Though I did not find it difficult, hiking to Lonar lake can be a daunting experience for some of us. The crater walls are steep and if you are living just a city life or are not very young, you might find it difficult to climb down or up, let alone doing a full round of the lake. Many people have returned back after trying to get down.
Some statistics of the crater lake:-
The meteoric lake is around 50 thousand years old.
The outer diameter of the lake is 1.83 kilometers.
The circumference is around 6-7 Kms.
Descent to lake i.e. distance from the rim to ground level = about 140 meters.
The water is saline in nature; my guide mentioned it has substantial quantity of sulphur and phosphorus too. How correct is this information, I have no idea.
Tips for hiking:-
Try this activity only if you are physically fit, into some hiking and do not have any kind of breathing problem. Remember, once you are down there, you need to come up too lest you want to become a feast for wolves and their other canine relatives. 🙂
The guide told me about a college group, which had come recently, of which two girls fell sick after covering 1/4th of the lake, feeling breathlessness. It took more than three hours for a doctor to reach there. Probably amount of sulphur and phosphorus had their way.
Start of the stone steps path.
On the same path, after a few meters.
There are 2 main paths leading down (or up)… One is stone steps path and another waterfall path. The waterfall path is considered ‘easy path’. But at some points a stretch of this easy path goes straight down steeply without any twists or good footholds and with loose small rocks beneath your feet the risk of slipping and hurtling down is huge. The difficult path consists of rocky steps that are eroded, steep and in poor condition. In monsoons they become even more adventurous to use. So, decide your path carefully.
It is better to take a guide with you. Again, there are a few of them but after talking to them I found the one I hired was the best. If you want, I can give you his details.
The mossy walkway. On one side it’s jungle and on other lake.
At ground level, the walkway is rather easy, natural, mostly shaded through the woods. The width of the walkway varies from around 10 feet to a mere one foot through thorny bushes & slushy mud and at times you might need some acrobatic skills.
On the way you’ll get to see these ruins.
Someone’s dedicated hard work is now a piece thrown in bushes.
The hike is quite interesting but it is better to take rest at various places during the course of 6-7 kms circle.
While stopping by in ruined temples you suddenly realize you are surrounded by such leftover snake skins strewn all over the floor…. aplenty.
And then you wonder whether it is safe to even stand there, let alone resting for a few minutes. 😀
skins left by snakes…
Points to remember:-
1. Carry some food and water. It’s absolute jungle out there. You won’t get anything once you start. And be a responsible citizen, keep a throw bag for all your garbage, bring it up… do not litter the lake.
2. Ladies, this one is for you. Visit restroom before the start unless you are comfortable in relieving yourself along with other animals in open natural surroundings.
3. Wear proper hiking shoes. The soil is slushy and you might end up like this.
4. Start in morning time and try to be back by 2 or 3 PM. Locals also start going back by that time. Even priests of temples leave by 1 PM as later some animals might wish to offer their prayers.
5. For locals it takes around 2.5 hours to complete the circle of lake. But they know the route & shortcuts and don’t take a break. People like you and me will easily take more than four hours which include resting and camera time.
Happy hiking !
What a serene view from a temple where we rested for a few minutes !
Back on the road, Lonar was etched in my memory, the deep water lake, the forgotten temples, the lush green jungle and the sound of animals. I have promised myself one more trip next year.
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