Off the beaten track: Lonar lake

Surabhi Mumbai | Updated on November 05, 2019

There's something for every tourist at Lonar lake -- whether you are a science geek, a history fan or a nature lover.

About 140 km away from Aurangabad in Buldhana district in Maharashtra, it is a peaceful yet adventurous destination.

Even though Aurangabad is a hub for both domestic and international tourists because of the World Heritage Ajanta and Ellora caves, only a few manage to go to Lonar.

The four hour drive from Aurangabad to Lonar is worth a day trip if not for an overnight stay.

Formed at least 52,000 years ago (the exact date is hard to ascertain, with many saying it happened at least 5 lakh years ago), Lonar crater is the only hyper velocity natural impact crater in basaltic rock in the world.


A notified National Geo-heritage monument, it is the third largest crater in the world formed by a meteorite crash. It has also been a matter of research for scientists from across the world including those from NASA.

The crater is now a natural lake and the water is both naturally saline and alkaline with blue green algae including spirulina and plastic eating varieties existing in it.

Locals say the water helps to cure any type of skin ailments and a dip is highly recommended.

The lake, about 1.2 km lake (in diameter), is surrounded by Shiva temples, including the Gomukh temple. Interestingly, Lonar is named after the mythological demon Lonasura.

The forest around the crater and lake site is a notified wildlife sanctuary and part of the Melghat tiger Reserve. It is home to leopards, monkeys, wild boar and migratory birds.

If staying overnight, do make an early morning trip to see some beautiful birds.

A trek to the crater and back can take about three to four hours and guides are easily available. It offers scenic views and waterfalls along the way.

Be sure to wear sturdy shoes and comfortable clothes and to carry drinking water. Carrying some food, a first aid box and binoculars will also come in handy.

How to Reach:

By car: A drive down from Aurangabad

By rail: Nearest railway station is Jalna, about 90 km away.

Best time to visit: While the area around the lake is cool but the region is known for its hot summers and cold winters.

Accommodation: If staying overnight, there is an MTDC resort in Lonar, which can be booked online at its website. For a day trip, there are some local options for food, including a restaurant run by MTDC.

Published on November 05, 2019

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