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Old 10th December 2009, 15:19   #31
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Great Travelouge. The pictures have come out beautiful, the colours are so good.

Would love to do this trip. How many hours in all did it take and what is the alternate route?



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Old 10th December 2009, 20:00   #32
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Good one Genesis. This seems to be a very good weekend getaway. I used to live in Nashik but never heard of this place. Next time I visit there I should accommodate this in my plans though it does seem like not many people visit there.
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Old 10th December 2009, 23:48   #33
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Originally Posted by Aquarian20 View Post
Good one Genesis. This seems to be a very good weekend getaway. I used to live in Nashik but never heard of this place. Next time I visit there I should accommodate this in my plans though it does seem like not many people visit there.
Nashik is way closer to Lonar than Mumbai. No reason not to visit it

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Originally Posted by manaa45 View Post
Great Travelouge. The pictures have come out beautiful, the colours are so good.
Would love to do this trip. How many hours in all did it take and what is the alternate route?
Thanks! This was the first outing with my canon t1. Anand the guide also took some of the pictures. Some of my friends remarked that it was one of the few times they saw photographs of me!


Fastest route from Mumbai is Mumbai Pune expressway. Get off at the Chakan/Talegaon exit (where you show the final toll ticket). Go past the Bajaj Plant etc come out at Shikrapur on the Ahmednagar highway and go on to Aurangabad and from there go via jalna to Lonar. (Roads are wider and smoother). It should take around 9 hours.


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Originally Posted by magiceye View Post
Love your travelogue! Your images and narration is sheer poetry!
Thanks magiceye. The narrative part I try, the ambience of the place is responsible for the images.

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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
amazing travelogue. Great one. I'm googling to see how far it's from pune right away...
At least 2 hours closer from Pune than from Mumbai!

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Originally Posted by sudev View Post
Lovely place ready for discovery by all - superb narrative and story pics.
Thanks sudev! the squirrel photo was posted especially for you
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Old 11th December 2009, 00:12   #34
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Brilliant narration, Soumya. The poet in you spills out! And what a great place to visit. I hope the magnetic phenomena mess up cellphone signals here to stop them from working? In which case I'm all for a week-long holiday here someday...
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Originally Posted by genesis View Post
And showed us the highly acidic nature of the water
Attachment 239890
That water looks basic - pH 10+ - acidic is below pH 7. What Anand was using is a colorimetric pH tester. Forgive the chemistry lesson...
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Old 11th December 2009, 00:30   #35
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Loved the Malshej pictures and the T-Logue & the songWonderful writing.

Brought back memories of my 1st drive through Malshej,when it happened unexpectedly & we were caught unawares.It was an August afternoon and we were on our way back from Shirdi to Mumbai and the usual route via Sinnar was under flooded which forced us to take the route via Aleyphata & Malshej.Before we knew it,we had zero visibility at 2pm on the ghats,I was a worried & scared man because at the plains it was sunny as hell and suddenly we had to encounter zero visibility.Two sights that I would never forget on that drive a)a lone traffic policeman standing in the middle of nowhere on the malshej ghat.call that dedication b)the rock that juts out right onto the road somehwere near the waterfalls.a magnificent sight indeed.
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Old 11th December 2009, 00:37   #36
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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post

That water looks basic - pH 10+ - acidic is below pH 7. What Anand was using is a colorimetric pH tester. Forgive the chemistry lesson...
Oops. I stand corrected. It is alkaline water due to a high concentration of salts.

Unfortunately cellphones work even in the crater.
But the magnetic stuff truly messes your mind. Especially when 2 spots 4 inches apart show different north poles!

All this science stuff brings to mind my lab partner decades ago, who on accidentally sipping some dilute acid from the pipette, calmly opened a bottle from the shelf, sipped some NaOh, turned to me and said..."That should neutralize it" ! Sigh...those were the days.
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Old 15th December 2009, 07:36   #37
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before proceeding further to discover another magical place from which came a fountain of life...
The beating of drums and the chanting of kirtans welcomed us as we entered our next stop

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Known locally as Dhara, it is a spot where an underground spring spouts out from its source and locals flock for magical healing properties

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We spent an amazing hour in this crumbling edifice

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watching grown ups becoming children again

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Enjoying moments of sheer ecstasy

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While children experienced bliss

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As kaka got lost in thought.

