West Coast Drive and Glimpses of southern India.....

narenmukherjee

Nature lover
After a very prolonged hiatus from road trip especially long way ones, it was call of everybody of us to venture out for self drive road trip for a long duration. The choices I put before my co-passengers viz. my dear wifey, elder son Soumil and younger son Neil were 1) North East sector 2) Bhutan 3) West coast drive. Instantly trio voted for option 3 though I was more of interested for any of option 1 &2, but majority wins. So destination was finalised, now date is required to be chalked out since my elder son had appeared for CBSE X exam and the result usually get declared during last week of May, hence we decided to start our journey from 4th of May. But this year CBSE appeared to be very extra punctual and very surprisingly declared class XII exam result on 2nd of May itself. Our fingers were crossed and journey got postponed a little. Anyway Class X result got declared on 6th of May and we were now ready to start our journey. In the meantime all necessary outfits got purchased, our lifeline Maruti Swift got necessary repairs, inspection, etc and was ready to take on again a mammoth 5500 K.M drive, though this time in opposite direction i.e Southern instead of Northern. Finally, the D-day arrived and we started this epic journey on 8/5/2019 which is also the birthday of my elder son.

Day-1 (8/5/2019)

The ride stated with early morning departure since we are going to take a detour to see LONAR crater enroute to Shani Shingnapur. So within few minutes we were on nice four lane track which is Nagpur-Amravati National Highway. Our destination for this day was Shani Shingnapur via Lonar. Its a small detour of around 25km from the main route from Sultanpur but the detour was worth for the sight one gets seeing the huge crater. The photograph doesn't give full justice to its sheer size and magnanimous appeal which one gets in viewing it personally.

About Lonar crater Lake (courtesy Wikipedia)

Lonar Lake
, also known as Lonar crater, is a notified National Geo-heritage Monument,[1][2][3] saline, soda lake, located at Lonar in Buldhana district, Maharashtra, India. Lonar Lake was created by a meteor impact during the Pleistocene Epoch.[4][5] It is one of the four known, hyper-velocity, impact craters in basaltic rock anywhere on Earth. The other three basaltic impact structures are in southern Brazil.[6]Lonar Lake has a mean diameter of 1.2 kilometres (3,900 ft) and is about 137 metres (449 ft) below the crater rim. The meteor crater rim is about 1.8 kilometres (5,900 ft) in diameter.[7]
It was identified in 1823 by a British officer named C.J.E. Alexander. Lonar Crater sits inside the Deccan Plateau—a massive plain of volcanic basalt rock created by eruptions some 65 million years ago. Its location in this basalt field suggested to some geologists that it was a volcanic crater. Today, however, Lonar Crater is understood to be the result of a meteorite impact that occurred between 35,000 and 50,000 years ago.[8] The water in the lake is both saline and alkaline.
Geologists, ecologists, archaeologists, naturalists. and astronomers have published studies of various aspects of this crater lake ecosystem.[9]Lonar
The crater's age is usually estimated to be 52,000 ± 6,000 years (Pleistocene),[10] although a study published in 2010 gives an age of 570,000 ± 47,000 years.[11][12]
The Smithsonian Institution, the United States Geological Survey, Geological Society of India, the University of Sagar and the Physical Research Laboratory have conducted extensive studies of the site.[13][14] Biological nitrogen fixation was discovered in this lake in 2007.[15] A recent study, conducted by IIT Bombay found that the minerals, in the lake soil, are very similar to the minerals found in moon rock brought back during Apollo Program

We reached at the lake around 1pm which was way beyond of our expected time limit. But still spent good time and later on had a good veg meals in the nearby restaurant and proceeded further ahead to reach our days final destination Shani Shingnapur. Rest of the day was speeding out on the highway criss crossing small settlements, small towns, than cities, etc and finally at around reached Shani Shingnapur. The rest of the members directly headed for darshan and I went for hotel hunting. Hotel was finalised which had ample parking space and surprisingly the doors have no locks. In Shani Shingnapur not a single establishments have lock. All are unlocked. So people really fear the wrath of Shani Dev. Anyway the members with overjoy returned having good darshan, later we had dinner veggie and retired to bed for the next royaale... day ahead...
 

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