Maharashtra’s mystical and most well kept secret is the Lonar Lake, thanks to a meteor hitting earth over 52,000 years ago. Yup, you heard that right, 52,000 years ago! Hence the Lonar Lake was formed.
This is the Earth’s largest and only hyper-velocity impact crater in basaltic rock. And was created 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!
Why is the Lonar Lake a mystery?
Even with almost 30,000 to 1,50,000 meteors that plummet towards Earth each year, this one actually hit and created the Lonar Lake. Not many people are aware of this beautiful and mysterious place. Why mysterious, you ask? Well, the lake has made even NASA scientists and Geological Survey of India officials question their theories and wonder how is it possible. The lake is both alkaline and saline & micro-organisms which are rarely found anywhere else on earth are supported in this environment. Your compass will never work here, and what lies at the bottom, no one knows.
Why is the Lonar Lake a secret?
Many tourists visit places that surround this lake, like the UNESCO World Heritage Sites Ajanta and Ellora caves but don’t visit this lake because they had no idea about it’s existence. This gorgeous lake is just a 4 hour drive from Aurangabad; the road has quaint villages and paddy fields, up until the Government guest house. The trek to the astronomical marvel is a difficult one, with the path to the lake being slippery; quicksand on the banks making this trek a real precarious one.
Despite the falls, scraped knees and bruises, you might get along the trek on your way through the jungle, coming across curious minerals, wandering into temples ruins, now home for insects, bats and other creepy crawlies.
If you like bird watching, then the forest area is filled with migratory and local birds from red-wattled lapwings, blue jays to tailor birds, parakeet and peafowl.
You will also be able to see barking deer, chinkaras, monitor lizards, snakes, brightly colored insects and amphibians as well.
The temples around the lake and the stories related to them is an experience you must not miss.
The Shankar Ganesha temple, noteworthy for its rectangular Shiva idol.
The Ram Gaya temple, named for Lord Rama’s departure; and the Kamalja Devi temple, which comes to life during Navratri.
The Dhara or Sita Nahani temple, which if myth is believed, is a place where Sita is said to have bathed. The uphill climb although a strenuous one is the only way to access this temple.
The Daitya Sudan temple is a homage to Lord Vishnu for slaying the demon Lonasura.
The sculptures around in all temples, has the same kind of appeal as Khajuraho would, with the erotic depictions and plundering beasts all being carved in stone.
Definitely a Zoom-worthy trip!