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OFFTRACK TREK

many shades of green — from the bright of the leaves to the dull mixed with the brown of the mountains. Then there was the lake, the water a blue darker than indigo. As the setting sun cast its last light of the day on the water, the lake appeared to be a jewel, hidden away mysteriously in the low hills. We were at Lonar — India’s only meteoric crater lake. From my vantage point on the balcony of the MTDC resort, as I watched the green lose its way in the darkness, I wondered if I would be able to climb down the crater and discover some of the mysteries it held. It was hard to imagine the violence of it all, thousands and thousands of years ago. How an arrowhead from outer space pierced the earth and made a deep impact, throwing up clouds of debris, triggering a massive landslip and changing the contours of the earth forever. The impact, a six-megaton explosion (or 600 times the explosive force released by first atomic bombs), say scientists, generated enough heat to not just shatter the basalt rock, but to melt and vaporise it. It would have finished off any local flora and fauna. Eventually, rain accumulated in the crater and wildflowers, grass and shrubs recolonised surroundings. Then the has-beens came back, the wispy butterflies and the chirpy birds. Life revived itself after lying dormant for years. The talk over dinner revolved around the crater. We were the

SO

The only hypervelocity crater on the earth, Lonar is home to myths, ruins and peafowls. Anuradha Shankar digs out a few mysteries

M P I A P C E T E D


Exotica august 2016