Saturday, 29 January 2011

January 29, 2011

Sagareshwar



Driving on the way to Shiroda from Vengurla just turn to the right at Ubhadanda you will see the huge streteh of shiny silvery sand dunes. By trampling the sand under the foot, a short walk, climbing the sand dunes and   lo behold you are at the sparkling beach and crystal blue waters of Sagreshwar. This beautiful beach is just 3-4 kms from Vengurla. A small temple of Sagareshwara(Lord of the Sea) is situated on the beach.

The Cajuring plantations on the beach offers hospitality and pleasure to the tourists. Ideal for swimming, this is a secluded beach and can be accessed by trekking.

Other places of Interest nearby :
Mochemad Beach
Vetoba Temple
Shiroda Velagar Beach
Redi Ganesh Temple

How to Reach :
By Air: Dabolim, Goa
By Rail: Kudal On konkan Railway
By Road: Vengurla 3 Kms, Kudal 26 Kms.

Explore these places :
Amboli |  Anjaneri  | Anjanvel | Aronda | Battis Shirala | Baneshwar | Bhuleshwar | Bor Dam | Bordi | Dhutpapeshwar | Dive Agar | Durshet | GMRT Narayangaon | Igatpuri | Junnar Caves | Kanheri | Kolad | Khodala | Kopeshwar | Lonar | Marleshwar | Narnala | Nawegaon Bandh | Palghar | Phansad | Pitalkhora | Ramdara | Revdanda | Redi | Sagareshwar | Toranmal | Tulapur | Ujni |  more to come.
January 29, 2011

Ujni


Ujni dam is situated in Solapur District. This dam is on the river Bhima. Bhimanagar a new township. Bird sanctuary. 20-km long Asia's longest underground tunnel to carry water form Ujani dam to river Sina. Watch the Flamingoes while they walk on the water. Experience the fascinating boat ride at the Ujani Dam backwaters.

Every year, from September till Feb-March, Pune and its surrounding water bodies are home to a number of migratory birds. These visitors travel thousands of kilometers to escape the winters of Europe, Northern Asia and Himalayas.

Situated about 100 km from Pune the backwaters of the UJANI dam near Bhigvan provide a healthy habitat for all the migratory waterfowls. Specially known for the Greater Flamingoes, which arrive in mid-winters this place is flooded with a variety of Ducks, Pochards, Storks, Ibises and Terns. The deep waters in the center of the water body attract Sea Gulls and the shallow water lands surrounding the backwaters attract waders and other water birds. The narrow bridge across the Ujani dam gives a good opportunity for all the birdwatchers to flock and watch.


How to Reach :
By Road: Ujni is near from Solapur.
By Rail : Solapur is nearest Railway Station.


Explore these places :
Amboli |  Anjaneri  | Anjanvel | Aronda | Battis Shirala | Baneshwar | Bhuleshwar | Bor Dam | Bordi | Dhutpapeshwar | Dive Agar | Durshet | GMRT Narayangaon | Igatpuri | Junnar Caves | Kanheri | Kolad | Khodala | Kopeshwar | Lonar | Marleshwar | Narnala | Nawegaon Bandh | Palghar | Phansad | Pitalkhora | Ramdara | Revdanda | Redi | Sagareshwar | Toranmal | Tulapur | Ujni |  more to come.

Friday, 28 January 2011

January 28, 2011

Revdanda



Revdanda is a village near Alibag, India. It is 17 km away from Alibag and 125 km away from Mumbai.Till a few years ago the coastal road that goes south from Alibag used to terminate at Revdanda where it encountered the Kundalika creek. A bridge now spans the creek and the whole stretch southward of Revdanda up to Murud-Janjira has now become accessible. Part of the town is situated within the premises of an old Portuguese fort.

