If you are looking for mysterious places to visit in Maharashtra then Lonar Lake needs to be at the top of the list. Perhaps this is why the state government has recently allocated ₹ 370 crores approximately to develop it as a major tourist spot in Maharashtra.
About Lonar Lake
Lonar Lake is situated in the Buldhana district of Maharashtra. It is a crater lake; formed by the impact of a meteorite during the Ice Age (Pleistocene Epoch); roughly the period around 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago. No wonder the Geological Survey of India, a government entity, has declared it as a National Geo-Heritage Monument (geo areas of both national and heritage significance).
It has another unique distinction too. There are only four impact craters of high-velocity in the world and Lonar Lake is one of them. The remaining three are all in southern part of Brazil. The crater itself is inside another famous rock formation in India – the Deccan Traps.
The lake is around 1830 m in length and has a surface area of roughly 1.13 sq km. The maximum depth of the crater is around 150 m. The age of the lake has an ambiguity surrounding it. It was believed to be some 52000 years old. But by some recent estimates and studies; it can be even older.
No wonder Lonar Lake tourism is considered to have great potential.
The Great Lonar Lake Mystery
The many mysteries surrounding Lonar Lake makes it one of the most unique places to visit in Maharashtra.
One mysterious aspect of the lake is that its water is both alkaline and saline. This is a mystery that scientists have pondered over amongst other things when it comes to Lonar Lake. The water of the lake supports very rare microorganisms.
The usual emerald green water of the lake turned into pink in 2020! The probable cause was action of some microorganism (most probably Halobacteria). This germ is known to add red hue to environments with high salt content. Some research also attributed the changing color to a certain algae’s action. Different studies pointed out to different possible reasons.
Apparently, compasses do not work in and around the Lonar Lake area. So far; no studies have found a cause for this mysterious phenomenon.
Did you know the lake is named after Lonasura; a mythical demon? The story is about how the demon was defeated and thrown there; hence the crater! The lake finds mention in various ancient Hindu scriptures such as Skanda Purana and others. At least the origin of the crater is not a mystery (meteorite not demon)!
Other Attractions in Lonar Lake
What else awaits you at Lonar Lake? The answer to this question is many species of birds; a beautiful green cover, and temple ruins.
If you are an avid birdwatcher; you will be delighted with the sightings of red-wattled lapwings, golden oriole, blue jays, brahminy ducks, shelduck, and other rare birds.
Some notable temples here are the Sita Nahani Temple, Ram Gaya Temple, Shankar Ganesh Temple, Gomukh Temple, and the Daitya Sudhan Temple.
Lonar Lake has to be on the list of top 5 places to visit in Maharashtra.
Reaching Lonar Lake
You can take flights to Mumbai or Pune and travel to the site of the Lonar Lake. There are many monsoon getaways near Mumbai. So, you can plan your trip accordingly if you want to visit Maharashtra in August or September.
Lonar Lake is at a distance of some 4 hours from the city of Aurangabad (around 140 km away). Since it one of the best places to visit in Maharashtra by car; you can plan the trip from this historical city also.
You can take flights to Mumbai or Delhi and fly to Aurangabad. Indian Eagle offers best deals on flights from USA to India. So, if you are visiting from the states then take advantage of the best deals on direct and connecting flights to India. You can also take a train from Mumbai to go to Aurangabad. The latter has many tourist attractions of its own; so, you can make a short holiday out of the entire trip. The famous Ajanta and Ellora Caves (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) are near Aurangabad. You can stay in Aurangabad, which has accommodation options of all kinds. And from the city as your base; visit Lonar Lake as well as other attractions.
Some Tips to Consider when Visiting Lonar Lake
It is best to plan a visit to the lake as a one-day trip. Since the area is still developing and there aren’t too many facilities around the lake; it is ideal to drive there in the morning, explore the area; and head back to the city. The mobile network in the area can be dubious; so, take extra precautions and plan a short trip only.
Carry food, water, and emergency medicines with you. Wear comfortable clothes and trekking shoes. And use insect repellant liberally.
Lonar Lake is not only one of the best mysterious places to visit in Maharashtra. It is perfect for weekend and day-long trips. Perhaps you will visit this this coming long weekend in August in India.