[Detail of carvings on a temple wall], Lonar
Photographer: Gill, Robert
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Great Temple at Lonar, Buldana District, Maharashtra from the Allardyce Collection: Album of views and portraits in Berar and Hyderabad, taken by Robert Gill in the 1860s. Lonar Lake was formed by the impact of a meteor crash about 50,000 years ago, which created a crater of approximately 1800m in diameter and 150m deep. It is the third largest natural salt-water lake in the world and the only crater in basalt. There are many temples on the craters edge, mostly built around the 12th century in the Hemadpanti style of the Yadava period. Lonar Lake is an important site in Hindu mythology as it is considered to be the spot where an incarnation of Vishnu overpowered the demon-giant Lonasur by throwing off the lid and revealing his subterranean cave. The lake is considered to be the giant's blood, a nearby hill is the discarded lid and the crater is the remains of the cave. This photograph is a view of the principal entrance to what is considered to be the finest temple in the area. The exterior walls of the temple are covered in sculpture, as can be seen in this view.