If you drive through the town, the road enters through an old archway and then exits from another before getting to the bridge. If between these two archways you turn right and make a detour to the western portion of the fort, which reaches out into the sea, you have found a great vantage point. During high tide the waves crash onto the palm-fringed ramparts of the fort and you get a magnificent view of the creek to the south and the beach to the north. There is an entrance from the beach to the fort. Revdanda is also the location where St. Francis Xavier delivered one of his early sermons in India. The chapel still exists in a run down condition. The chapel is within the walled fort, on the south side and not far from the main road. There are many places to watch out in Revdanda. Revdanda is a historical place and resembles closely to the era of shivaji, though its not one the famous place in history related to Shivaji Maharaj.

Revdanda came into when Russian historians found out that the first traveller to India landed in Revdanda. A monument was raised in his memory. On the 23rd of November, 2000, a foundation stone for the monument in memory of Afanasy Nikitin, the first Russian traveller to India was laid at Revdanda. 

The beauty of this place lies in the coconut and beetlenut trees in this region. The plantations of coconut trees is called "naralachi baag" or "wadi" in Marathi language. The place is also famous for a species of aromatic flower called "Bakuli" its a small flower with a wonderful fragrance. Apart from the plantations of coconut and beetlenut the livelihood of people in this region comes from the production of rice. The most perfect time to visit Revdanda is month of Dec and Monsoon season.

Places of Attraction
Datta Mandir
Rameshwar Mandir
Shitala Devi Mandir
Revdanda Beach
Revdanda Fort

How to Reach :
Revdanda is just 16 km from Alibaug and is on the same stretch. One can follow the same route as mentioned for Alibaug. Most preferable is the ferry service from where one can get down at Mandawa Jetty and take private auto rickshaw or bus to Revdanda.

Explore these places :
Amboli |  Anjaneri  | Anjanvel | Aronda | Battis Shirala | Baneshwar | Bhuleshwar | Bor Dam | Bordi | Dhutpapeshwar | Dive Agar | Durshet | GMRT Narayangaon | Igatpuri | Junnar Caves | Kanheri | Kolad | Khodala | Kopeshwar | Lonar | Marleshwar | Narnala | Nawegaon Bandh | Palghar | Phansad | Pitalkhora | Ramdara | Revdanda | Redi | Sagareshwar | Toranmal | Tulapur | Ujni |  more to come.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

January 27, 2011

Narnala



Narnala also known as "Shahanur Fort" is an Indian hill fortress in Maharashtra, India. The name Narnala was given after the Rajput Ruler Narnal Singh or Narnal Swami. The fort was built in 10 A.D. by Gond Kings. In 15th Century Mughals have occupied and rebuild the fort and hence it has been called Shahnoor Fort. Narnala was one of the thirteen sarkar of Berar Subah. Narnala consists of three small forts named Zafarabad fort (or Jafarabad) on the east, Narnala in the centre and Teliagarh on the west.

It is a historical place since the Khilji Dynasty, and it was one of the Sarkar Subah Berar in the medieval period. The fort is known for the great Muslim saint Hazrat Burhanuddin "BAGH SAWAR WALI" and it is said that many white tigers were seen with the hazrat at that time. ADLI BEG or ATALU BEG erected many Arabic Scripts and the "TUP" named "KADAK BIJLI". It is also the birth place of Aurangzeb's great grand son. Sardar Beg Mirza and Qader Beg Mirza were the hereditary men of Mughal Dynasty in the 18th century.They to stay near Argaon 9 km away from Hiwarkhed because Shah Beg Subedar of Berar was holding the fort. It is located in the Akot Taluka, Akola District, Berar (also called Amravati Division)at coordinates of 21o 15' N and 77o 4' E. The closest city is Akot which is 18 km away. It is at the southern most tip of the Satpura Hills at an elevation of 3161 feet(912 m) above sea level. Currently, this area falls within the Melghat Tiger Reserve.

Narnala Sanctuary :


Narnala Wildlife Sanctuary, located few kilometres from Akola district in Maharashtra, is one of the famous wildlife sanctuaries in the country. The dense forest surrounding the ancient Narnala Fort was declared as the Narnala Wildlife Sanctuary on 2nd May 1997.


