When my friend showed me some of his photos with the crater lake formed by the volcanic eruption of an ancient volcano Mt. Mazama, Oregon, USA. I was really astonished by the beauty of that lake. And more importantly the scientific reason behind the formation of the lake, which made me curious about the lake. Since going to the USA to visit that lake was not possible for me, So I started searching for the Crater lakes in India. And luckily I got to know about the Lonar crater lake which is nearly 500 KMs away from my place.
The scientific reason behind the formation of the Lonar crater lake is different than the crater lake formed by Mt. Mazama. Lonar crater is located in the Buldhana district of Maharashtra. You can reach here by train, by bus, or by personal vehicle. If you are traveling via bus or train, you have to reach till Jalna, from where you’ll get a direct bus for Lonar village. And once you reach Lonar village bus station, just one km away from there a beautiful Lonar crater lake would be waiting for you.
Mythological fact behind the Lonar:
It is said that once a demon named Lonasura who devastated the whole society terribly. He used to harass the saints and common people of the society. Lord Vishnu decided to come on earth to kill him and to free the society from Lonasura’s atrocities. While killing him a few drops of Lonasura’s blood fell on Lord Vishnu’s body. Now to purify Lord Vishnu from this blood, a part of river Ganga emerged from the Kashi. And by taking a bath in it Lord Vishnu got purified. It is said that even today the water of the river Ganga is flowing at Lonar from Gomukh (Cow faced) temple. Based on the demon Lonasura this place is known as Lonar today.
I reached Jalna at 6:30 in the morning and took a direct bus for Lonar village which departed at 7 AM from Jalna. I reached Lonar village bus station by 10:30 AM. Lonar crater is located just one km away from the bus station. You can walk or take an auto-rickshaw to reach the main gate of the Lonar crater lake. This crater comes under the authority of the forest department. Camping and night stay is not allowed in the forest area of the crater. You can take an accommodation at the MTDC hotel which is 1 km away from the crater’s main gate. You have to do descend hiking for around 20-30 minutes through the forest to reach the rim of the crater lake.
Scientific fact behind the Lonar Crater:
More than 50,000 years ago a Meteoroid which was a Basaltic rock collided with the Earth from the space. This rock collided at an angle of 45 degrees with the Earth. And it formed an oval-shaped hole which was nearly 170 meters deep. Later, due to the accumulation of rainwater, it became a lake. And today that lake is known as Lonar crater lake. The water of this lake is an alkaline water with a ph level of 10.5. And due to this ph level, the color of the water is green. No living things are present in this lake due to its high ph level. You can find the references of this lake in the holy books like Skanda Purana, Padma Purana, and Ain-i-Akbari.
The descend hiking for the Lonar crater lake starts from the Gomukh temple which is located at the main gate of the crater. While descending you will find a couple of temples dedicated to Lord Shiva on your way which are Kumareshwar temple, Yagneshwar temple, and many other temples. And when you finally reach to the rim of the lake, the beauty is just amazing. While standing there I was literally feeling that I am standing in the middle of a cricket stadium.
Visiting the Lonar crater lake was an amazing experience for me. I was really surprised by the beauty of the crater. Especially after knowing its mythological and scientific history.
We don’t need to travel thousands of miles to see the beauty, sometimes it present just around us. All we need it some extra efforts to see it.