Lo, behold the crater at Lonar!

The Hindu Business Line|February 22, 2020

Lo, behold the crater at Lonar!
A facelift is being given to a ‘geological gem’ in Maharashtra, a unique site ‘visited’ by a meteorite 50,000 years ago
N SHIVA KUMAR

Arun Gulabrao Mapari, a web designer, had worked for 20 years in Aurangabad. But one day in 2015, he simply gave up the ordeal of city life and decided to settle in rustic Lonar, 140 km from Aurangabad, in Buldhana district of Maharashtra.

Similarly, Sachin Ramdas Kapure, a software consultant, quit urban life in Pune to set up a boutique hotel in Lonar. Even though Aurangabad is a recognised tourist hub connecting world heritage sites like Ajanta, Ellora, Shirdi and Daulatabad Fort, Lonar was and still is far from the madding crowd.

Lonar village’s population is some 25,000. Very few visitors come by. And those who do are mostly day tourists who take a dip in the natural spring around which an ancient, little-frequented temple survives. The tiny hamlet, nevertheless, ranks as one of the topmost ‘geological gems’ in the world as the Lonar crater here is considered unique.

Dating back 50,000 years, the Lonar crater is the youngest and best-preserved impact crater formed in basalt rock and is regarded as the only one of its kind on earth. “Only a handful of scientists and wandering tourists with intense curiosity would take a peek at the lethargic Lonar geography and it has been neglected and abused over the years. When NASA space scientists, astrophysicists and moonrock sample seekers revere the location, why cannot we pay a little more attention to this unique formation formed by a huge extra-terrestrial rock?” wonders Mapari.

Cosmic visitor

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February 22, 2020