Spread over an area of around 12 sq. km, this sanctuary is home to various species of fauna and flora. Ain, bamboo, dhawda, lendia, tiwas, salai, teak, sterculia and kusum are some of the flora species that can be found in Narnala Wildlife Sanctuary. Animal species, including sambhar, leopards, wild boars, barking deer, porcupines and serpents, can be spotted in the sanctuary.


This sanctuary is managed by the forest authority and the Indian wildlife authority. The months from October to April are the best time to visit the sanctuary. Travellers can choose Akola Municipal Transport (AMT) or auto-rickshaws in order to reach this site.

Explore these places :
Amboli |  Anjaneri  | Anjanvel | Aronda | Battis Shirala | Baneshwar | Bhuleshwar | Bor Dam | Bordi | Dhutpapeshwar | Dive Agar | Durshet | GMRT Narayangaon | Igatpuri | Junnar Caves | Kanheri | Kolad | Khodala | Kopeshwar | Lonar | Marleshwar | Narnala | Nawegaon Bandh | Palghar | Phansad | Pitalkhora | Ramdara | Revdanda | Redi | Sagareshwar | Toranmal | Tulapur | Ujni |  more to come.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

January 26, 2011

Kanheri Caves



The Kanheri Caves are a group of rock-cut monuments, located north of Borivali on the western outskirts of Mumbai, India, deep within the green forests of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park. It is 6 km from the National Park Main Gate & 7 km from Borivali Station. Tourists can go in after 7.30 a.m. Kanheri Caves are signs of Buddhist influence on art and culture in India. Kanheri comes from the Sanskrit word Krishnagiri meaning black mountain. They were chiseled out of a massive basaltic rock outcropping. These caves date from 1st century BCE to 10th century CE. In total in the basalt there have been carved 109 caves. Unlike the elegant splendor of Elephanta Caves nearby, the earlier cells are spartan and unadorned. Each cave has a stone plinth for a bed. A congregation hall with huge stone pillars contains the stupa, a Buddhist shrine. Farther up the hill are the remains of an ancient water system, canals and cisterns that collected and channeled the rainwater into huge tanks. Once the caves became permanent monasteries, they began to be carved out of the rock with intricate reliefs of Buddha and the Bodhisattvas carved into the walls. Kanheri had become an important Buddhist settlement on the Konkan coast by the 3rd century A.D.

Vihara - prayer hall
Most of the caves are the Buddhist viharas meant for living, study, and meditation. The larger caves were chaityas, or halls for congregational worship, are lined with intricately carved Buddhist sculptures, reliefs and pillars, and contain rock-cut stupas for congregational worship. The Avalokiteshwara is the most distinctive figure. The large number of viharas obviously prove a well-organized existence of Buddhist monks' establishment, which was also connected with many trade centers such as the ports of Sopara, Kalyan, Nasik, Paithan and Ujjain. Kanheri was a University center by the time the area was under the rule of the Maurayan and Kushan empires.[5] In the late 10th century, the Buddhist teacher Atisha (980-1054) came to the Krishnagiri Vihara to study Buddhist meditation under Rahulagupta.

How to Reach :
Kanheri caves is located deep inside the Sanjay Gandhi National Park which is in Borivali East. Once you get there, you need to pay a certain entry fee at the gate (Once at entry of sanjay gandhi national park and another at the entrance of kanheri caves). The caves are quite a distance away from the entrance, about 5 kilometres (3 mi). Transport by bus to the caves is available every hour.

Explore more Caves :

Friday, 21 January 2011

January 21, 2011 0

Samartha Ramdas



Ramdas was one of the greatest saints of the world. He was the inspirer of Shivaji. He was born of Suryaji Panth and Renuka Bai in Jamb, Maharashtra, in 1608 A.D. His original name was Narain. Ramdas was a contemporary of Sant Tukaram. He was a great devotee of Hanuman and Lord Rama. He had Darshan of Lord Rama even when he was a boy. Lord Rama Himself initiated him.

As a boy, Ramdas acquired some knowledge of the Hindu scriptures and developed a liking for meditation and religious study. One day he shut himself in a room and began to meditate on God. When his mother asked him what he was doing, Ramdas replied that he was meditating and praying for the good of the world. His mother was surprised at the precocious religious inclination of the boy and felt happy.

