lonar travel information guide

Attractions in Lonar

While the crater is the foremost thing to strike you, there are interesting ruins and temples to be seen at the base of the crater. Going down into the crater from the surface, however, is tough as there are no handrails or elevators. Locals believe the crater itself is the body of the goddess Lonar Devi and she does not take kindly to construction on her sides. All previous attempts at making a sturdier staircase have been washed away in the rains, and given the intensity of local feeling about it, the authorities have been content with the traditional carved rock path.

Once down, the first sight to greet you is a ruined temple set into a dense forest. This is supposed to be a Rama temple but only the basic structure in stone is left now. There are many temples set around the edge of the lake, all of them constructed in the 12th-13th century in stone but the condition of all of them is not encouraging. The Vishnu temple and Devi temple are in better condition than the rest but it can easily take up to three hours, and the temples are scattered all around the rim. It is best to make an early descent, as climbing back up under the midday sun is not a suitable option.

The crater is host to many species of aquatic birds like flamingos, moorhen, coots, and dabchick and so on. Peacocks are to be seen making spectacular glides from tree to tree. Unlike the rest of the country they do not even need to forage upon the ground; so plentiful is the insect and small prey population in the vegetation. The trees grow to be rather tall and they form a canopy that filters out most of the heat. You can even see dung beetles the size of your palm busily rolling, right in your path. There is no danger of snakes but geckos abound. One feature that has a potential to be a nuisance is the monkey population. They are immensely territorial and throw fruits and twigs at your heads if you have ventured near the trees they stake out.

The crater is not the only spot worth seeing in Lonar. A piece of the meteorite had broken off and smashed into the ground about a kilometer away, forming the Ambar Lake. It is a pleasant enough spot but entry is regulated. Close to the Ambar Lake is a little temple dedicated to Hanuman, the Hindu god of strength and intelligence. What is interesting is that the image of the god is an actual piece of the crater and for long its magnetic properties continued to fascinate people who built a temple to house it. The meteorite chunk is brightly painted in the orange color that is preferred in this part of the world.

On the way back to, or coming from, Aurangabad, you have to pass Lonar town which is about 2-3 kms from the crater. 'Town' is not quite the right word; rather the place is a chaotic, noisy, dusty mish-mash of grey cement structures and multipurpose shops selling an assortment of useful products, mostly in garish plastic, but the town also houses an incongruous miracle of sorts. You take a turn off the main road into the road leading to the Jain temple, which is next to the mosque.

A little away is a black pearl of a temple built in the 10th century. This is the Daityasudan temple, dedicated to Vishnu. The walls and pillars of the temple are full of elaborate and detailed carvings of significant passages from Indian myth. It is locally known as "The old stone temple" and that is what you will have to address it as if you want accurate directions. The temple is built on the three-tier philosophy of earth, sky and heavenly levels of representation. Walking around the temple or merely taking up a strategic position upon the platform and observing the sculpture in detail is well worth the effort.

All in all Lonar is a quaint village, with a character of its own, unaffected by the historical importance of the temples or the crater.

Getting There & Away to Lonar

Flights to Lonar The nearest airport is Aurangabad situated 122 kms away.
Trains to Lonar Nearest railhead is Malkapur on the Mumbai-Bhusawal Line.
Car and Bus service to Lonar
Mumbai-Aurangabad-Jalna-Lonar, 600 kms. Lonar-Buldhana, 95 kms. Lonar-Mehakar Taluka, 23 kms. Lonar-Aurangabad, 145 kms.
                                Lonar Holiday Packages

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