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We met a person who had walked a long way to bathe his fathers feet before putting it on a samadhi

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And of course it was too tempting not to touch the water and lend a hand to some old ladies

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Before taking a last glimpse of the glistening lake from another viewpoint

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And leaving behind a riot of color

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To proceed to our next stop where we would meet Hanuman himself...
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Old 15th December 2009, 09:35   #38
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Hey genesis, excellent find! Definitely a good place to visit.

Keep the posts coming.
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Old 16th December 2009, 09:29   #39
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Originally Posted by genesis View Post
To proceed to our next stop where we would meet Hanuman himself...
We drove a little out of town to the Kanitkar household

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Into a sunlit courtyard

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To be told to be quiet since Hanuman was sleeping in his room

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We tiptoed past him (Ladies are not allowed in the chamber, since it is feared that their charms would wake Hanuman up)

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Even if the clanging of bells did not.

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We did a final circuit past Shiva (who did not seem to mind the company of maidens).

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As we walked out through the gate

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Our eyes caught a final picture worthy of the title of this travelog

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and that marked the end of our time in Lonar.

The remnants of the evening were spent driving back to Aurangabad to see a fake Taj Mahal

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and the next day we explored the Ellora caves

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But that remains a story for another day,

And we leave this one at the point where a highway star became a child in time...


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-fin
-genesis
http://soumya.org

Last edited by genesis : 16th December 2009 at 09:35.
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Old 27th November 2010, 00:04   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genesis View Post

But that remains a story for another day,

And we leave this one at the point where a highway star became a child in time...

And it is this child that we keep searching for , all our life .
That boy who was always amazed by this world , its colors , vividness , its curiosities ....

You are lucky man , to be able to do so my friend ...

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Old 28th November 2010, 10:22   #41
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For your travelogue I have one word, Wow

Genesis, this is the place i was plannnig to visit. Just waiting for the right time where I can manage 4 days straight out of work. Actually, I was planning to do Aurangabad, Ellora, Ajanta, Lonar originating from Thane and I guess 4 days would be enough.
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Old 18th February 2017, 23:55   #42
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Default Re: Smoke On The Water, Fire In The Sky (Into Lonar Lake And Crater)

My Date with Lonar - A unique combination of Science & Mythology

Town: Lonar (municipal council)
Taluka: Lonar
District: Buldhana
State: Maharashtra

I visited Lonar last weekend, i.e. 11th to 13th Feb 2017. I had been long wanting to visit Lonar crater and I am glad I could finally make it there. Lonar has amazed me more than any other place has (apart from Stonehenge in Salisbury plains in the UK). This is one of those places which has definitely made a lasting impression on my mind.

Following are the details of the trip.
Travelers: Me and my wife
Total distance covered: 1050 kms (including few kms of local sightseeing)
Car: Maruti Suzuki Celerio VXI CNG+Petrol
Toll expenses: Only toll paid at expressway - Rs.195/- one way (Rs. 390/- for round trip)
Fuel expenses: Consumed approx. 7 kgs of CNG at Rs. 300/- which lasted for 250 kms. at an average mileage of 35.7 kms per kg. Consumed approx. 34 litres of petrol at Rs. 2,600/- for 800 kms at an average mileage of 23.5 kmpl. Total fuel expense was Rs. 2,900/- for entire trip.
Staying expense: MTDC resort 2 nights tariff for AC Deluxe Room - Rs. 4300/- including all taxes.
Food expenses: MTDC Food bill - Rs. 1210/-. Other food expenses en route - approx Rs. 800/- (on a higher side).
Route taken: Navi Mumbai - Lonar - Navi Mumbai (via Talegaon Bypass - Ahmednagar - Aurangabad - Jalna)
-Mumbai Pune Express way, exit at 2nd toll (Talegaon toll)
-Talegaon - Chakan upto Shikrapur junction/chowk on Pune Ahmednagar Highway
-Crossed Ahmednagar city (did not take bypass as recommended by fellow TBHPians)
-Bypass Aurangabad via Golwadi bypass & Beed bypass road (google maps will show this road by default)
-Bypass Jalna via Kanhaiya Nagar to connect onto Aurangabad Nagpur road
-Crossed Sindkhed Raja, Dusrabid and continued further straight to Bibi and Sultanpur where I took right turn towards Lonar. Please note google maps will show a village road from Dusrabid directly to Lonar which will reduce travel distance by 12 kms. I took this village road while returning.