When Ramdas was twelve years of age, all arrangements were made for his marriage. He sat in front of the bride. There was a screen between the bridegroom and the bride. When the priests chanted "Sawadhan!' (be alert), Ramdas bolted away from the place and disappeared within the twinkling of an eye.

For twelve years Ramdas stayed at Nasik on the banks of the Godavari. He used to get up very early in the morning, go into the Godavari river, and with his body half-immersed in water, recite the sacred Gayatri Mantra till about noon. Then he would go round for alms. He first offered the collected food to his Deity Sri Rama and then took it as Prasad. After resting a while, he used to attend religious discourses in the various temples of Nasik and Panchavati. Ramdas also studied Sanskrit and copied in his own hand the Ramayana of Valmiki.

Ramdas did Purascharana of the Rama Mantra of thirteen letters Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram thirteen lakhs of times at Tafali, near Nasik, on the banks of the Godavari. After the Purascharana was over, once again Ramdas had Darshan of Lord Rama. It is said that Ramachandra ordered Ramdas to visit holy places such as Nasik, Haridwar, Kasi, etc.
Ramdas sprinkled over a dead body holy water uttering the name of Rama and the dead body was restored to life. Ramdas had to do this, because he had blessed a woman who had just lost her husband.

Ramdas was an Advaitin and a Bhakta in one. He had this very noble quality that he never hated any religion or nation. His main object was to spread the Hindu religion throughout India.
Ramdas had not visited Pandharpur, as he had not known the existence of this holy place. One day, the tradition says, Lord Panduranga Vittal, in the form of a Brahmin, with a batch of three hundred pilgrims, appeared before Ramdas and asked him whether he had any objection to see Lord Krishna. Ramdas replied in the negative. Panduranga then took Ramdas to Pandharpur, and when the Bhaktas approached the temple, the Brahmin disappeared. Ramdas then knew that it was none other than the Lord that had brought him to that holy place. He entered the temple, and to his great surprise, found Sri Rama standing alone on a brick.

Ramdas addressed the Deity thus: "O Lord, what are You doing here alone? Where is Your brother Lakshmana and Your consort Sita Mata? Where is Maruti and where are the monkey hordes?". On hearing these words, the image at once transformed itself into Sri Pandarinath. Ramdas then praised Panduranga for His kindness, prostrated before Him and sang songs of joy for getting His rare Darshan. Ramdas now felt doubly convinced that the several incarnations of the Lord were but His several forms and preached that everyone should respect and worship the One who took care of one and all in the world. Ramdas then worshipped Panduranga to his heart's content and became a frequent visitor and Bhakta of Panduranga Vittal also. In Pandharpur, Ramdas came in contact with Tukaram and other saints of Pandharpur. In his pilgrimages, Ramdas observed and studied the social, political and economic conditions of Indians and their utter helplessness in life.

It is said that Sri Rama ordered Ramdas to go to the banks of the Krishna and help the cause of Shivaji, the incarnation of Siva and founder of the Kingdom of Maharashtra. Ramdas came to the Krishna and went about preaching from Mahabaleshwar to Kolhapur. He established eleven principal seats of Maruti which emphasized the importance of physical development. He installed the shrines of Sri Ramachandra at Champavati and introduced Sri Rama Navami Mahotsava and the procession of Sri Rama's chariot. It was at the place called Singanvadi that Shivaji became the disciple of Ramdas.

Shivaji placed the sandals of his Guru on the throne and acted as regent of the kingdom under the orders and guidance of his Guru and adopted as ensign the flag of orange colour. There is a beautiful and romantic incident current in the Maharashtra country about Shivaji's adoption of the Gerua flag and his ruling the kingdom in the name of Saint Ramdas.

