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 The idol of Mahesh is missing and has been replaced by an idol of Garuda.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.”
If you want to see Lonar the way we did, take out at least three days. And you must get Ramesh as your guide. Write to us at admin at desicreative dot come for his phone number.
[box type=”success” width=”100%” ]When to visit: As is with most places in India, winters are the best time. Summers are too hot and the lake waters would be very low. Monsoons, it rains a lot.
Where to stay : MTDC has a fabulous and inexpensive hotel right next to the crater. That’s the best place to stay here, although there are a couple of lodges. Email us for numbers.
How to visit : Lonar is 4 hours by road from Aurangabad and 8 hours from Pune. Its about 12 from Mumbai. How long to visit: Keep your visit to a minimum of three nights. The first night you reach and crash. The second day, start the day early for a 6am trek. It will take around 5 hours if you visit each of the ten temples in details. You need a third day to visit the other ancient temples in the town of Lonar. If you had a fourth day, you could drive around, its a beautiful place.
What to wear : Since much of the visit will be a trek through a forest, do be prepared, wear full sleeved clothes to avoid insect bites, wear good water resistant boots, since you will be walking n the muddy lake banks.[/box]
10 thoughts on “Lonar : The Ancient Town”
Wow, Daitya Sudan Temple looks marvelous! It might be less-known compared to other temples in Maharashtra, but it seems to be worth a visit for its intricate carvings and interesting sanctum — speaking of which reminds me of some Trimurti temples in Indonesia. However usually Shiva is in the middle, flanked by Brahma and Vishnu. So I’m really curious why in Daitya Sudan case Vishnu is in the middle. Does that indicate the Vaishnava nature of the temple?
Good observation, yes it does, I guess, because Vishnu had slain the ‘Daitya’ here… So I guess its in his honour. But we will probably never know, since over the years, deities change and a lot of appropriation happens.
Great discovery… everybody only visits the lake…
It seems to have a lot more than that!
Wow! What a beautiful temple.
I missed visiting this.
Very informative; thanks for sharing!
Wow I didnt even know anything about Lonar except for the lake. There is so much to see in India! I sometime feel so overwhelmed and proud of our country’s heritage!
Thats true Vaisakhi! Even we didnt expect much beyond the lake, but were pleasantly surprised!
Thanks for the detailed post, this place has some thing to offer for everyone. Memories from the trip to this place still fresh.
It is one of the most beautiful temples I’ve ever visited.Hemadpanthi architecture is magnificent and all the sculptures on outer wall are lively.But unfortunately, the temple and neighbouring places are not well maintained.Most of the locals are not aware of the historical importance and this place is not sufficiently advertised by tourism department.Sadly such a significant place is not on tourists’ map