Trip Schedule
11th Feb 2017 - Navi Mumbai to Lonar - 513 kms - 11 hrs 45 mins
1. 7:15AM - Started from Navi Mumbai
2. 8:15AM - Reached Food Court just after Khalapur Toll. Stopped for breakfast.
3. 11:30AM - Stopped for 10 mins at a restaurant somewhere between Pune and Ahmednagar.
4. 12:30PM - Stopped for lunch at Smilestone restaurant which is just 24 kms short of Ahmednagar. This place was highly recommended by several TBHP members and it is definitely worth. Clean washrooms, good food and the weather was pleasant too. Try the sugarcane juice here. Left smilestone exactly at 1 PM.
5. 4:05PM - 10 mins break. Stopped at Hotel Amritsar Punjab on the highway between Aurangabad and Jalna.
6. 7:00PM - Reached MTDC Resort at Lonar.

12th Feb 2017 - My date with Lonar Crater & Local Sightseeing
Visited Lonar crater and did some local sightseeing. For visiting the crater which is bang opposite MTDC resort, we started at 7:15AM from the resort and walked down the crater rim. I had hired a guide whose name was Shailesh Sardar. We were back at the resort by 10AM. The weather was pleasant early in the morning and hence it was less tiring. In the evening between 5PM and 7PM, we visited Daitya Sudan temple, Gou Mukh and Sleeping Hanuman temple, all of these are located in the town itself. At Daitya Sudan temple, I met the retired school principal Mr. Sudarshan Bugdane who has written a guide book on Lonar with some useful information in it. Spoke to him for sometime.

13th Feb 2017 - Lonar to Navi Mumbai - 501 kms - 11 hrs 30 mins
1. 7:45AM - Started from MTDC Lonar
2. 10:15AM - Stopped for breakfast at Food Junction on Jalna Aurangabad highway. This is a nice place with good food (we had breakfast), clean, polite staff. I think this restaurant is newly built. When we went, there were no other customers but the service was fairly quick and the food was freshly prepared. Highly recommended place for a food break.
3. 2:00PM - Stopped at Smilestone restaurant just after Ahmednagar city. Started from there at 2:45PM.
4. 2:50PM - Stopped at Autocare HP COCO pump for refuelling which is just 8kms from smilestone when travelling towards Pune.
5. 5:40PM - Stopped at first food court (HP Pump) on Pune-Mumbai expressway while travelling towards Mumbai. Took a 10 mins break.
6. 7:15PM - Reached home in Navi Mumbai.

