on the outskirts of Loanar town in Buldhana District, the Lonar Crater
was first discovered in 1823 by British officer, J.E. Alexander. It is
also written about in ancient scripts like the Skanda Puran, the Padma
Puran and the Aaina-i-Akbari.
is distinguished by the fact that it is the world's third largest
crater. It has its genesis nearly 50,000 years ago, when a 2 million-ton
meteorite impacted the earth to create a depression 1.83 kilometers in
diameter and 150 meters deep.
Since that cataclysmic event, Lonar has evolved into an idyllic expanse
of sky blue water amidst a sprawling emerald forest that stretches
around it as far as the eye can see. Today, it attracts casual tourists
as well as members of the scientific community from across the world,
including research agencies like the Smithsonian Institution of
Washington DC, the US Geological Survey, the Geological Society of
India, and Sagar University, Jabalpur, and Physical Research Laboratory,
Ahmedabad, which have conducted extensive studies about the site.
But, the scientific angle aside, this
destination also has much to offer wildlife enthusiasts as it is
generously endowed in both flora and fauna. The crater is home to
hundreds of peafowl, chinkara and gazelles, which browse amongst the
shrubs and bushes ringing the lake. Other residents include egrets, moor
hens, herons, coots, white-necked storks, lapwings, grey wagtails,
grebes, black droungos, green bee-eaters, tailorbirds, magpies and
robins - as well as numerous species of migratory birds that often visit
Lonar impresses with
the richness of its natural heritage. And, like the meteorite that put
it on the map, leaves a lasting impression.