One day Shivaji saw, from the terrace of his palace, his Gurudev Ramdas going about the streets with his begging bowl. Shivaji was surprised and could not understand why his Guru should beg when he himself had already placed all his resources at the disposal of his Gurudev. However, Sadhus are difficult to understand. Shivaji therefore called for his companion Balaji, wrote a small chit and asked him to give it to Guruji when he came to the palace. About noon, Ramdas came to the palace with his bowl and Balaji prostrated before Gurudev and placed the chit at his feet. Briefly, the chit conveyed that Shivaji had made a gift of his whole kingdom to Gurudev and he humbly solicited his Gurudev's blessing. The Guru smiled and told Balaji that it was alright. Next morning Ramdas called on Shivaji and asked him what he proposed to do with himself as he had disposed of his kingdom.

Shivaji prostrated himself before Ramdas and said that he would be very happy and consider himself blessed if he should spend his life in his Gurudev's service. Then Ramdas said, "Take this bowl and let us go on our rounds". So Ramdas and Shivaji went round Satara begging. The people reverently bowed before the pair and gave them alms. The pair returned to the river. Ramdas prepared his simple meals and Shivaji partook of what was left after his Gurudev had finished his meals. Then Shivaji, with a smile, asked his Gurudev what he was going to do with him after reducing him to a beggar. Ramdas knew that the opportunity had come to set up a lofty ideal for the king.

Ramdas asked Shivaji to rule the kingdom in his (Ramdas's) name, to take the Gerua Chaddar for his banner and defend its honour with his life, and to think that the kingdom did not belong to himself but treat it as a trust to be ruled justly and well before God. And thus had come the Gerua banner to Shivaji.
Ramdas spent several years in visiting holy places of pilgrimage. He erected several Hanuman temples in Maharashtra. When he returned from his pilgrimage, somebody told Ramdas that his mother was pining for him, and that she had lost her eyesight on account of extreme sorrow arising out of his separation. Ramdas immediately went to see his mother. He made prostrations to his mother. His mother was exceedingly pleased to meet her son after an absence of many years. Ramdas touched the eyes of his mother. She got back her lost eyesight through the Yogic power of her son.

Ramdas's ways were very peculiar. He appeared to the outside world as a mad man. He had a small bow. He used to have, by his side, a large number of stones with which he pelted every object he saw. To men really interested in his teachings, he gave the Mantra Sri Ram Jaya Ram Jaya Jaya Ram.

Ramdas had eleven hundred disciples, of whom three hundred were women. The women disciples were also expert preachers and were virtuous. Ramdas sent his disciples to all parts of India to spread the Hindu religion. His disciples and Mutts in the North directly or indirectly helped Shivaji and his work. Ramdas's organisation in the South, round about Thanjavur, helped Shivaji's son Rajaram to go to Jinji and carry on the Twenty Years' War with Aurangazeb. When Ramdas visited Thanjavur, Venkoji, who was the step-brother of Shivaji, became his disciple. Ramdas appointed Bhimaswami, his direct disciple, as the Mahant of the Thanjavur Mutt.

Ramdas generally preferred to live in the forest, where he would say, he had better meditation. In his last days, Ramdas devoted his time partly to literary activities and partly to the systematic building up of his disciples and Mutts, both in the North and in the South. The literary works of Ramdas such as Dasabodh, Manache Shlok (verse addressed to the mind), Karunashtakas (hymns to God) and Ramayana (describing only the conquest of Lanka by Sri Rama and the vanquishing of Ravana) are very popular. It was as a tribute to Ramdas's extraordinary patience and determination in rehabilitating the Hindu religion in India that people named him Samartha (all-powerful) Ramdas, a name which he richly deserved. This great Guru of Maharashtra breathed his last in 1682 at Sajjangad, near Satara, a fortress which was given to him by Shivaji for his residence.

Ramdas repeated the Rama Mantra with his last breath. At the time of his departure from the world, a dazzling light emanated from his body and Ramdas was absorbed in the image of Lord Rama.

The last instructions of Ramdas to his disciples were: "Do not think much of your bodily wants. Have Satsang with devotees. Keep the image of Lord Rama in your heart. Repeat the name of Lord Rama always. Annihilate lust, greed, anger, hatred and egoism. See Lord Rama in all creatures. Love all. Feel His presence everywhere. Live for Him alone. Serve Him in all beings. Make total and unreserved surrender unto Him. You will always live in Him alone. You will attain immortality and eternal bliss".