Road & Traffic Conditions:
1. Talegaon Chakan bypass road - Overall road condition is good. There are 3-4 completely broken patches of road where tar is non-existent. Heavy truck traffic will keep slowing you down. This is the most boring stretch in the entire journey.
2. Shikrapur chowk to Ahmednagar city - Average roads. 2 lane road but whenever road passes through a village it becomes single lane or one and half lane! Villages will slow you down. Open stretches of road are in good condition with some stretches having broken tarmac and in many places the road surface was patched up so the surface is uneven and at high speeds in a small car it can get slightly bumpy. However there were no sudden surprises like potholes anywhere. The ghat section was very good with butter smooth extra wide roads! Most of the traffic lights in Ahmednagar city were not functioning and it was a free for all situation. At the junctions where traffic lights were working I saw cops! No cops at junctions where traffic lights were not working.
3. Ahmednagar to Aurangabad - There were diversions at 2 places on this road for short stretches where the traffic is one way. In these stretches, the road condition is below average with lots of broken tarmac and uneven surfaces that will restrict speeds till 50-60 kmph. While going towards Aurangabad, road is in average condition with very few stretches having freshly asphalted surface. The other side of the road towards Ahmednagar is much better as most of the stretch is freshly asphalted.
4. Aurangabad Bypass - Once we took a right onto Golwadi bypass road, speeds reduced to 20-30 kmph! Situation worsened after a few kms and at most places even bigger trucks had to slow down as roads were full of big potholes and broken tarmac. However, when we took the right turn onto Beed bypass road, the situation improved drastically and roads were very smooth for the rest of the bypass till we hit Aurangabad - Jalna road.
5. Aurangabad to Jalna - I would rate this stretch as the best of the lot! The road is 2 lane all the way up to Jalna and quite smooth with hardly any uneven surfaces. We could make up some lost time on this stretch. Traffic is thin after Aurangabad bypass.
6. Jalna Bypass - Google map hows 2 bypass roads, one via Kanhaiya Nagar and other one passing next to Moti Talab. I took the Kanhaiya Nagar one as advised by HVK sir. Overall road conditions are poor but manageable. Road is quite wide and traffic is thin. In fact, at some stretches, we were the only ones driving! Watch out for some mini craters especially at the junctions/turns!
7. Jalna to Sindkhed Raja - Road is single lane but surprisingly in quite good condition. I could clock 90 kmph on this road on an open stretch! Traffic is thin with mostly 2 wheelers and jeep taxis ferrying local people.
8. Sindkhed Raja to Lonar via Sultanpur - Road is single lane and in average codition. Broken tarmac, road surface has been patched up at many places making the ride bumpy. Speed breakers will test the car's suspension. Need to go slow over these. Some road work was going on at Dusrabid. By the time we reached Sultanpur, it was dark. But the road from Sultanpur to Lonar was quite good. However there is a lot of truck traffic on this stretch (as mentioned to me by HVK sir).

Alternate direct route from Dusrabid to Lonar - Google map by default shows a shortcut via a village road from Dusrabid directly to Lonar. I took this route while returning and was pleasantly surprised by the good quality of asphalting at several stretches. The road is quite narrow as one has to slow down if a vehicle comes from opposite direction. But traffic is ultra thin (almost negligible). This route is almost 12 kms shorter than the usual route via Sultanpur. At one place, a small bridge was under repair and a wide enough dirt road had been created for vehicles to pass. Otherwise, the road is good.

Our stay at MTDC
Although MTDC is doing a fairly decent job by running the show at Lonar, It needs to still improve cleanliness especially when it comes to their kitchen, canteen area and crockery. The plates, glasses, cups were not clean and the food can also improve a bit, not from the POV of taste, but from the POV of hygiene. Rooms were in good shape however, bathroom fittings need an overhaul. Although I paid tariff for 2 people’s stay, we were accompanied by 2 lizards in our room for our 2 day stay! Indian Langurs (monkeys) play around in the resort premises during the day. Peacocks and peahens roam around in the resort campus and there are many stray dogs and a puppy in the campus. Staff is co-operative and polite. Service in the restaurant is prompt. Menu is vegetarian except for an option of bread omlette available for breakfast. There is a permit room on the ground floor level slightly away from the main restaurant building which has a separate access. Most of the people book at last minute and this place also sees some walk-in guests as well. I was staying in AC cottage room no. 2 and the sanitary fittings were leaking and needed an overhaul. All in all, it is a decent place to spend a night or two while visiting Lonar.

