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The Guide To Lonar Crater Lake Trek

The last thing one would expect to see in the humble Buldwana district of Maharashtra is a 50,000-year-old cosmically created crater lake. Beauty, science, religion – the 6 km perimeter of the Lonar Crater Lake has many more aspects still waiting to be explored. Situated 8 km from Mumbai, this trek makes for a perfect weekend adventure.

Lonar Crater Lake has slowly gained interest, not just among scientists, but among trekkers as well. It is the only hypervelocity-natural-impact crater lake in basaltic rock in the world. The uniqueness of the alkaline lake has further led people to attach religious sentiments to it. Hence, there are a few beautiful temples around the lake that add to the charm.

  • Lonar Crater Lake Trek goes by a 50,000 years old saline soda lake formed by a meteor impact. Apart from the natural beauty of the lake, one can indulge in wildlife as well as Hindu temples located on the rim of the crater.
  • An unexplored cosmic marvel in Maharashtra
  • The last thing one would expect to see in the humble Buldwana district of Maharashtra is a 50,000-year-old cosmically created crater lake. Beauty, science, religion – the 6 km perimeter of the Lonar Crater Lake has many more aspects still waiting to be explored. Situated 8 km from Mumbai, this trek makes for a perfect weekend adventure.

Trail Information

The last thing one would expect to see in the humble Buldwana district of Maharashtra is a 50,000-year-old cosmically created crater lake. Beauty, science, religion – the 6 km perimeter of the Lonar Crater Lake has many more aspects still waiting to be explored. Situated 8 km from Mumbai, this trek makes for a perfect weekend adventure.  

Lonar Crater Lake has slowly gained interest, not just among scientists, but among trekkers as well. It is the only hypervelocity-natural-impact crater lake in basaltic rock in the world. The uniqueness of the alkaline lake has further led people to attach religious sentiments to it. Hence, there are a few beautiful temples around the lake that add to the charm.

How to Do Lonar Crater Lake Trek

This trek involves covering the 6 km perimeter of the lake. Every section of the lake has a different experience to offer. There are multiple starting points to the lake. Start the trek from Maharastra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) Hotel. The practical approach, which first goes to Kamalika Devi Temple, tends to be crowded. The hotel is next to Crater Lake, connected by a motor road.

Get started by walking to your right. You’ll approach the initial climb to the top of the lake’s outer wall. As you cross this outer wall, the view of the cocooned algae-ridden green lake is one-of-a-kind. It takes you back in time by 50,000 years, when a rapid meteorite swooshed down and the impact of its collision created a huge dent on the face of the Earth. One can only imagine the intensity of its blow! This scientific wonder is surrounded by a canopy of forest cover, which is quite dense in a few sections.

Descend towards the sparsely forested bank of the lake. This section is easy to find. There is a depression in the inner wall of the lake. There might be a rotting smell of the alkaline lake, but this becomes more distinct after you have walked around 200 m. Take an anti-clockwise approach while trekking around the lake. Look for a small trail that goes into a densely forested bank on your right. The trail gets more picturesque as it passes a series of standalone ruins from the yesteryear. There are a series of small rivulets that flow down to the lake. The trail vanishes at a few sections owing to dense forest cover.

One can either find a way through the dense forest or climb towards a higher section of the crater. On the opposite side of the lake is an ancient temple of Kamalja Devi. Hike towards the temple complex, with the lake remaining on your left. This section of the hike is the most scenic one. As you reach the banks of Kamalja Devi temple, look for exquisite wall carvings. The walk from here passes a series of mini waterfalls that appear only during monsoon season.

One can add another excursion to their trek by climbing up to the Gomukh Temple, from where the view is grand. There is a bridge on the trail that leads one to the staircase of the temple. However, it might be crowded with devotees. From here, walk up and reconnect with the motor road as you leave the crater lake behind. A kilometre hike along the road will have you reach the MTDC Hotel.

