The Lonar Lake- A Geographical And Mythological History

by Sayan Panda
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From meteorites to the Brahmastra, no myth has gone untouched in regardance to the Lonar Lake, all known as, The Lonar Crater, which, today is a notified National Geo-heritage monument, located in the Buldhana district of Maharashtra in India.

Created by a meteorite collision impact during the Pleistocene Epoch, it is one of the only 4 known, hyper-velocity, impact crater in ballistic rock anywhere on Earth. Sitting inside the Deccan Plateau- a massive volcanic basalt rock created by eruption, some 65 million years ago, the lake’s diameter is calculated to be 1.2Km and is about 137m below the crater rim, which is almost 1.8Km in diameter.

The lake has made even NASA scientists and Geological Survey of India officials question their theories and wonder how it is possible that the lake is both alkaline and saline and how micro organisms which are rarely found anywhere else on earth are supported in this environment.

During the dry weather, when evaporation reduces the water level, large quantities of soda are collected. Two small streams, the Purana and the Penganga, drain it into the lake, is what scientists have come up with.  

So now that we’ve covered the basic geographical history, let’s talk about the mythological mysteries regarding this dent on the surface of the earth.

The lake was 1st mentioned in ancient scriptures such as the Skand Purana, the Padma Purana,, and most importantly in the Rigveda.

According to the latter, Lord Rama called upon the God of the sea, to show itself to him. He even went as far, to promise Lakshman that either they’ll cross the sea or he shall die.

Three nights passed, and with Lord Rama’s patience on the brink of an eruption, it was obvious that sonn, the ‘Seema-rekha’ (the border) was about to be crossed. “I will make the ocean dry up now with my arrows. This ocean is considering me as an incapable man endowed as I am with forbearance. It is a great mistake to show forbearance to such an individual. The ocean is not appearing to me in kind word,” and saying so, he wielded a bow, and resealed the arrows resembling a powerful thunderbolt of Indra.

Those excellent arrows, having a great speed and ablaze by their splendor, penetrated the waters of the ocean, and the great jerk of water, together with the resonance of the wind, became very much dreadful.

Thousands of waves, so large resembling Vindhya and Mandhara mountains, jumped up from the sea with its crocodiles and the sea monsters.

That’s when Lakshman rushed towards Sri Rama, who in terrific velocity was stretching his incomparable bow, crying, “no farther, brother mine. No farther,” and took hold of the bow.

But Lord Rama wasn’t one to give up. 

As he wielded the Brahmastra, both the heaven and earth suddenly seemed to be split asunder, and the entire world quivered.

That’s when Sagara (The Ocean God) himself rose from the middle of the ocean and pleaded, “O, beloved Rama! Earth, with ether, water and light remain fixed in their own nature, restorting to their eternal path. Therefore, I am fathomless and my nature is that it is impossible to be swum across. It becomes unnatural if I am shallow. I am telling you the following device to cross me. Neither From desire nor ambition nor fear nor from affection, I am able to solidify my waters inhabited by alligators. I shall make it possible to see that you are able to crossover. I will arrange a place for the monkeys to cross me and bear with it. As long as the army crosses me, the crocodiles will not be aggressive to them.”

Sri Rama considered, and asked him where he should descend the Brahmastra, as the great arrow shouldn’t go in vain, to which he said, “towards my northern side, there is a holy place. It is well known as Drumatulya, in the same way as you are well known to this world. Numerous robbers of fearful aspect and deeds, having the sinful Abhiras as their chief, drink my waters there. I am not able to bear that touch of those wicked people, the evil does, O, Rama! Let this excellent arrow without vain be released over them there.

”Hearing those words of the high-soled Ocean, Rama released that excellent and splendid arrow towards that place as directed by the ocean, and the place where the arrow, whose splendor was akin to that of a thunder and a thunderbolt, pierced the earth, like by the dart. The waters of the penultimate subterranean region gushed forth from the mouth of that cleft.

Due to granting of a boon by Rama, the desert became the most congenial place for cattle rearing, a place with a little of disease, producing tasty fruits and roots, with a lot of clarified butter, a lot of milk and various kinds of sweet-smelling herbs. According to beliefs, it is believed that when Lord Rama was returning from Sri Lanka to Ayodhya, he showed Goddess Sita something by pointing at him while riding on a flying chariot. According to the opinions of the researchers, Lord Rama was referring to Lonar Lake itself.

