vegetation
Trees around the lake
Ruins of the temple around the lake
Ruins of the temple around the lake
Ruins of the temple around the lake
Ruins of the temple around the lake
Ruins of the temple around the lake
More ruins

Gomukh Temple needs a special mention due to the perennial stream which emerges from here; the source of which is yet to be identified. The pilgrims, visiting the temple takes a bath in this water.

Steps towards the Gomukh temple
The perennial stream inside the Gomukh temple
Gomukh temple
MTDC Guest House
MTDC Guest House

The Lonar Lake was mentioned in many ancient scriptures such as Skanda Purana, the Padma Purana and the Ain-i-Akbari. The first European to visit the lake was British officer, J E Alexander in 1823.

Ambar Lake
Not far from the Lonar lake is a small lake called Ambar Lake which is believed to be caused by a splinter of the meteor that created the Lonar crater lake.

Ambar Lake

Daitya Sudan Temple

One should not miss the mighty Daitya Sudan Temple with its impressive stone works located at the centre of the Lonar town, a kilometre away from the lake. This is a Vishnu temple dated to the Chalukya Dynasty which ruled central and Southern India between 6th and 12th centuries. It belongs to the Hemadpanthi style of architecture. It features carvings similar to those seen at Khajuraho temples. The diety of this temple is made of an ore with a high metal content that resembles stone. The exterior walls are also covered with carved figures. The plinth of the temple is about 1.5 m in height and the unfinished roof suggests an intended pyramidal for the tower.

The temple receive its name from its connection with the story of the demon Lavanasura or Lonasura who used to dwell in the crater close by and who was eventually slain by Vishnu in his incarnation as Daitya Sudan.

The temple measures 105 feet long by 84 feet wide and is with three chambers. The inner most chamber is garbh gruha, the sanctum sanctorum, where the idol of Lord Vishnu standing atop Lavanasur is present.

Daitya Sudan Temple
The main entrance of the temple
The idol of lord Vishnu standing atop Lavanasur
Architectural details of the temple
Architectural details of the temple
Architectural details of the temple
Architectural details of the temple
Architectural details of the temple
Architectural details of the temple

How to reach:
Lonar is easily accessible from Mumbai via Jalna. Jalna station lies on the Mumbai-Nanded railway line. There are frequent bus services available from Jalna to Lonar which is about 90km less than 3 hours.

The MTDC guest house is located very close to the crater lake is the best option for accommodation. The guest house also provides one of the best views of the lake.

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Little Egret

The little egret is a species of small heron in the family Ardeidae. This white bird is with slender black beak, long black legs and yellow feet. It feeds in shallow water and on land, consuming variety of small creature. The adult little egret is 55-65 cm long with an 88-106 cm wingspan and weights 350-550 g. In the breeding season the adult has two long plumes on the nape that form a crest. Little egrets are sociable birds and are often seen in small flocks.

Feathered Friends – VII

Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull (Juvenile)
Great Black-backed Gull (Juvenile)
Great Black-backed Gulls (Juvenile)
A Herring Gull in flight
Herring Gull
Red-billed Gull
A Herring Gull in flight
Indian Pond Heron
Indian Pond Heron
Sandpiper
Sandpiper
Sandpiper
Sandpiper

Purple Sunbird
Purple Sunbird
Purple Sunbird
Rose ringed Parakeet
Rose ringed Parakeet
Rose ringed Parakeet
Rose ringed Parakeet
Rose ringed Parakeet
Baya Weaver
Baya Weaver
A pair of Baya Weavers
Baya Weavers
Purple Sunbird
Purple Sunbird
Red-vented Bulbul
Red-vented Bulbul
Red-vented Bulbul
Long-tailed Shrike
Long-tailed Shrike
Long-tailed Shrike
Long-tailed Shrike
Black Kite

Herring Gull
Herring Gull

Thane Flamingo Sanctuary

These wading wonders were clicked at the Thane Flamingo Sanctuary. The Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary lies along the western banks of the Thane Creek, which is an inlet of the Arabian Sea. It was declared a sanctuary by the Maharashtra Government in 2015. These mudflats attract flamingoes from the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat in large numbers between the months of November and May. Some of the other birds that can be spotted here are the black-headed Ibis, Oriental Stork, Caspian Terns and Ospreys to name a few. The easiest way to reach the sanctuary is through the Airoli Vashi Bridge.

Spotted Deer

Spotted Deer (Scientific Name: Axis axis) is a species of deer found in the Indian subcontinent, which is locally known as Cheetal. Males are larger than females and antlers are present only on males. Male deer reach about 90 cm and female up to 70 cm at the shoulder. Males may weigh 30-75 kg and females weigh up to 25-45 kg. The upper parts are golden completely covered in white spots. The abdomen, rump, throat, insides of legs, ears and tail are all white. The three-pronged antlers are about 1m long.

The natural habitat of the Cheetal deer comprises of open wood land in grassy areas. They prefer to live near rivers and other sources of water. They are found living in small herds of 20 to 30 animals

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