Oakland : The Art Hub Of The West

It is said that Oakland, California has the highest concentration of artists in America, and hence known as The Art Hub of The West. With a vibrant arts scene, this city is a must visit for lovers of the arts. Situated across the river from San Francisco, Oakland is only a BART train and a … Read more Oakland : The Art Hub Of The West

San Francisco : The City To Fall In Love With

What makes a city interesting? History, culture and the arts. San Francisco, also fondly called Frisco or San Fran has a rich history and a culture that gave birth to the flower power of the 70s. San Francisco is the cultural, commercial and financial centre of Northern California. It was founded on June 29, 1776 … Read more San Francisco : The City To Fall In Love With

Golconda Fort, Hyderabad, In The Rains

When we hear of the Koh-I-Noor ot Daria-I-Noor or the Hope Diamond, we probably associate these with diamonds, wealth, stories, mystery etc. But what’s common to all these famous diamonds is they were all mined arouind Golconda region. Golconda means round hill. This region was famous for its diamonds and as such a vibrant economy … Read more Golconda Fort, Hyderabad, In The Rains

Hyderabad : A Brief Visit

Hyderabad

The old cities of India have always been charming for their richness of cuisine, culture and architecture. Hyderabad is a prime example, a city of the Nawabs founded in 1591 by Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah. About 100 years later, the Mughals captured the region and around 1741, a Mughal Viceroy Asif Jah I declared sovereignty … Read more Hyderabad : A Brief Visit

Ellora Caves : A Marvel of Sculpture Art

Our drive to Aurangabad was combined with a visit to the Ajanta and Ellora Caves. I had only read of these magnificent monastery/temple complexes in school, and when an opportunity came up to travel to Aurangabad, we were thrilled to be able to visit these UNESCO world heritage sites, which have become of the top … Read more Ellora Caves : A Marvel of Sculpture Art

Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad : UNESCO World Heritage Site

I had always wondered why ancient Indian art was almost entirely sculpture and architecture and so little painting. An August trip to Ajanta Caves changed the belief completely. Located 100km from Aurangabad, Ajanta Caves are one of the finest remains of ancient Buddhist art, and it is said these cave frescos influenced many later paintings … Read more Ajanta Caves, Aurangabad : UNESCO World Heritage Site

Kaza : Key, Kibber and Langza

In the end of October 2016, we had driven down to Spiti Valley from Mumbai. We went through Jaipur – Chandigarh – Sarahan – Sangla – Nako and finally we reached Kaza. Most of the Spiti Valley is a high altitude cold desert, and as such water is scarce and so is the vegetation. And in … Read more Kaza : Key, Kibber and Langza

A Day In Aurangabad : Bibi Ka Maqbara

With a few days off, and an itch to road trip in the rains, we decided on Aurangabad followed by Lonar. This is one stretch we hadn’t been to, and the time at hand perfectly enabled us to quickly freeze the plans and leave. Aurangabad is roughly 340 km from Mumbai (240 from Pune) and … Read more A Day In Aurangabad : Bibi Ka Maqbara

Viratnagar, Rajasthan : Steeped In History

During our grand Rajasthan road trip last year, we dropped by Viratnagar, a nondescript little town, which is so steeped in history that it deserves a special trip of its own. And while we are yet to make that trip, I am collecting my thoughts on this once glorious city, also known as Bairat. Bairat’s … Read more Viratnagar, Rajasthan : Steeped In History

Siliserh : Off The Beaten Track

In the scenic region of Alwar, tucked away next to the magnificent Sariska National Park, is Lake Siliserh. Since it’s off the main route, many would miss it. There isn’t much here but a beautiful lake surrounded by the forested Aravalli Hills. But perhaps, that itself is everything. The only place to stay here is … Read more Siliserh : Off The Beaten Track

Lonar : The Ancient Town

We completed our Lonar trip with a day spent in the town, exploring the Daitya Sudan Temple. The earlier two posts, about the Lonar Crater and the Lonar Crater Temples are also worth looking at. This ancient village/town has more to it than these two areas, and in our limited time, we tried to explore it.

Lonar is a tiny village/town in Maharashtra where, about 50,000 years ago, a giant meteor crashed into earth, creating a large circular lake of 1.4 km diameter, which has saline water. In the circumference of the lake are 10 ancient temples, perhaps from the 9th Century AD.

The Lonar MTDC Resort is the place to stay, although an old PWD Guesthouse is also available on prior notice. We recommened MTDC anytime, as here it was neat, clean and rather unoccupied.

The town has an ancient temple called ‘Daitya Sudan Mandir’. Legend has it, Lord Vishnu had killed a Daitya, Lavanasur, here. Next to the temple is a Bramha – Vishnu – Mahesh temple. The idol of Mahesh is missing and has been replaced by an idol of Garuda.

The temple of Daitya Sudan is considered a fine example of the Hemadpanthi style of architecture. The temple has three niches, each dedicated to Chamunda, Surya and Narasimha. Each niche feels like a complete temple in itself. The walls and ceilings of the temple are elaborately carved with various figurines depicting various scenes from the scriptures, scenes from everyday life and stories. Try and keep a day only for this temple.

Apart from the temple, we came across a fascinating ancient ‘step well’ from the times of the Chalukya Dynasty. Locally called the ‘Limbi Barav’, the well is in a state of dis-repair, but fenced by the Archaeological Society Of India. On each of the four walls is a niche for idols which are now missing. On the east side is a balconied pavilion. There are Saptamatrikas carved on the space inside the balcony, suggesting there must have been an idol of a goddess. These seven ‘mothers’ can be “Brahmani, Vaishnavi, Maheshvari, Indrani, Kaumari, Varahi, Chamunda and Narasimhi.”

 

PWD Guesthouse Lonar
The old Public Works Department Guesthouse is located favourably overlooking the Lonar Lake.

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Temples Of The Lonar Crater

Lonar Temples

Almost slipping down the steep path to the lake, we saw the first of the 10 temples inside the Lonar Crater. The dense monsoon vegetation gave way to glimpses of a gorgeous temple made of stone. We reached closer to take pictures. It’s a Shiva Temple, and the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is working on its restoration. These temples were built during the Chalukya Dynasty’s rule, around the 8th/9th Century AD. What did the people think of the brackish lake waters? What did they do with it? Some say it has healing powers.

I tried to keep a track of the temples with the photographs, but failed, as time erased some memories. Too much information to keep track of! But here are my text notes:

1st temple in the forest trek : Shiv Temple : 9th Century by Chalukya Dynasty
2nd temple : Rama Temple : Chalukya Dynasty in the 9th Century AD
3rd Temple was full of bats. It was a Shiva Temple also 9th Century additions by the Yadavkalin Dynasty.
4th Temple : Shiv Temple 16 positions are shown carved in rock here.
5th : Padmavati Temple : It has regular Puja happening here. The goddess inside is Swambhu.
6th Temple : Shiv temple again.
7th Temple : Shiv Temple without the Shiv Lingam
8th : Shiv Temple
9th : Daitya Guru Shukra Acharya : He found Sanjeevini in Lonar Crater and would treat Daityas. This temple was his vaidyashala.
10th : Kumareshwar Temple also by Chalukya Dynasty. This is also a Shiv Temple.

The last temple on top is Gaumukh Temple made by Hoysala Kings. Later additions were made by Nana Saheb Peshwa and Ahilyabai Holkar.

Our visit to Lonar is posted here in an earlier article.

Shiva Temple at Lonar
Shiva Temple at Lonar

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