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Lonar Crater – Big Beautiful Carved Lake by Nature.
Lonar Crater is located near Jalna, Maharashtra. What all I knew about the place before I went there was that a huge stone come from sky and fell on earth causing a huge big giant hole on the earth’s surface – this is what my wife had told me 😛 But the visit changed my perception about it and opened a new interest zone for me.
I along with my family had to gone to attend a wedding function at Jalna. Jalna is around 63km from Aurangabad (city of potholes K). Jalna is small city so one cannot expect much but yes you’ll get the basic standard quality stuff everywhere. Jalna has one (only) famous chowk called Shivaji Statue Chowk. It’s the heart of Jalna. We stayed at Hotel Madhuban, it’s clean, economic and very well managed Hotel. Food of Madhuban is also good – better than what is available at others restaurants in Jalna. We also came across a place called Jain Pav bhaji – the food was really good over. Since we had initially gone for the wedding as part of the wedding Baraat we stayed at Shivneri Hotel and our overall experience was not good especially with the service and hospitality part. We gladly moved into Madhuban post the wedding.
From Jalna, Lonar is about 96 – 100 kms and from Jalna’s Shivaji Chowak to get on the Lonar’s highway it was another 5 – 6 km from there we got a Sign Board indicator for Lonar and at some places we had to take help of Google Maps (a word of caution: do not rely completely on Google Maps). The initial stretch of roads had lots of potholes as big as a crater fall would have caused we were even joking about why go till Lonar we can see it here only but after the initial phase of 15-20 kms the rest part of the roads till Lonar are good and it a 4 lane road. Earlier there were no Petrol Pumps till Jalna but now on we could see lots of Petrol Pumps on both side & couple of Restaurants too but we had to be a little more patient till we could spot a good restaurant. We also had hard time with cold drinks – couldn’t get it anywhere but luckily we (apart from me J) are have not so much fond of cold drinks. We were traveling during the day and there wasn’t much traffic along the route but the strangest part was that we couldn’t spot a single sign board indication towards Lonar Crater, not sure what could be the reason behind it. Not all people are aware about such interesting places, if enough marketing and support is not given to reach these places lots of them would miss out on such beautiful findings. Since we couldn’t get to see these sign boards we were in a dilemma throughout whether we were on the right course of not., just because of my wife Mithila’s research we were little confident of reaching our destination.
So we finally reached Lonar it is a small village with a rustic look. We still couldn’t really find any indication of where we could spot the big Crater Lake. So we asked for information to the locals of the village but since we dint know what the translation of Crater is in local language we did fumble a little bit and become a humourous situation for us since we know the local language 😛
After finally decoding the word we were directed to a place by the locals. The place had an outer wall and a beautiful garden we weren’t sure this was the correct place yet we decided to explore it since there was a board outside the premises although the board had completely eroded and we couldn’t read anything yet we decided to give it a shot.
So after entering inside from a small metal gate we have to climb down quite a few steps and then climb up some stairs.
After that we had to climb a couple of many stairs and we could see huge greenish coloured water at a long distance. As we kept walking closer the greenish land became bigger and beautiful we could see the Greenish water with a white boundary and it was breathtakingly stunning and this was the Crater that we had come for. There was a platform from which we could see the clearly see the Crater and its edge.
After that we also saw some cluster of beautifully carved temples, a beautiful Kund and a wide view of the nature surrounding it. There was a small well where people were taking bath – couldn’t really understand where the water to the well came from.
We had to climb down a series of stairs to reach another temple down near the forest edge from where we could walk to the Crater base. We met quite a few people on our way towards the Crater who told us not to go towards the Crater form this route has there was a sighting of Tiger on this route and there were News of sightings from couple of days and hence was risky. I and Mithila were okay to still go ahead but my parents in law were against the idea so we dropped it. We were told that this was a longer route and there was another route from the MTDC hotel as well which was shorter and safer. So we decided to give that a try. Also we were really very hungry as it was almost the lunch time
As per Nikhilbhai’s ( my brother in law) instructions we decided to have our lunch at MTDC Hotel (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation)- the place was really good with helpful and friendly staff and great food. The best one could have found there.
We decided to hire a Guide from the MTDC – he agreed to show us all in Lonar, his name was Shailesh Sardar and I can vouch that he made it all more enjoyable with all the intricate details he gave. Shailesh took us to the Crater , all upfront and close. We could see the green water and its various shades. We touched the water and it was all alkaline. He showed us quite a few amazing details about the place like magnetic sand, how the water is used for healing skin diseases and we even carried some water in a bottle to see how the greenish substance floated up and clear water beneath it when the bottle was placed in a steady position for a day. There were no living organisms in the water since its pH level was very high. There is strong smell of acid as one keeps on going near the water. Shailesh also explained how the crater was created the various evolution stages it has went through to reach were it is now.
The entire trek down from the MTDC hotel was among and filled with many more astonishing discoveries for us. On the way Shailesh took us to a very beautiful but broken temple. The temple was of Shri Ram but the fascinating part about it was that there was only one statue (usually a Ram temple has 3 deity statues that is Ram, Sita and Lakshman) The only statue there was that of Shri Ram the architecture marvel that the temple was as soon as one stand right in front of the Shri Ram Murti – 2 more shadows appear on the either side of the main deity statue. These shadows are representing Lakshman and Sita. These shadows were not based on sun’s position they appear all the time ( is what we were told we couldn’t stay there longer to verify). The philosophical thought behind this is that the God is within us. We stand as Lakshman and Sita with the Lord. It was totally worth the visit. On the way we could see lots of Peacocks, our guide told us that there were around 150 peacocks in the jungle which one has to cross to reach the Crater base. The jungle is dense and even has wild animals but they usually do not come to this side and are mainly in the denser parts of the jungle. The entire periphery of the Crater is lined with Temples and each has its own story to tell.
Each journey has its own story, just like ours had too.