Lonar Lake is a saline soda lake located at Lonar in Buldana district, Maharashtra, India, which was created by a meteor impact during the Pleistocene Epoch. Lonar Lake has a mean diameter of 1.2 kilometres and is about 137 metres below the crater rim. The meteor crater rim is about 1.8 kilometres in diameter. Geologists, ecologists, archaeologists, naturalists and astronomers have reported several studies on the various aspects of this crater lake ecosystem. This is the oldest and the largest meteoric crater in the whole world. This lake was created by the hypervelocity of meteoritic affect in basaltic rock and the research has shown that the meteor, which had stroked was sixty meters in diameters.Lonar has been recorded to be the third biggest natural salt-water lake in the world. Recently, Magnetotactic bacteria have been discovered in the lake. The lake was first mentioned in ancient scriptures such as the Skanda Purana, the Padma Puran and the Aaina-i-Akbari. The first European to visit the lake was British officer, J.E. Alexander in 1823.
Lonar crater has an almost perfectly circular shape. The Crater Lake was formed by the accumulation of water in the deeper parts of basin. The Lonar crater is endowed with a unique, self-evolved micro ecosystem leading to evolution of new life forms. Spirulina, blue green algae are found in the crater. Many variety of avifauna can also be seen in the crater. Unlike its dry and arid counterpart, the Canyon-Diabolo, the Lonar crater boasts of a beautiful brackish water lake. Rocks in the crater reveal many characteristic features of the moon rocks. Apart form its scientific importance Lonar also occupies a place of prominence in our ancient scripts. It finds mention in “Aaina-i-Akbari”. During the days of Emperor Akbar, a salt factory was located here. According to Sanskrit literature, Lonar was called “Viraj Kshetra” in ancient times. It finds mention in “Viraj Mahatmya” a chapter in “Skanda Puran and Padma Puran” Sanskrit works. According to Lonar Mahatmya in ancient times, Kashyap Rishi had many sons, one of whom was believed to be staying in the vicinity of Lonar Lake. When Lavanasur terrorized the people and rulers of the region, the son of Rishi Kashyap had prayed to Lord Vishnu to kill Lavanasur. In the 13th Century, a temple of Lord Vishnu was constructed here during the Chalukya Raj. The temple still exists and is 150m long and 450m wide. It is a fine example of the quality of architecture practiced and perfected during that era.