Lonar Crater - 'World's only hyper velocity meteorite crater in basaltic rock'
On the day I arrived at MTDC Lonar, a guide named Shailesh Sardar was present at the reception lobby/manager's office. The caretaker told me that the guide would charge 1200/- for a complete guided tour of Lonar crater and few other attractions. When I spoke to the guide, he quoted 1500/-!! I bargained and settled for 1000/- which is also on the higher side I felt. Next day morning we started at 7:15AM from the resort and walked down the crater rim. Took pictures along the way. We were probably the first ones to visit the crater on that day as we dint see anyone else on our way down. First stop was at a Ram temple. The guide told us this is probably the only Ram mandir in the country where Lord Ram's statue is alone (without Laxman and Sita's edifices). However, the natural light is admitted into the temple's mandapa from both corners (diagonals) in such a way that when we stand in front of Lord Rama's idol, we see 3 reflections of ourself, one falls on the idol of Lord Rama, the other 2 shadows fall on either side of the statue which symbolically could be interpreted as edifices of Laxman and Sita. There is a Shiva temple just next to Ram temple which is in ruins.
We walked down a forest path and reached the lake where the guide explained about the meteor strike's impact and about the water. The water in the lake is highly alkaline (pH 10.8) and the guide said during Akbar's reign, there was a soap factory in Lonar. We saw pug marks of leopard, wild boars and peacocks. The guide told us there are 4 leopards (2 adults male and female and their 2 cubs) in the forested parts of the crater rim. So these days tourists are only allowed to visit only half the periphery of the lake starting from Ram temple to Kamalja Mata Mandir which was our next stop. On the way we saw numerous migratory and local birds. The guide was explaining their names but I cant remember any! There are numerous Indian Langurs (monkeys) in the crater area. The Mata Mandir was closed at that time. The temple is built using the basalt stone from the crater and the guide used a magnetic compass to demonstrate the magnetic field in the stone which caused the compass to change orientation w.r.t. earth's magnetic field. Spooky ! I enjoyed clicking the raw untouched character of the landscape with a huge tree in front of the temple, the old imperfect contours of the temple structure and the serene lake in the background. Weather was pleasant as it was early in the day. We made our way back to the top of the crater and on our way back we stopped by two Shiva temples which are also in ruins. There are in all 12 Shiva temples along the entire periphery of the lake. The temples are built in Hemapanthi architectural style which was practiced by the Yadav dynasty in around 11th century A.D. There is no bonding of lime mortar between the dressed stone blocks but they are interlocked to each other. These temples need some serious intervention by Conservation architects. We saw two foreigner guys lying down on the roof of one of the dilapidated Shiva temples and enjoying the lake view. We were back at the resort by 10AM for breakfast.

Daitya Sudan Temple -
In the evening at 5PM we started from the resort to visit 3 local attractions in Lonar town. The first stop was at Daitya Sudan temple. The first thing I noticed was the distinct nature of the roof/upper half of the structure and the base. The architectural treatment of the upper half of the structure confirms to Islamic style with its arched openings and bi-directional arches spanning the roof bays on the inside. This upper portion is constructed in exposed bricks and the guide explained this was built during the reign of Nizam of Deccan Sultanate. The lower half is the original temple structure constructed somewhere probably around 11th century A.D. The guide said that local people had buried the temple under earth/mud to hide it and protect it from Islamic invasion. They had also removed the God's edifice and hidden it somewhere which nobody has fund out till today. I feel, another interpretation could be that the structure was indeed invaded by the Muslim invaders and the temple was partially destroyed and looted. The temple may have been restored by adding the brick roof structure by local artisans during Nizam's rule, who were well versed with Islamic construction techniques and probably they did not have the resources and time to re-build the temple in stone as per the original design with such intricate carvings. The temple's external facade is full of carvings. The ceiling in the Antarala (the space between mandapa and garbhagriha) is also full of intricate carvings depicting mythological stories. Couple of interesting points which were told by the guide - the plinth of the temple has seven layers which indicates that the temple was in the border town of the king's kingdom and this theory is supported by historical evidence of the then king's kingdom's geographical boundary where Lonar was a border town. There are carvings of chandelier in the ceiling of the temple which indicates that the king of the kingdom in which this temple falls was very rich and prosperous. There are carvings f dancing pose of Ganesha on the temple walls which indicate that the kingdom was quite prosperous and people in that kingdom were happy. This is the only Vishnu temple in India where Vishnu's edifice/idol is accompanied by Lakshmi's idol. These idols were donated to the temple (I unfortunately dont remember the name and details of the person who donated). The temple is 'saptaratha' type which means it has seven offsets (rathas) on the external side elevations. The town gets it's name Lonar from a mythological tale where Lord Vishnu kills an Asur named Lavnasur and this story is carved in the ceiling of the Antarala space just before the Garbhagriha. And Lonar in marathi means salt which also has resemblance with the highly saline water of the crater lake. Here at this temple we met Mr. Sudarshan Bugdane who is a retired school headmaster and is considered to be a lone ranger in trying to bring Lonar on the world map and grabbing our government's attention to preserve the crater's water, the forest, wild life, archeological monuments and some of his efforts have paid off. I bought a small guide book written by him for Rs.50/-. He has asked me to read his book and write back to him.