Thursday, 20 January 2011

January 20, 2011

Tulapur



Tulapur is a village in Pune district, Maharashtra, India associated with the last moments of Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj, Son of Chhatrapati Shivaji. Captured at Sangameshwar, close to the Tulapur, Sambhaji was brutally murdered at Tulapur by Aurangzeb. His mortal remains were then cremated in defiance of the Mughal Emperor's orders by the brave villagers of Vadhu, a village not far from Tulapur. Stone arch at Tulapur confluence under which Sambhaji was executed Talks about the historic event(12 September 1633) at Tulapur

Sangameshwar at Tulapur, confluence of rivers. Tulapur is about 40 Kilometres north east of Pune. It is situated on the confluence of 3 rivers – Bhima, Bhama and Indrayani – and was originally known as 'Nagargaon'. The Sangameshwar temple built on the banks of the confluence is worth paying a visit. The Samādhi at Vadhu was unattended to until recently. It is now being renovated. Along with Sambhaji Maharaj, his poet-friend Kavi Kalash was killed by Aurangzeb at the same place. His Samadhi too is present at Vadhu.

A Samadhi of Sambhaji Maharaj is situated at Tulapur as well. It is disputed as to where exactly he was cremated, with a group of historians asserting that he was cremated at Tulapur itself and not at Vadhu. Nonetheless, both these places have their equal share in Maratha History

How to Reach :
By Rail : Nearest Railway Station is Pune
By Road : Buses are available from Pune, Swargate etc. 

Explore these places :
Amboli |  Anjaneri  | Anjanvel | Aronda | Battis Shirala | Baneshwar | Bhuleshwar | Bor Dam | Bordi | Dhutpapeshwar | Dive Agar | Durshet | GMRT Narayangaon | Igatpuri | Junnar Caves | Kanheri | Kolad | Khodala | Kopeshwar | Lonar | Marleshwar | Narnala | Nawegaon Bandh | Palghar | Phansad | Pitalkhora | Ramdara | Revdanda | Redi | Sagareshwar | Toranmal | Tulapur | Ujni |  more to come.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

January 19, 2011

Ramdara


Ramdara is situated in Pune District. A beautiful Sri Shiv temple surrounded by water having attractive sculptures. Ashram of Sri Devipuri Maharaj.

How to Reach :

By Rail : Pune is nearest Railway Station (55 km away)
By Air : Pune is nearest airport (60 km away)
By Road: Ramdara is about 50 kilo-meters away from Pune.
Driving Directions :
Reaching there is easy. Here are the driving directions for reaching Ramdara Temple…

• Reach Loni on NH9 on Pune-Solapur national highway.
• Cross the bridge after Loni.
• Take immediate right turn after the bridge.
• Take the first right on a raw road.
• Drive about 6 kilometers to reach Ramdara Temple.

Explore these places :
Amboli |  Anjaneri  | Anjanvel | Aronda | Battis Shirala | Baneshwar | Bhuleshwar | Bor Dam | Bordi | Dhutpapeshwar | Dive Agar | Durshet | GMRT Narayangaon | Igatpuri | Junnar Caves | Kanheri | Kolad | Khodala | Kopeshwar | Lonar | Marleshwar | Narnala | Nawegaon Bandh | Palghar | Phansad | Pitalkhora | Ramdara | Revdanda | Redi | Sagareshwar | Toranmal | Tulapur | Ujni |  more to come.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

January 18, 2011

Redi



Located at 20 kms. from Vengurla the Redi village has got manganese mines and the Ganpati Idol was found in one of the mines near Rewati port in 1976. The ganpati Idol is in a sitting position and approximately 15 feet in height. there is also a small rocky beach behind the temple.  


