The Lonar crater is the world’s only salt water lake in basaltic rock, believed to have been caused by a meteorite hitting Earth around 52,000 years ago. It is surrounded by forests with a large variety of birds, particularly peacocks, owls, red-wattled lapwings and ducks.
Lonar has its own ecological system. As the sun sets, the entire lake appears differently. The lake water sweeps across the shore like sea water, and the birds, wolves, peacocks and other creatures start making their presence felt. It is a wonderful scene to watch the sun rising or setting below the lake walls. The lake has a remarkable presence of splinters of glass confirming the meteorite’s impact, which caused the enormous temperature rise thereby turning the sand into glass.
Numerous temples surround the lake, around the rim of the crater and further down around the lake, most of which stand in ruins today, except for the temple of Daitya Sudan at the centre of the Lonar town, which was built in honour of Vishnu’s victory over the giant Lonasur. It is a fine example of early Hindu architecture. Vishnumandir, Wagh Mahadev, Mora Mahadev, Munglyacha Mandir and Goddess Kamalaja Devia are the other temples found inside the crater.
The nearest train stations are Shegaon near Khamgaon and Malkapur near Bhusawal railway-junction, on the Mumbai-Bhusawal-Nagpur route of Central Railway of Indian Railways and is around 100 km from Lonar. Buses also run to Lonar from Nagpur, Akola, Buldhana, Malkapur and Jalna.
If travelling from Nagpur, one must take a bus till Mehkar near Washim and then head to Lonar. From Mumbai or Pune, the most convenient route is to first reach Aurangabad via bus (Mumbai and Pune) or train/flight (from Mumbai only) and then take a state transport bus to Lonar. From Pune, air-conditioned and regular buses run every hour from the Shivajinagar bus stand to Aurangabad.
Maharashtra Tourism runs a resort just 50 meters from the lake. This property is modern, well maintained and cheap. There also are several low cost and simple accommodations called lodges available in the town.
The food available in Lonar has influence from both Khandesh and Marathwada cuisines. It is unique and simple but spicy.
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