Natural Wonders of India Which You Missed In Your Geography Books
Lonar Crater Lake – World’s third largest crater dating back to some 50,000 years ago
Set off to the outskirts of Lonar town, Maharashtra and you would come across a rather interesting formation that appears like it was hit by a massive ball from outer space. Said to be the world’s third largest crater, the Lonar Crater Lake came into being 50,000 years back as a result of a meteorite hitting the earth, causing the depression.
The roundish water body fringed by clusters of green and brown ground in the middle of nowhere makes for quite a sight. There are mentions of the same in ancient scripts like Skanda Puran, the Padma Puran and Aaina-i-Akbari.
2) Needle Hole Point Mahabaleshwar – Natural rock formation that appear like an elephant’s trunk
For a rare view of nature, head to Needle Hole Point / Elephant Point, Mahabaleshwar to witness what seems to be finely sculpted by a craftsman. From here, you can take in the stunning sights of Deccan traps, which look like an elephant’s trunk.
The natural rock formation resembling the adored animal is uncanny. This site is located close to Kate’s Point. It is referred to as Needle-hole as one can view a natural rock formation with a hole in between over here.
3) Belum Caves – Second largest cave in Indian subcontinent
Dash off to the enigmatic Belum Caves that has many delights hidden in its dark caverns. Famous for its stalactite and stalagmite formations, it is the second largest cave in Indian subcontinent (3229 metres) and the longest caves in the plains of the Indian Subcontinent.
In here are lengthy passages, airy chambers, fresh water galleries and siphons. This underground cavern was naturally formed due to the continuous flow of underground water. As of today, 3.5 km of this fascinating natural wonder has been successfully explored, though only 1.5 km is open to tourists.
4) Marble Rocks at Bhedaghat – White shining wonders
Displaying exquisite beauty, Marble Rocks at Bhedaghat near Jabalpur MP are a stunning sight. It soars to a hundred feet on both sides of the Holy Narmada. This river has carved the soft marble, producing a lovely gorge of about 3 km in length.
The effect of the sunlight shining on the marble white pinnacles and creating shadows on the limpid waters is magical. The entire scenery is especially worth watching on moonlit nights.
This might look like an occurrence of UFOs or that of ghosts. For long, the locals have alleged that they have witnessed some enigmatic dancing lights at Banni Grasslands Reserve in Rann of Kutch. Soliders and visitors have been creeped out too as these lights seemed to have followed them.
Named as Chir Batti, they appear to be as bright as a mercury lamp and can alter their colour into blue, red, yellow to a pear- shaped moving ball. At times they remain still and other times they move in a quick speed.
Scientists have gotten to the root of this phenomenon and claim that this happens so due to oxidation of methane from the marshes.
6) Borra Caves- The deepest in the country
Huddled in the Ananthagiri Hills of the Araku Valley, Andhra Pradesh, the Borra Caves are the deepest among its kind in the country (over 260 feet deep). Over here are a great array of stunning speleothems that vary from very small to big along with unevenly shaped stalactites and stalagmites.
Over here, as mineral rich water trickles from the roof of the cave, they make a small ring of minerals in its wake. When this drips on the floor, it forms another small mineral deposit. Over the ages, these shape to form soda straws and cones on the ceiling, while creating conical cake like assemblies on the floor.
7) Amarnath Cave – Where the mystical ice lingam of Lord Shiva resides
Considered as among the holiest shrines in Hinduism, the mystical ice lingam of Lord Shiva at Amarnath Cave is where thousands of devotees throng to. This natural stalagmite formation takes shape due to the freezing of water drops that trickle down from the roof of the cave on to the floor beneath. It then rises vertically from the floor and waxes and wanes with the moon.
Legend has it that this is the very cave where Lord Shiva unravelled the secret of life and eternity to his divine consort, Parvati.
However, in the recent years, there have been cases of premature melting due to the heat produced inside with the presence of many pilgrims, rising temperature, less snowfall during winters.
8) Loktak Lake – Floating vision
For a rather unique vision, scamper off to the nature rich region of Manipur. Over here lies the mesmeric Loktak Lake that appears as if it is floating.
Said to be the only Floating Lake in the world, the formations (phumdis) are made of vegetation, soil and organic matter. This location has been a case of interest and intrigue among many. This water body is home to local villagers who have made thatched huts on these floating islands and get around in dugout canoes.
These are not your regular rocks by the sea but ones that have been formed by a volcano. Saunter off to Columnar Basaltic Lava in Coconut Island, St Mary’s island to witness this strange marvel. The story goes something like this. When a volcano explodes dense viscid basaltic lava is hurled out which cools quickly and it contracts in a manner that a sequence of spider web like cracks develop in it. These cracks take the form of hexagons and polygons. As the lava congeals into rock, wheat is left back in the columns of the rock, making it appear as if it were shaped by human hands.
The columns in Karnataka took shape more than 60 million years ago, during the formation of the Deccan traps. Do not expect a sand beach to unwind as the place is scattered with basaltic rocks.
10) Living Tree Bridges of Cherrapunji – Sight of fantasy
Seeming to pop straight out of a fantasy, the Living Tree Bridges of Cherrapunji in Meghalaya makes for an unbelievable sight. The rubber tree here actually has roots that can extend up to 3000 feet.
Over many years, these winding roots have grown and spread along the slopes. As the trees grip to the upper areas of the riverbank, they direct their roots below to the riverbed. It is said that over the ages, humans have moulded them as a natural bridge between the rivers.