Lonar is among the five largest crater lakes in the world, and is about 2 km wide and 150 m deep. Formed nearly 50,000 years ago, the crater is oval in shape and the only natural impact crater in the world in basalt rock. Geologists believe that it was formed by the impact of a meteorite, and must have been more than a million tonnes to have created such an impact.

The fallen debris from the time of the impact is still present around the rim of the crater. This is called the ejecta blanket and ranges over a kilometre. The lake within the crater is both saline and alkaline but the water becomes more and more alkaline as one goes towards the centre. Low hills covered in forests surround the water body. Tourists can enjoy sighting several wildlife species like the peafowl, chinkara and gazelles in this area. The lake also hosts a number of migratory birds in the winters. The distinctive and vibrant colour of the water is also due to the presence of algae and plankton species in the water . Moreover, the presence of certain minerals like microbreccias and glass spherules has lead scientists to draw parallels between the carter formation and geology of the region and the moon’s! Local legends and mysteries abound as supposedly the compass does not work here. Legends give many reasons but geologists believe it is a result of the unique geologic makeup of the region. Some important religious sites around the lake include the Ram Gaya Temple, the Kamalja Devi Temple, and the partially-submerged Shankar Ganesha Temple. The most significant temple, however, is located in the heart of Lonar town – the Daitya Sudan Temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the slayer of demon Lonasura.

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