My day started with the same old monotonous routine ? Same train, same bus, reach office, mails, news and social media. Then something happened which broke the monotony?
While scrolling down Facebook, an offbeat post caught my attention ? Lonar Crater tour byTravel Trikon. This was nowhere in my bucket list, but seeing a 50000 year old crater created by meteoric impact on earth did seem interesting.
Another major factor that sealed my next destination ? Photography.
Passing The Flowchart
Free on 27-28 August ? Yes.
Leaves? No need. Friday night departure and Monday early morning back to civilization.
Permission from home? Not a monsoon trek, just a tour which also has temples. So, Yes.
End of flowchart ? Booking confirmed !
The Journey Begins
WhatsApp group was created and basic introductions were done. LOL counter started two days before the trip ? Manoj?s 1st PJ !
26th August ? we met at Dadar station by 9 pm. The first people I met were Vedashri (Vedu, FB check-in queen) and Sonu (Ice Cream)
Then came Debasmita (Debo) and finally the only person I already knew ? Manoj Kalwar, our lead.
Mumbai To Jalna
We boarded the train and met our fellow travelers (also called Trikoners). Dhwani (Dhoni), Beryl (Top 3 foodies on Zomato), NaMo (Namrata Modi, ModiJi) and her friend Pratiksha, Joy (JBL speaker), Gangacharan (Call him Ganga or Charan) and Neha.
Finally, Parnika (Our co-lead). There were some interesting conversations and it was quite amazing how our diverse professions connected somewhere. Pratiksha does costing of IT (stuff that useless people like me do), a good number of bankers with Parnika writing on banking & finance, etc.
Rest of the group boarded from Thane and Kalyan.
Harsh (Photographer, Traveler) and Preeti (Sleepy girl, Foodie), Shivani ? doing PHD (Itna padhai !! I can only become Dr.Bharat in Mafia) and her Mom, Sarvesh (pro with Go-Pro and multiple lenses)
Then I moved to the next bay for some TP, PJ?s (Jahaan Manoj, Wahaan PJ). After knowing everyone, it was time to sleep. We reached Jalna station early in the morning.
Love At First Sight
From Jalna station, it was a 2-3 hour drive to MTDC Lonar. On the way, we stopped at ?Toylet? for some time and then continued our journey.
After some time, we stopped at a view point. There it was ! The Lonar Crater ! It was breathtaking and indeed a galactic wonder.
Some photography and admiring the beauty followed. Then we headed to MTDC. The resort was good and well located.
Post freshen-up and lunch at nearby hotel, we started the Parikrama. Anand Mishra was our local guide.
It was a crater formed due to hyper-velocity (20 km/s) meteoric impact. The diameter of the meteor was 1.5 km when it started and was 600m when it hit the earth. The temperature of that area during the impact was 10000 ^ 4 (Can?t imagine!).
After learning about the crater and of course photo session, we started descending to visit the ancient temples there. Though there were broken ruins, it gave a further ancient feel.
The history of that place is very interesting and so are the significances behind every sculptures of the temples.
Anand was knowledgeable (Lonar Encyclopedia I must say!), patient and made the parikrama worthwhile. There were some demos which proved why that place was one of a kind.
Moving compasses back and forth made the needles spin around due to magnetic rocks ? Wow !
The architecture of Ram Gaya temple was such that you can get 7 shadows of yourself within the temple. Dhwani did the shadow dance.
We moved further down and reached the base. There were some more temples on the way.
Peacock sounds were all around, but none to be seen. Only parakeets were sighted.
The lake diameter is 1.8km and it has water of both saline and alkaline nature. The litmus paper test was good enough to prove the high pH levels.
The view and reflections were an absolute treat to the lens.
There were some more temples at base level. After covering them, we went along a jungle trail. The jungle was full of millipedes. The trail was over in some time and finally a stairway which led to one last temple.
Our vehicles were waiting to take us to sunset tower. We reached on time and the sky was magical!
Sunset photos, silhouettes (I always wanted to do silhouette photography during sunset), group photos and selfies followed.
We enjoyed the sunset and then went back to MTDC. Dinner and sleep (Not city sleep, unfortunately no Mafia)
The early risers were up by 6 am and we left for a photo-walk. We reached the nearest point from the resort with full crater view. It was airy and calm. We relaxed there for some time and of course, photography.
Back to MTDC, we thoroughly enjoyed Chai and Bhajiyas while admiring the view from the canteen.
This was the final destination in the itinerary. Before leaving MTDC, we were given?Travel Trikontags followed by a Trikon pose group pic.
There is a story that a demon by the name Lavanasur was killed by lord Vishnu in his Daityasudan Avatar, hence the name.
It was subjected to various invasions post the 10th century. The brickwork was done later to the damaged ceiling. The present day idol was made by Bhosale rulers of Nagpur on requests from the people of Lonar after the original went missing.
Every small sculpture had different stories around them and portrayed diverse emotions. Anand explained every detail effortlessly with some humour as well.
Lonar never ceased to amaze us. This time, we witnessed an optical phenomenon called 22? halo. It looked like a circular rainbow and we had to literally lie down and capture the complete circle. Photographers can do anything !
There was scope for more photography of the temple and the halo before leaving for lunch. Yummy egg curry was in store!
Want to experience the ancient temples and nature?s magic? Next batch is on 24th September!
After a quick visit to Gomukh temple, we went for lunch
This time I ditched the veggies and went to the egg/non-veg table (As per a famous saying, Egg wale vegetarians kisi ke sage nahi hote). We enjoyed our lunch while listening to music (Especially the mystery Bob Marley song).
Sonu finally got an ice-cream treat from Manoj and so did we. It was Cornetto and not vanilla cups (Under promise, Over deliver).
Thank you for tolerating my rubbish blogging till now (Its not over yet).
This trip was not only about crater, photography, temples, history and nature. There was an unforgettable element of Sasti Masti as well. Sasti Masti is the Hindi parody of some English song named Cheap Thrills, hilarious song and our trip anthem!
The Manoj effect was partly contagious. Sonu (Baby) cracked some Manoj category PJs, I was doing a decent job and so was Parnika.
6 of us were singing in top volume. Band Members ? Manoj, Parnika, Sonu, Harsh, Vedu, Bharat. We had a memorable time.
There were a couple of quick places to cover. The ?if time permits? part of the itinerary.
Sasti Masti was on and we reached the birth place of Rajmata Jijabai. The local guide of that place took us along a quick tour as it was closing time.
We continued our journey, had tea and explored a lake on the way. One last stint with the camera.
Everything was completed and we reached Jalna station.
We boarded our train to Mumbai. General and W/L ticket holders occupying all possible places was really annoying. Anyways, we managed to hold on to our reserved berths and reached Home.
It was an awesome trip. A perfect blend of fun, history and nature?s beauty. Kudos to teamTravel Trikon?for planning and executing it so well.
Hope you enjoyed reading. Next batch is on 24th September (By the way, this is the standard reply that Manoj posts to any kind of comment on his photo! LOL !)