Lonar is the tourist spot in Buldhana district of Maharastra state. Lonar having the crater of hypervelocity meteorite impact like Bosmatvi (Africa), Labrador (New Cubek) but as the water in Lonar crater lake is salty, it is unique in world. Lonar crater is originated in the basaltic rock, it also provide uniqueness to crater. Recently, research on its geology on line with Barrington Crater in Arizona (USA) by Geological survey of India with foreign collaboration confirmed meteorite impact on its origin. The site of Lonar crater having astronomical as well as Geological importance. The rocks of Lonar crater the certain similarities with rocks, which were found on Moon. Recent study of NASA reveals that rocks of Lonar crater are similar to the rocks of Planet Mars, rocks of the Lonar crater are light weighted & show magnetic properties. Morphologically Lonar crater divided into ejecta blanket, crater rim, crater floor. Lonar crater is ecological, geological & phytogeographical wonder.
The Lonar crater is situated on the outskirts of Lonar town. The crater was formed the impact of a meteorite nearly 50,000 years ago. At the bottom, a beautiful lake has been formed over thousands of years by the perennial streams flowing into the Lonar crater. The water of the lake, however, is very salty, the pH being 10.7. A unique ecosystem has evolved in the crater, visitor is pleasantly surprised to see aquatic birds like the flamingos, Indian Moorhen, Coot, Dabchick and so on, we can also hear and see many pea-fowls in the crater’s forest.
The Lonar crater is the third biggest meteoritic impact crater in the world. Like all such craters, it is a huge bowl-shaped cavity with a raised rim, which over the years got filled up with water & is now a circular lake. In fact, it is now known as the Lonar Lake. It was caused by the impact of meteorite from other space, which hit the Earth’s surface. In geological terms such craters are known as Astrons. It has a diameter of 1.830 kms. At its deepest the water is 468 meters above mean sea level & its surface is 600 meters above MSL (mean sea level), which means the crater is 132 meters deep. Somewhere in the center roughly 50,000 to 56,000 years ago the Earth’s surface was pummeled by five major meteoritic hits. The Lonar crater is one of these. Scientists have estimated that the giant meteorite which resulted in the Lonar crater have been about 600 meters in width & weighed close to million tones.
To begin with in the vastness of outer space there are numerous meteorites, some of which cross the path of the Earth & crash into its surface. What hits the Earth is much smaller than the actual size of the meteorite because as the meteorite enters the Earth’s atmosphere friction with the air creates intense heat, which burns up the meteorite. What hits the Earth is what remains of the original object. While the existence of the Lonar crater has been recorded down the ages, it was not till recent years that its meteoritic origin was firmly established by the Geological survey or India. Scientists of the GSI traced a mineral called Maskelynite which is formed under intense heat & pressure which is generated when a meteorite impacts on basaltic terrain .In fact the Lonar crater is the only one its kind to be found in a basaltic environment However this is not-the only unique feature of the crater. The lake, which has been formed over the ages due to accumulation of natural water, is quite brackish. The salinity of the water is unusually high [In technical terms it measures 10.5 on the ph scale which is highly alkaline] It has kept geologists baffled.
According to one theory, since there is no escape for the water once it streams into the lake constant –evaporation over the years has led to a high concentration of salts. Technically, the bottom of the crater is hard rock, which does not loose any water. Such alkaline water do not supports life. Yet biologists have reported the presence of a primitive life form a bi-cellular blue green algae. They believe that if this life form is left undisturbed, it may in the course of time evolve into higher multi-cellular life forms.
The Lonar Lake is biodiversity cradle waiting to bloom. This very special ecosystem deserves all efforts to conserve it. It must be saved from human interference
The other meteoritic craters in the world are sought after tourist destinations but the environments around these craters have not been allowed to deteriorate. The planned management of tourism at the Arizona crater in the US is an example of a sustainable strategy, reminds survey.
Fortunately, being situated in a sparsely populated region, the area around the lake still presents a pristine sight. The immaculately symmetrical crater is surrounded by a serene verdant cover, which nurtures a wide variety of flora & fauna.
Lonar crater is declared as a sanctuary, it consist great biodiversity, It is unique ecosystem. Lake water consist various types of blue green algae, methanogenic bacteria and halophyles. The forest has good flora and fauna. Various reptiles, mammals, birds, insects are inhabit here. Plants shows biodiversity consist algae, bryophytes, pteridophytes, fungi and large range of flowering plants. Most of the medicinal plants are found in Lonar crater.
On the beach of Lonar Lake there are so many temples like Wayu Teerth, Chopda Madir ( Som Mandir), Warun Teerth, Ambarkhana Teerth, Shankar & Ganpati Mandir, Vishnu Mandir, Wagh Mahadev Mandir, in surrounding area of Dhara Teerth Temples are Hatkeshwar, Kumareshwar, Paphareshwar, Nardeshwar etc.
To the north of the Lonar lake is a smaller lake called the Ambar Lake. It is a believed to have been formed by a disintegrated piece from the original meteorite that formed the Lonar crater. On the banks of Ambar Lake is small temple devoted to Lord Hanuman, in which is a huge statue of God Hanuman in reclining pose. The idol is supposed to be a disintegrated piece of meteorite having magnetic effect. Inside Lonar town is the Daityasudan temple. Temple is excellent example of exquisite sculpture, outstanding in the Architecture. The external appearance of this temple is similar to Ajanta, Ellora caves & Khajoraho. The outer walls and pillars of this 10th century temple are intricately carved and bear erotic Maithuna sculptures. The architecture is remarkable. The other attractions of Lonar are Dhar Teerth, Kamalja Devi Temple, Ramgaya Temple, Sita Nahani. The other spots & temples in Lonar city are Ram mandir, Jain Mandir, Swami Mandir, Bramha Vishnu Mahesh Mandir.
Dhar Teerth is about 50,000 years old as Lonar Crater. Dhar teerth shows the continuous flow of water. Devotees are come to visit that place for holly bath.
The Kamalja Devi temple located at the southern side of the crater floor.One of the reasons is there, which attracts very large number of pilgrims in week of October in every year, for Navratri festival. About 1.5 lakh pilgrims visit this temple during this period.
Sita Nahani located at the eastern part of Lonar crater. It also shows continuous flow of water but force is smaller than Dhar teerth.
Ramgaya Temple present inside the crater. The temple was totally made up of rocks & is an excellent example of Architecture. There are a few temples in & around the Lonar city, which built in 12th 13th century. Though in dilapidated condition, the exquisite carvings are remnants of their glorious past. To see and enjoy all this, the enthusiasts, scientists, researchers must visit to the Lonar city and crater.