India

Weekend in Lonavala – Khandala

Lonavala

Lonavala, a hill station located 64 KM from Pune and 96 KM from Mumbai, is the good weekend getaway for people residing both in Pune and Mumbai. The best part is that, Lonavala is well connected via road and via rail line as well, with trains plying from Mumbai and Pune daily. It would take close to 1 hr 15 mins to reach lonavala from Pune and around 2hr 15 mins from Mumbai. Lonavla comes to life during the monsoon season as the countryside turns lush green with waterfalls and ponds.

Destination Facts

Location: Maharashtra, District Pune

Languages spoken: Marathi, English & Hindi

Temperature: Summer 22 to 40°C, Winter 12 to 33°C

Best season to visit: Monsoon (July to Oct)

Eating Around:

There are lot of both veg and non-veg restaurants available. Lonavala has several eating joints from five-star restaurants to road-side dhabas that serve everything from South Indian to Chinese fares.

Popular – Misal Pav, hot masala chai, Vada pav. Lonavla is famous throughout India for the hard candy sweet known as chikki. You can see lot of chikki stores.

Stay

There are several home stays and hotels available for reasonable fare. If you are not visiting that place in monsoon season its ok to go and directly check-in into any of the hotels. It’s better to book early if you planning to visit during monsoon.

Places I visited

  • Lohagad Fort – Lohagad (iron fort) is one of the many hill forts of Maharashtra state in India. Fort is located 10 km away from Lonavala, along the Sahyadri region, which divides the Pawana basin and Indrayani basin.

Reach – There are lot of local Auto’s available from Lonavala till fort. I suggest it’s better to hire auto for full day and cover few more places.

Entry Fee – There is no entry fee to reach the top of the fort. However, there may be 20rs parking fee per person in vehicle.

We can reach to the top of fort by stairs. It has close to 250- 300 Steps. At normal pace, it would take around 1-1.5 hrs. Ideal time to start is before or at dawn so that it isn’t sunny on your way up. One will get a beautiful view of Sahyadri mountains and Pawana Dam on the way to top. The climb/descent becomes tougher as the sun comes up.

We will come across four doors while reaching the top. The first one is called ‘Ganesh Darwaaja’, second one is called ‘Narayan Darwaaja’, the third one is called ‘Hanuman Darwaaja’ & fourth one is called ‘Maha Darwaaja’. windows were once used by the defending army to launch their cannons at approaching armies. The village below looked beautiful. If you are a nature lover and like to watch the green cover during the monsoon and enjoy the fresh air, it’s a good place to visit.Of all the sections of the fort, the main attraction is the point called “vinchoo point”. This point resembles the look of a scorpion’s tail.

There are lot of local place where you get home food just at the base of the Fort. These are locals serving exclusive Maharashtrian food at rates as cheap as Rs 40 per person.

  • Pawana Lake: Place I loved the most in the entire Lonavala Trip.

Pawana Lake is an artificial reservoir made with the purpose to supply water. Pawana dam is built on Pavana River which originates at south of Lonavala and passes through Pimpri Chinchwad Region. Pawana backwater provides an amazing landscapes view.

Reach  – There are lot of local Auto’s available from Lonavala till Lake/dam. Its close to 17-18kms from Lonavala railway station. I suggest it’s better to hire auto for full day and cover few more places.

Best time to Visit- Throughout the year

Entry Fee – 50 Rs per person (We can use the same coupon to eat/ drink for 50 Rs worth in the local restaurant).

A beautiful dam surrounded by hills all around. This place is blessed with natural beauty of hills. I was lucky enough to witness sunset. There is a long road goes from side of the dam showing its natural beauty. There are lot of local resorts which will offer camping/fishing/ kayaking in the dam. One can get your own tent and other necessary equipment to camp there in the night and enjoy the serene beauty peacefully.

  • Loins point/ Tiger Point: This is the highest point that the twin hill stations of Lonavala- Khandala has to offer to the tourists. This place is from where you get some panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and bewitching natural beauty.

Reach – There are lot of local Auto’s available from Lonavala till the point. It’s close to 11kms from Lonavala railway station.

Best time to Visit- Throughout the year

Entry Fee – No entry fee

Lion Point and Tiger point, which are right next to each other. The view from these places was no doubt beautiful, but I feel that it is common to most hill stations. We reached early in the morning to witness the sunrise and liked the view of sunrise in between the valleys. We get a view of shivling peak from this place. This peak is on the left of the Lions view point

  • Bushi Dam – This place is enroute to Loins point. One can visit this place on the way. Bhushi Dam is a masonry dam on the Indrayani River. Its best to visit this during monsoon as water levels will be high, it wasn’t that attractive when I visited in January as the water levels were low.
  • Karla Caves/Temple– The karla caves are the ancient Buddhist rock cut carvings cave shrine.

Reach  – It’s close to 20Kms from Lonavala railway station. There are lot of local Auto’s available from Main road of caves. I suggest it’s better to hire auto for full day and cover few more places and Auto will take you till the starting point of steps or else you may have to walk approx. 1.5 kms from main road to the start of steps. It has nearly 200 – 250 steps till the top

Entry Fee – 20 Rs per person.

We can reach to the top of fort by stairs. It has close to 250- 300 Steps. You get lot of local thela’s on d way till the top, selling several items. Just besides the cave there is a popular temple. When we went queue for temple was huge and looked like never ending. We just skipped visiting temple as it was extremely crowded.

However, cave and view from top was worth going all the way up

  • Tungarli dam – The Tungarli Lake is located against a mesmerizing backdrop, with a well-maintained lakeside that adds to the place’s beauty.

Reach  – There are lot of local Auto’s available from Lonavala till the point. It’s close to 8Kms from Lonavala railway station. 

Best time to Visit- Throughout the year

Entry Fee – No entry fee

 We spent lot of time in this quiet, serene, beautiful, and picturesque place. There are no eating spots or shopping areas around so please carry your own water. If you do decide to have a picnic, please carry your garbage back with you. The only thing ruining such a lovely spot is people littering.

  • Khandala/ Rajmachi View point– Rajmachi Point is located on the Mumbai-Pune old highway just before the starting point of the ghat. Opposite to the site is the historical Rajmachi (Royal Terrace) Fort, owned by Shivaji.

Reach – There are lot of local Auto’s available from Lonavala till the point. It’s close to 8Kms from Lonavala railway station. 

Best time to Visit- Monsoon/ post monsoon

 Entry Fee – No entry fee

Rajmachi Park is at the top of Lonavla from where u can have a view of Mumbai Pune Expressway. Since we visited this place in January, it was dry, and view was not that good. I felt it was one of the overrated places.

Other places of interest which we didn’t find time to visit

There are lot of places near this place, however due to shortage of time and other things, we didn’t cover this. You can plan to visit Visapur fort, Dukes’s nose, Rajmachi fort, Bhaja Caves, Kune falls and lot of artificial waterparks and max museums.

After spending two wonderful days here we left this place next day to Mumbai as we had some personal work. We spent few hours in Mumbai Juhu /Versova beach before starting our journey in Mumbai.We are back in Bangalore post that.

 

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