Lonar Crater Lake - Historic tourist destination in Vidarbha
The Third Largest Crater on Earth, 1.8kms in diameter and 132 meters deep, is in Vidarbha at Lonar, situated in the Buldhana district near Mehekar. This crater was noticed by the military officer C.G.E Alexander in 1923 for the first time. Later Geological Survey of India and Mr. Gilbert both deeply studied the crater and concluded that it was formed more than 50,000 years ago due to a Meteorite Strike. At the base of the Crater is a picturesque salt lake. There are some very beautiful temples on the beach around the lake. The crater, the lake and the forests within, have created a beautiful eco system, playing hosts to a wide variety of birds and plants.
Various precious crystal stones are found here.
The word Lonar is derived from Lavanasur –the demon (Asur means a demon). And there is a mythological story about it. This name Lavansur is found in Rigveda.
According to Puranas, Lavanasur was the son of Kashay Rishi. He received a boon from Lord Siva that his death would not be like other ordinary person i.e nobody could kill him easily. Knowing this, he started harassing the people residing nearby; hence all the people approached Lord Vishnu, to request him to free them from this demon. Lord Vishnu killed him, when he was hiding in the deep pit of Lonar. There is documented historical reference of Lonar from the time of emperor Ashoka.