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Travel guide for Lonar Crater (Maharashtra)

by Payel Kundu on February 24, 2017

View of lake from crater base

State :

Maharashtra

Destination Type :

Crater, Scenic

Popularity :

Low

What to expect :

Lonar crater was formed about 50,000 years ago and the origin of it is still debatable. The reason is suspected to be either a volcano or a meteor impact. The lake has been of great interest for various stream of scientists due to its geological & geochemical significance and the unique ecosystem it has managed to create. However, tourism development in Lonar is fairly recent and the crowd is still quite low. While tourist attraction includes many temples in and around lonar, the lake remains the main attraction for this place. The crater itself hosts around 27 temples which were built during different time-point in history, adding an archaeological value to this place. And if one is not keen into the scientific details or the archaeological significance, the lake in itself is quite scenic and can be visited for that sole reason.

Reaching there :

Traveling from Mumbai, Lonar can be reached by bus or train. Bus can be taken up to Aurangabad, whereas if you are traveling by train Jalna would be the right station since it is closer to Lonar. Aurangabad is connected by train with Delhi and Kolkata as well, although the frequency is low. By air closest airport would be Nagpur, which is 356 km away. Cabs are easily available in Nagpur station to hire for the covering this distance.

Aurangabad/Jalna to Lonar (distance 150 & 90 km) can be travelled by state bus or hired vehicle. For getting a hired vehicle, Aurangabad is a better choice since it’s a bigger city. But you will be able to get vehicles to hire from Jalna as well. State buses run from Aurangabad to Lonar and passes through Jalna on the way. It is recommended to stop at Jalna if the preferred mode of transportation is bus.

Jalna bus stop can be reached in Auto rickshaws by paying 50-100 bucks (6 km), from where state buses can be taken. Direct buses take around 2.5-3 hours to reach destination and the fare is 95 Rs per person (as of Dec-15). In absence of direct bus, one can take a bus up to Sultanpur, from where frequent buses and shared vehicles are available for Lonar.

Pathway around the lake running through forest

Move around :

Lonar is a small town and quite walkable if need be. The distance from bus stand to the crater is little more than 2 km. Autos are easily available near the bus stand/market area. However, further inside, near the lake, it’s much harder to come by. Hotel (MTDC) can arrange the auto if you are staying there or else recommended to take contact number of some auto driver while on your way to the crater or other attractions.

Roads are good and if you have a vehicle, you can take it up to the crater easily.

Major Attractions :

  • The Crater: Lonar crater is perfectly circular with 1.8 km diameter. The lake is on the floor of the crater which can be accesses by climbing down the slope. The lake can be accessed through many sides of the crater where a walking path has been created by locals over the years. The one near MTDC is quite common, however there might be an easier route near the Gaumukh temple located on the North-east side of the crater. While the roads are not extremely steep and might be easy enough to climb for someone young and fit, elderly people might find it difficult to climb. There are trees along the slope and part of the roads downward. These trees gets denser once you reach the crater floor. A road run through the forest making a circle around the lake. A branch of this road leads to the beach of the lake, but the lake can be reached through the forest directly by walking off road as well.
  • The Lake: The Lake is of 1.3 km diameter and made of saline water. Ph level of the water is quite high compared to regular water and might be harmful to touch. Many aquatic birds are found in and around the lake. Due to difficulty of the road down, not many people will be found near the lake usually giving it a very secluded feeling. It’s especially beautiful during sunset time with the birds sound and the mild light of the evening’s reflecting on the water.
  • Temples in the Crater: There supposed to be 27 temples inside the crater. You will come across some of them while descending the slope and some while taking a stroll on the road around the lake. These temples were built through different ages and vary in the lords they once worshipped. One of the temple located in a clearing at the south-west corner is still functional.
  • Gaumukh Temple & Dhar: There’s a water spring which mixes with the crates water, located at the north-east corner. The Gaumukh temple is established around this spring.
  • Daitya Sudan Temple: This temple is located further from the crater inside the town/village. This is a beautiful temple which has managed to remain intact after all these years. There are many carvings on the outer side and mythological stories are printed on the walls & ceiling inside. You might come across a man named Sudhakar Bugdane around this temple, who has dedicated his life in fighting to bring eco-tourism in Lonar and preserving the lake. It would be a delightful encounter.
  • Sleeping Maruti Temple: At the time Lonar crater was formed, the explosion turned many stones in that area into magnetic. The idol in Maruti temple is one such rock and the magnetic power can be tested by use of compos.  

Small temple at the bank of lake

Best time to visit :

During and right after monsoon, the place turns very green and become quite scenic for one to enjoy.

Winter months are good as well and can be better suited for sightseeing. During winter months migratory birds golden coloured Brahminy ducks arrive in the lake and it’s a good view for bird lovers.

Summers get quite hot in this region and it is not recommended to visit Lonar during this period.

Places to stay :

MTDC is the only place available in Lonar, which is located exactly at the edge of the crater. Rooms can be booked through MTDC site for same.

It’s possible to make a day trip to Lonar by staying in Aurangabad as well, since there’s not much to see in Lonar and the distance to Aurangabad is not very high.

 

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