Other places of Interest Nearby :
Shiroda Beach
Vengurla Beach
Terekhol Creek
Goa
Mauli Temple, Redi
Ajgaon (Vetoba Temple)
Yashwantgad Fort


How to Reach :
By air:      Nearest is Goa Dabolim
By rail:     Nearest railhead Sawantwadi 37 Km
By road:   Vengurla 20 km, Nearest Bus Station Shiroda 7 Kms.

Explore these places :
Amboli |  Anjaneri  | Anjanvel | Aronda | Battis Shirala | Baneshwar | Bhuleshwar | Bor Dam | Bordi | Dhutpapeshwar | Dive Agar | Durshet | GMRT Narayangaon | Igatpuri | Junnar Caves | Kanheri | Kolad | Khodala | Kopeshwar | Lonar | Marleshwar | Narnala | Nawegaon Bandh | Palghar | Phansad | Pitalkhora | Ramdara | Revdanda | Redi | Sagareshwar | Toranmal | Tulapur | Ujni |  more to come.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

January 15, 2011

Lonar



Lonar is a town and a municipal council in Buldhana district of the division of Buldhana of the region of Vidarbha in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is a taluka of the district of Buldhana and is located near Mehkar. It is an important place in Buldhana district and is famous for Lonar crater and Lonar Lake, which is located at 19°58′N 76°30′E.

Lonar is situated around 550 km from Mumbai, around 160 km from Aurangabad and around 140 km via Buldhana with about 4½ hours drive southeast of the famous Ajanta Caves.

Situated on the outskirts of Loanar town in Buldhana District, the Lonar Crater was first discovered in 1823 by British officer, J.E. Alexander. It is also written about in ancient scripts like the Skanda Puran, the Padma Puran and the Aaina-i-Akbari. Lonar is distinguished by the fact that it is the world's third largest crater. It has its genesis nearly 50,000 years ago, when a 2 million-ton meteorite impacted the earth to create a depression 1.83 kilometers in diameter and 150 meters deep.

Since that cataclysmic event, Lonar has evolved into an idyllic expanse of sky blue water amidst a sprawling emerald forest that stretches around it as far as the eye can see. Today, it attracts casual tourists as well as members of the scientific community from across the world, including research agencies like the Smithsonian Institution of Washington DC, the US Geological Survey, the Geological Society of India, and Sagar University, Jabalpur, and Physical Research Laboratory, Ahmedabad, which have conducted extensive studies about the site.

But, the scientific angle aside, this destination also has much to offer wildlife enthusiasts as it is generously endowed in both flora and fauna. The crater is home to hundreds of peafowl, chinkara and gazelles, which browse amongst the shrubs and bushes ringing the lake. Other residents include egrets, moor hens, herons, coots, white-necked storks, lapwings, grey wagtails, grebes, black droungos, green bee-eaters, tailorbirds, magpies and robins - as well as numerous species of migratory birds that often visit the place.

Lonar impresses with the richness of its natural heritage. And, like the meteorite that put it on the map, leaves a lasting impression

How to Reach :
The nearest train station is Shegaon, Buldana near Khamgaon. Malkapur near Bhusawal railway-junction, on the Mumbai - Bhusawal - Nagpur route of Central Railway of Indian Rail and is around 100 km from Lonar. Buses also run to Lonar from Malkapur and Jalna.

If travelling from Mumbai or Pune, the most convenient route is to first reach Aurangabad via bus (Mumbai and Pune) or train/flight (from Mumbai only) and then take a state transport bus to Lonar. From Pune, air-conditioned and regular buses run every hour from the Shivajinagar bus stand.

Explore these places :
Amboli |  Anjaneri  | Anjanvel | Aronda | Battis Shirala | Baneshwar | Bhuleshwar | Bor Dam | Bordi | Dhutpapeshwar | Dive Agar | Durshet | GMRT Narayangaon | Igatpuri | Junnar Caves | Kanheri | Kolad | Khodala | Kopeshwar | Lonar | Marleshwar | Narnala | Nawegaon Bandh | Palghar | Phansad | Pitalkhora | Ramdara | Revdanda | Redi | Sagareshwar | Toranmal | Tulapur | Ujni |  more to come.