Lonar Lake: A Crater with an impact
Whenever we look at the wonders of nature, it makes us realize how mysterious the universe is. No matter how much we claim to know and understand it, there are and will always be phenomena that are beyond our comprehension. One such wondrous gift of nature is the Lonar Lake, one of Maharashtra’s best-kept secrets. The product of a prehistoric cosmic event, the lake has attracted visitors for its natural beauty, historic significance and religious references.
How to reach
Lonar is a small village in Buldhana district of Maharashtra and is about 380 Km from Pune, 370 Km from Mumbai, and 140kms from Aurangabad.You can book an trustworthy taxi service from Pune and visit Lonar.
The Lonar Lake and its neighbourhood is the highlight of its namesake village and make for a quaint combination of science, religion, and folk culture. The natural water body is said to be formed some 52000 years ago, when a meteorite, weighing 2 million tonnes, crashed on the earth’s mantle at an estimated speed of 90,000 kmph. The impact of this huge astral body was profound enough to create a 1.8 Km wide and 150 meters deep hole. The current diameter of the lake is 1.2 Km and the water level is 137 meters deep.
Major research and development institutions like the Smithsonian, the United States Geological Survey, Geological Society of India, the University of Sagar and the Physical Research Laboratory, etc. have conducted endless and extensive studies of both the Lonar and the Amber Lakes and its perimeters, with the objective of understanding the level of its cosmic impact.
Over evolution of the planet, natural vegetation and rain water fed the crater, turning the void into a serene and verdant zone. The lush landscape has been a paradise for nature lovers, trekkers, and geologists, each with their own search of comprehending this mysterious landmark. While travelers find this greenish water body visually delightful and make this their escape into nature, scientists seek answers to most pertinent questions.
A National Geo-Heritage Monument, the Lonar Lake is the only known hyper velocity impact crater in basaltic rock anywhere on Earth. Also, it it’s the only water body to be found today which is both alkaline and saline at the same time which is believed to support micro-organisms that are not found anywhere else on the planet. Geologists have also discovered that some areas of the crater makes any compass or measuring device dysfunctional, adding to the enigma of this blue-green ecosystem.
Exploring the Lake
A small circular depression called the Ambar Lake, lies about 700 meters from the main crater, and is said to be caused by the splinter that created the Lonar Lake. Locally, this smaller water body is also known as the ChhotaLonar (small Lonar). You can also find a Hanuman Temple near the lake area, whose idol is believed to have magnetic properties.
The two distinct layers of water (outer saline and inner alkaline) have their own flora and fauna, making it a complete natural enclave. This entire zone is a haven for numerous rare and exotic species of plants, animals, and birds. In cooler months like monsoon or winter, you can spot plenty of resident and migratory birds like the black-winged stilts, common and ruddy Shelducks (European migrants), Shovellers, teals, herons, red-wattled lapwings, rollers or blue jays, Baya weavers, parakeets, hoopoes, larks, tailorbirds, magpies, robins, swallows, and many more. There are also lots of peafowls, chinkara, and gazelles, roaming in the forested areas adjoining the lake.
Very recently, the entire lake area was declared as the Lonar Wildlife Sanctuary, in order to protect its life forms.
Visually splendid and naturally bountiful, the mystical and mysterious Lonar Lake has a lot more to unearth its secrets that are still lurking in its bed, even after thousands of years. Travellers from Mumbai can book a trust-worthy and cheap car rental service and explore this unique region.
For more such entertaining stories do
on twitter. You are awesome!