Thus, the crater created by the impact of the Brahmastra by Sri Rama might be the Lonar Crater Lake. At least, that’s one of the stories believed by the locals and mythological researchers.

According to the stories in Daitya Sudan Temple Lonar, Lonasur was a demon who lived in the saltwater of the crater. This demon was killed by Lord Vishnu in Lonar Lake. Inspired by this story, Daitya Sudan Temple was built by the King of Chalukya Kingdom. This temple, built in the 6th century, remains an example of finance sculptures and impressive architectural fitness of ancient times even today.

Apart from this, a suitable mention of Lonar Crater is also found in the book Ain-i-Akbari written in the Mughal Era Later Period.

The temples around Lonar Lake and the stories related to them is an experience you cannot miss. One of them being The Dhara or Sita Nahani themple, which if myth is to be believed, was a place where Sita had bathed.

Now that we’re done with the mythology and the beautiful history of the Lonar Crater lake, let’s talk about how you could reach there and what all you can do to garner its full experience.

This magnificent site is just a 4 hour drive from Aurangabad, with quaint villages and paddy fields on each side, until the Government guest house. The trek is a difficult one, with the path to the lake being slippery, and riddled with quicksands on the banks, but you will come across minerals, wantering into temple ruins, now home for insects, bats and other creepy crawlies. My suggestion would be to definitely carry bug spray and a mosquito repellent.

You can also birdwatch there, as the area of the forest is filled with migratory and local birds from red-wattled lapwings, blue jays to tailor birds, thus, making it heavenly for all bird watchers.

If you’re lucky, you might even spot barking deers, chinkaras, monitor lizards, snakes, brightly colored insects and amphibians as well.

The sculpture in all the temples, has the same kind of appeal as Khajuraho, with the erotic depictions and plundering beasts all being carved in stone.

So, in conclusion, it is a sight you just cannot miss. Thus, take out your ‘to visit list,’ and jot down the name and the details, and go and have a blast exploring this scenic magnificence.

From meteorites to the Brahmastra, no myth has gone untouched in regardance to the Lonar Lake, all known as, The Lonar Crater, which, today is a notified National Geo-heritage monument, located in the Buldhana district of Maharashtra in India.

Created by a meteorite collision impact during the Pleistocene Epoch, it is one of the only 4 known, hyper-velocity, impact crater in ballistic rock anywhere on Earth. Sitting inside the Deccan Plateau- a massive volcanic basalt rock created by eruption, some 65 million years ago, the lake’s diameter is calculated to be 1.2Km and is about 137m below the crater rim, which is almost 1.8Km in diameter.

The lake has made even NASA scientists and Geological Survey of India officials question their theories and wonder how it is possible that the lake is both alkaline and saline and how micro organisms which are rarely found anywhere else on earth are supported in this environment.

During the dry weather, when evaporation reduces the water level, large quantities of soda are collected. Two small streams, the Purana and the Penganga, drain it into the lake, is what scientists have come up with.  

So now that we’ve covered the basic geographical history, let’s talk about the mythological mysteries regarding this dent on the surface of the earth.

The lake was 1st mentioned in ancient scriptures such as the Skand Purana, the Padma Purana,, and most importantly in the Rigveda.

According to the latter, Lord Rama called upon the God of the sea, to show itself to him. He even went as far, to promise Lakshman that either they’ll cross the sea or he shall die.

Three nights passed, and with Lord Rama’s patience on the brink of an eruption, it was obvious that sonn, the ‘Seema-rekha’ (the border) was about to be crossed. “I will make the ocean dry up now with my arrows. This ocean is considering me as an incapable man endowed as I am with forbearance. It is a great mistake to show forbearance to such an individual. The ocean is not appearing to me in kind word,” and saying so, he wielded a bow, and resealed the arrows resembling a powerful thunderbolt of Indra.

Those excellent arrows, having a great speed and ablaze by their splendor, penetrated the waters of the ocean, and the great jerk of water, together with the resonance of the wind, became very much dreadful.