Gou Mukh -
This is basically a kund where natural spring water comes from as far as 18 kms as found out by NASA scientists and told to me by the guide. The water travels through an underground tunnel from the actual origin source which was created by the gases which were formed during the crater's impact. I did not understand this part very well. This structure is situated on the north side of the crater lake where a valley was formed by the meteor impact when it slid across this part of the land when the meteor hit at an angle. From the mythological point of view, it is believed that Lord Vishnu, after killing Lavnasur, his feet was soaked in Lavnashur's blood and Lord Vishnu washed his feet at this kund in the natural spring water. The access pathway to the kund structure is a step ramp which gradually descends towards the valley and opens up a view towards the crater lake. There is a big tree in the foreground which forms an interesting subject for a photo frame with the crater lake in the background.

Sleeping Hanuman Temple -
This was the third and last stop. This temple is slightly away from the hustle bustle of the main town. It is actually a private temple owned by Kanitkar family. The temple is approached by a dirt road. The entrance gate leads to the temple through a beautiful wheat field. A huge tree stands in the foreground of the temple entrance. The temple has a small courtyard inside which invites light into the interiors. The guide said this is the only Hanuman temple where Lord Hanuman is in his angry avatar. Hanuman has raised his right hand as if he is about to hit someone and if you scrutinise his facial expression, then one can see that Hanuman's teeth is visible indicating that he is angry. On further careful observation, one can see Shani Bhagwan under the feet of Lord Hanuman. The idol of Hanuman is actually upright (vertical)like any other idols in temples but this particular idol was installed and 'sthapana' was done in the horizontal position and hence this temple is called 'sleeping' Hanuman Mandir. The Hanuman idol used to be covered in 'sindur' (people offered sindur) and in the year 2013, the 'sindur' was removed and today the actual idol can be seen clearly.

With this, we wrapped up our Lonar tour. The meteor strike which supposedly happened 52,000 years back is definitely one of its kind especially in basaltic rock since basalt is one of the hardest stone types. However, the cave stone carvings in Ellora are all done in basalt rock. One can wonder how those people managed to carve in the hardest possible stone on earth? From what I have read, the basalt stones are of different types in different regions - yellow basalt, black basalt etc. The basalt stone available in Ajanta, Ellora and Aurangabad belt is of the softer type which is why people in earlier times were able to carve caves, sculptures and even temples (Ellora Temple) out of basalt rock. So it may be possible that the basalt rock in Lonar region is also of the softer type since it is geographically close to Aurangabad region. This is however my personal thought.

I am posting some photos of the roads in this post. In the subsequent posts I will post some pics of Lonar crater and the places we visited in Lonar. Hope this update helps all those looking to do this trip in the near future.
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Old 19th February 2017, 00:07   #43
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Default Re: Smoke On The Water, Fire In The Sky (Into Lonar Lake And Crater)

Posting some pics of Lonar crater and local attractions
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Old 19th February 2017, 00:21   #44
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Default Re: Smoke On The Water, Fire In The Sky (Into Lonar Lake And Crater)

Adding some more photos of places we visited in Lonar
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