Lonar, home to world’s third largest crater, is a prime tourist destination in the state of Maharashtra. The Lonar crater, located in Buldana district of Maharashtra is believed to have been formed when a meteorite crashed into the earth.
Initially believed to be of volcanic origin, the Lonar lake is now recognized as to have been created by the hypervelocity impact of either a comet or a meteorite about 52,000 years ago. The collision formed a crater which is 1.83 km wide and 150 metres deep. Lonar Lake has a mean diameter of 1.2 km and is about 137 metres below the crater rim.
Situated on the outskirts of Lonar town, British officer J E Alexander was the first European to visit the crater in 1823. The crater and lake has also been mentioned in the Skanda Puran, the Padma Puran and even the Ain-i-Akbari. Apart from tourists, the Lonar crater also attracts scientists who come to study it. The crater is one of the unique natural formations in the world.
The lake within the crater is both saline and alkaline in nature. The lake water contains various salts or sodas. When the water level reduces due to evaporation during dry weather, large quantities of sodas are collected.
Low hills which surround the lake are covered with jungle. Dense tree cover about a mile broad surrounds the crater. The jungle is home to several species of wildlife including peafowl, chinkara and gazelles. Migratory birds also flock to the lake during winter months making it an ideal place for bird-watchers and wildlife enthusiasts. Resident and migratory birds include the brahminy ducks, shell-ducks (European migrants), herons, red-wattled lapwings, baya weavers, parakeet hoopoes, larks swallows are found on the lake.
Winter is the ideal time to visit Lonar. Climate between November to January remains pleasant. To get the best view of the lake, one should visit before 9 am or just before the sun set.
Accommodation options are limited in Lonar. MTDC tourist complex offers decent rooms and is one of the best places to stay. You can find few budget hotels. It is important to book room in advance especially during the peak tourist season in winter. Options to eat are also limited. The few stalls offer food which is apart from the local food stalls, you can hardly get any other cuisine. The MTDC tourist complex is a good option to get quality food.
November, December, January are best period to visit Lonar. During these months climatic conditions are pleasant and favorable for sightseeing. Avoid visiting the place in summer.
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Aurangabad is as given below. The best time to visit Aurangabad is also specified.