Lonar Temples

Temples Of The Lonar Crater

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

Shiva Temple Lonar
Beautiful pillar and brackets adorn this temple.
Lord Rama Temple, Lonar
The second temple, dedicated to Lord Rama.
Lord Rama Temple, Lonar
Details of old carvings in the temple
Bats in Lonar Temple.
Cute fruit bats hang out in the third temple in Lonar Crater. It’s a temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. We found plenty of discarded snake skin here. The one with the brownish coat is a mating male. (Note: These bats, like all of them, are harmless)
Grey Langoor, Lonar
A small bunch of grey langoors kept us company in one of the temples.
Temple, Lonar
Lost count which temple this was…
Shiva Temple Lonar
The 4th Temple of Lonar Crater, another Shiva Temple.
Padmavati Temple.
The 5th Temple, dedicated to Padmavati, has a daily pooja happening. It is said the Goddess appeared Swayambhu here. This temple is also known as the Kamalja Devi Temple.
Tiger at Lonar
The Tiger, as a loyal Vahan waiting outside the door signifies the deity inside is Durga.
Padmavati Temple, Lonar
Rear view of the Padmavati Temple.
Alkaline waters of Lake Lonar
This is where we did the alkalinity test with turmeric powder.
lonar-temple-001
The 6th Temple, another one dedicated to Lord Shiva.
Shiva Temple
Frontal view of the Shiva Temple.
Lonar Forest Trail
We now move into the forest trail from the Lake side. Dense vegetation provided some relief from the harsh sun.
Lonar Shiva Temple
I lost count. Is this the 8th one? It’s also a Shiva Temple.
Temple inside Lonar.
Closer shot of what appears to be the 8th temple.
Holy Cow Hoof Carvings, Lonar
Beautiful carvings of graphic formations using the hoof print of a Holy Cow.
Steps at Lonar
The final walk up many many steps.
Gaumukh Temple, Lonar
The last temple at the end of the trek, the Gaumukh (Gomukh) Temple, has a perennial stream emerges from here where pilgrims bathe. It’s also called the Sita Nahani Temple or Dhara.
Gomukh Temple, Lonar.
Pilgrims come to bathe here. I noticed the temple authorities wouldnt let people use soap, as it pollutes the water.
Gomukh Temple Pilgrims
Pilgrims at Gomukh Temple in Lonar, Maharashtra in traditional dress.

If you want to visit Lonar the way we did, you must hire Ramesh, our excellent local guide. We also tried to meet Mr ST Bugdane, who has written a comprehensive book: Lonar – The Unique Indian Meteorite Crater in Basaltic Rock. But somehow the timings didn’t work out.

[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.

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27 thoughts on “Temples Of The Lonar Crater”

  1. It is great that the Gaumukh Temple is located right at the end of the trek for its pool refreshes pilgrims alike. I really like that relief carved using the hoof print. Does that mean the temple where that panel sits is a Shiva temple?

    Reply
  2. Lovely post. I had heard of the Lonar crater but these temples are a surprise. Looks lovely and after the rain it would be magnificent ! What’s the best time to visit ?

    Reply
    • Hi Agness! Yes yrs possible to enter all of them, and there is no entrance fee! If ever you wZnt to visit, do send me a mIl and I will connect you to the right guide.

      Reply
  3. i saw a mud path leading down to the padmavati temple. Did not see any steps. Where are they ? Do they do go all the way down ? Would be useful for elderly people.

    Reply

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