Lonar Crater

Lonar lake is a lake of lagoon in Buldhana district of Maharashtra state. It was created due to a meteorite. It is the only major hoverback in the basalt rock. Its water is alkaline. Lonar Lake has been declared as Wildlife Sanctuary for the conservation and conservation of Lonar lake. There are temples around 1250 years ago. Of these, 15 temples are in reversal. 

Lonar Lake, also known as Lonar crater, is a notified National Geo-heritage Monument, saline, soda lake, located at Lonar in Buldhana district, Maharashtra, India. Lonar Lake is an astrobleme created by a meteorite impact during the Pleistocene Epoch. It is one of only four known hyper-velocity impact craters in basaltic rock anywhere on Earth. The other three basaltic impact structures are in southern Brazil. Lonar Lake has a mean diameter of 1.2 kilometres (3,900 ft) and is about 137 metres (449 ft) below the crater rim. The meteor crater rim is about 1.8 kilometres (5,900 ft) in diameter.

Lonar Crater sits inside the Deccan Plateau – a massive plain of volcanic basalt rock created by eruptions some 65 million years ago. Its location in this basalt field suggested to some geologists that it was a volcanic crater. Today, however, Lonar Crater is understood to be the result of a meteorite impact. The water in the lake is both saline and alkaline.

Geologists, ecologists, archaeologists, naturalists and astronomers have published studies on various aspects of the ecosystem of this crater lake.

Although the crater’s age was previously estimated to be 52,000 ± 6,000 years, newer studies suggest an age of 576,000 ± 47,000 years.

A 2019 study, conducted by IIT Bombay found that the minerals in the lake soil are very similar to the minerals found in moon rocks brought back during the Apollo Program. The lake was declared a protected Ramsar site in November 2020.

The lake was first mentioned in ancient scriptures such as the Skanda Purana and the Padma Purana.

The Ain-i-Akbari, a document written about 1600 CE, states: These mountains produce all the requisites for making glass and soap. And here are saltpetre works which yield a considerable revenue to the State, from the duties collected. On these mountains is a spring of salt water, but the water from the centre and the edges is perfectly fresh.

Buldhana district in Maharashtra, where the lake is located, was once part of the Maurya Empire and then part of the Satavahana Empire. The Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas also ruled this area. During the period of the Mughals, Yadavas, Nizam, and the British, trade prospered in this area. Several temples found on the periphery of the Lake are known as Yadava temples and also as Hemadpanti temples (named after Hemadri Ramgaya).

In 2022, the government of Maharashtra began plans to develop the site as a tourist attraction

Although the crater’s age was previously estimated to be 52,000 ± 6,000 years, newer studies suggest an age of 576,000 ± 47,000 years.

A 2019 study, conducted by IIT Bombay found that the minerals in the lake soil are very similar to the minerals found in moon rocks brought back during the Apollo Program. The lake was declared a protected Ramsar site in November 2020.

The lake was first mentioned in ancient scriptures such as the Skanda Purana and the Padma Purana.

The Ain-i-Akbari, a document written about 1600 CE, states: These mountains produce all the requisites for making glass and soap. And here are saltpetre works which yield a considerable revenue to the State, from the duties collected. On these mountains is a spring of salt water, but the water from the centre and the edges is perfectly fresh.

Buldhana district in Maharashtra, where the lake is located, was once part of the Maurya Empire and then part of the Satavahana Empire. The Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas also ruled this area. During the period of the Mughals, Yadavas, Nizam, and the British, trade prospered in this area. Several temples found on the periphery of the Lake are known as Yadava temples and also as Hemadpanti temples (named after Hemadri Ramgaya).

Ambar Lake

There is a small circular depression at a distance of around 700 m (2,300 ft) from the main lake, believed to be caused by a fragment of the main meteor. There is a Hanuman temple near this lake, with the idol made of rock believed to be highly magnetic. The water from Ambar lake is being drained by local farmers. This lake is sometimes also called Chhota (little) Lonar.

Religious setting

Numerous temples surround the lake, most of which stand in ruins today, except for the temple of Daitya Sudan at the centre of the Lonar town, which was built in honour of Vishnu’s victory over the giant Lonasur. It is a fine example of early Hindu architecture. Vishnumandir, Wagh Mahadev, Mora Mahadev, Munglyacha Mandir and Goddess Kamalaja Devia are the other temples found inside the crater.

Daitya Sudan temple

Daitya Sudan Temple is a Vishnu temple dated to the Chalukya Dynasty which ruled Central and Southern India between the 6th and 12th centuries. It belongs to the Hemadpanthi class and is built in the form of an irregular star. It features carvings similar to those seen at Khajuraho temples. The deity of this temple is made of an ore with a high metal content that resembles stone. The ceiling of the temple has carvings. The exterior walls are also covered with carved figures. The plinth of the temple is about 1.5 m (4.9 ft) in height and the unfinished roof suggests an intended pyramidal form for the tower.

The temple of Daitya Sudan at Lonar is the best example of the Hemadpanthi style. From the standing image of Surya in the principal niche on the back of the temple, it is conjectured that the temple was originally dedicated to the Sun god. However, in the present form its vaishnav temple of god Vishnu in its daityasudan avatar. There is a story that a demon by the name of Lonasur or Lavanasur used to reside in this locality along with his sisters. He was killed by lord Vishnu in his Daityasudan Avatar hence the name.

The temple measures 32 m (105 ft). long by 25.8 m (84.5 ft). broad. It is a tree chamber temple, the inner most being garbh gruh, the sanctum sanctorum, where the idol of lord vishnu standing atop Lavanasur is there. The present day idol was made by Bholse rulers of Nagpur after the original went missing. 

Other temples
  • Kamalja Devi Temple is located beside the lake and also features carved images. Although the water level rises during the rainy season and falls in summer, the temple is located above the water level.
  • Gomukh Temple is located along the rim of the crater. A perennial stream emerges from here and pilgrims visiting the temple bathe in the stream. It is also called Sita Nahani temple and Dhara.
  • Shankar Ganesh temple, partially submerged and noted for rectangular shiva
  • Ram Gaya temple
  • Motha Maruti temple is near the Ambar crater lake, with the idol made of rock believed to be fragment of the meteor that created the crater.
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