Thousands of waves, so large resembling Vindhya and Mandhara mountains, jumped up from the sea with its crocodiles and the sea monsters.

That’s when Lakshman rushed towards Sri Rama, who in terrific velocity was stretching his incomparable bow, crying, “no farther, brother mine. No farther,” and took hold of the bow.

But Lord Rama wasn’t one to give up. 

As he wielded the Brahmastra, both the heaven and earth suddenly seemed to be split asunder, and the entire world quivered.

That’s when Sagara (The Ocean God) himself rose from the middle of the ocean and pleaded, “O, beloved Rama! Earth, with ether, water and light remain fixed in their own nature, restorting to their eternal path. Therefore, I am fathomless and my nature is that it is impossible to be swum across. It becomes unnatural if I am shallow. I am telling you the following device to cross me. Neither From desire nor ambition nor fear nor from affection, I am able to solidify my waters inhabited by alligators. I shall make it possible to see that you are able to crossover. I will arrange a place for the monkeys to cross me and bear with it. As long as the army crosses me, the crocodiles will not be aggressive to them.”

Sri Rama considered, and asked him where he should descend the Brahmastra, as the great arrow shouldn’t go in vain, to which he said, “towards my northern side, there is a holy place. It is well known as Drumatulya, in the same way as you are well known to this world. Numerous robbers of fearful aspect and deeds, having the sinful Abhiras as their chief, drink my waters there. I am not able to bear that touch of those wicked people, the evil does, O, Rama! Let this excellent arrow without vain be released over them there.

”Hearing those words of the high-soled Ocean, Rama released that excellent and splendid arrow towards that place as directed by the ocean, and the place where the arrow, whose splendor was akin to that of a thunder and a thunderbolt, pierced the earth, like by the dart. The waters of the penultimate subterranean region gushed forth from the mouth of that cleft.

Due to granting of a boon by Rama, the desert became the most congenial place for cattle rearing, a place with a little of disease, producing tasty fruits and roots, with a lot of clarified butter, a lot of milk and various kinds of sweet-smelling herbs. According to beliefs, it is believed that when Lord Rama was returning from Sri Lanka to Ayodhya, he showed Goddess Sita something by pointing at him while riding on a flying chariot. According to the opinions of the researchers, Lord Rama was referring to Lonar Lake itself.

Thus, the crater created by the impact of the Brahmastra by Sri Rama might be the Lonar Crater Lake. At least, that’s one of the stories believed by the locals and mythological researchers.

According to the stories in Daitya Sudan Temple Lonar, Lonasur was a demon who lived in the saltwater of the crater. This demon was killed by Lord Vishnu in Lonar Lake. Inspired by this story, Daitya Sudan Temple was built by the King of Chalukya Kingdom. This temple, built in the 6th century, remains an example of finance sculptures and impressive architectural fitness of ancient times even today.

Apart from this, a suitable mention of Lonar Crater is also found in the book Ain-i-Akbari written in the Mughal Era Later Period.

The temples around Lonar Lake and the stories related to them is an experience you cannot miss. One of them being The Dhara or Sita Nahani themple, which if myth is to be believed, was a place where Sita had bathed.

Now that we’re done with the mythology and the beautiful history of the Lonar Crater lake, let’s talk about how you could reach there and what all you can do to garner its full experience.

This magnificent site is just a 4 hour drive from Aurangabad, with quaint villages and paddy fields on each side, until the Government guest house. The trek is a difficult one, with the path to the lake being slippery, and riddled with quicksands on the banks, but you will come across minerals, wantering into temple ruins, now home for insects, bats and other creepy crawlies. My suggestion would be to definitely carry bug spray and a mosquito repellent.

You can also birdwatch there, as the area of the forest is filled with migratory and local birds from red-wattled lapwings, blue jays to tailor birds, thus, making it heavenly for all bird watchers.

If you’re lucky, you might even spot barking deers, chinkaras, monitor lizards, snakes, brightly colored insects and amphibians as well.

The sculpture in all the temples, has the same kind of appeal as Khajuraho, with the erotic depictions and plundering beasts all being carved in stone.

So, in conclusion, it is a sight you just cannot miss. Thus, take out your ‘to visit list,’ and jot down the name and the details, and go and have a blast exploring this scenic magnificence.

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