Maps and Charts

Lonar crater lake trek

Trail Information

What to Pack for the trek

No, stuffing it all in isn’t the right way to do it Packing a backpack correctly saves precious time that you might waste trying to find your things later. It is wise to spend some time learning what really goes into packing a backpack.

What should I pack?

On a trek, you only get what you take. Something as simple as a forgotten matchbox can cripple your cooking plans throughout the trek. So, it’s essential to prepare early and prepare well. To begin with, make a checklist. While shopping, remember this thumb rule - keep it light. “Every item needs to be light. This ensures that your backpack, on the whole, stays light,” says Sandhya UC, co-founder of Indiahikes. Balancing out heavy items with light ones isn’t going to have the same effect as having all light items. “Always opt for good quality, light items,” says Sandhya.

How much should my bag weigh?

“Your backpack for a weekend trek should weigh between 8 and 10 kg,” explains Arjun Majumdar, co-founder of Indiahikes, “To break it down, your tent should weigh around 2.5 kg, your sleeping bag, around 1.5 kg, and the ration, stove and clothes should constitute the other 5 kg.” The best way to plan is by concentrating on the basic necessities – food, shelter and clothes. Gather only those things that you’ll need to survive. Do not pack for ‘if’ situations. “That’s one of the common mistakes that people make – packing for ‘if situations’. It only adds to the baggage that you can do without on a trek,” says Sandhya.

One good way to go about it is to prepare a list of absolute essentials. Start with the most essential and end with the least essential. That way, when you feel you are overshooting the limit, you can start eliminating from the bottom. Another tip is to be smart while packing clothes. Invest in light. wash and wear fabrics. "Replace a sweater with two t-shirts," adds Sandhya. Layering is the mantra when it comes to trekking. Refer to Sandhya’s clothes list to pack smart.

Trek packing hack

Packing hack for a trek

How to pack

The thumb rule for this one is to eliminate air spaces. Make sure that everything is packed tightly, especially clothes and jackets, as they tend to take up maximum air space. Put in all the large items first. Then squeeze in the smaller ones in the gaps. This ensures minimum air space. A good way to pack clothes is by using the Ranger Roll method.

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Where to pack

BottomSleeping bag: Make this your base layer. Sleeping bags tend to be voluminous, but do not weigh much. They’re perfect for the bottom of the bag. Tent: Just like the sleeping bag, even tents are voluminous and light. Keep the tent poles separately and place the fabric at the bottom of the backpack. MiddleHeavy jacket: Roll up the jacket in a tight ball and place it in the middle of the backpack, close to your back. The middle region of the backpack should always have the heaviest items. You can store other things like ration or mini stoves in the middle. Other clothes: Roll other clothes and place them in the remaining space, to fill air gaps.

TopWater: Water, although heavy, needs to be easily accessible. So put it in the top most region of your backpack. Medicine box: This is another component that you wouldn’t want to be scavenging for when in need. Poncho: It could rain at any time in the mountains. So, ponchos should be accessible easily. Also, having a waterproof poncho at the top of the backpack provides additional waterproofing to items in the bag.

Trek backpack essentials

Backpack essentials

How to Get Fit for the trek

Cardiovascular endurance

The secret to ascending any trail lies in building your cardiovascular endurance. You can begin by jogging every day. Ideally, you should be able to jog 4 km in 20 minutes before the start of the trek. It takes time to be able to cover this distance in the given time. Start slow and increase your pace every day. Swimming, cycling and stair climbing without too many breaks in between can help too. Strength This is another area you should work on. You will need to build strength in your muscles and in your core body. You can do some squats to strengthen your leg muscles. Do around 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set. Apart from this, you can add planks and crunches to your workout.

Flexibility

Another aspect that will help you trek comfortably is flexibility. For this, you can do some stretching exercises - stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain after a while. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek. Working out indoors.

If you can't go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here's a video you can use to work out indoors.

Trek Contribution

Author: Vaibhav Chauhan

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