A popular hill station in very close proximity to the cities of Pune and Mumbai is Lonavala. It is a place considered to be a bounty of mother nature at her best, with dense forests, waterfalls and lakes. It is also considered to be a one-stop destination for hikers and trekkers.
Also Read : Best Road Trips From Mumbai For Every Traveller
Amidst the Sahyadri hills, it offers captivating and breathtaking viewpoints, like any other hill station. It is also well known for its chikki, a sweet made out of groundnuts and sugar syrup. It is considered to be one of the best weekend getaways for the residents of Pune and Mumbai.
It was discovered in the year 1871, by the then British Governor Lord Elphinstone. It has many caves and was given the Sanskrit name Lonavali, which translates into a group of caves.
By Air: The Pune International Airport is the nearest airport which is at a distance of about 63 km from here. The airport is well connected to all the major cities within the country as well as foreign countries.
By Train: The Lonavala Railway Station is a major stop for all the trains running from Mumbai and Pune. The station is well connected to other major cities such as Bengaluru, Chennai and others.
By Road: Lonavala lies on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and hence is well connected by roads. There are plenty of buses which ply from Mumbai and Pune and other major cities.
Lonavala is an all round the year destination; however, the months from October to May are the best time to visit. The months from June to September receive heavy rainfall and its best to avoid visiting the place during this time.
There are plenty of caves here which were built by the Buddhist monks. The Bhaja caves exhibit some of the beautiful carvings which are truly something not to be missed when here. The caves are said to have been built in 200 BC on the Karli hills.
There are a total of 22 caves built here which are some of the fine examples of the multiple architectural styles and also a living wonder of the Indian art of sculpting and the expertise of the artisans.
An artificial reservior built by the British to store rain water, the lake has a dam built across it and a small reservoir which stores the rain water. The lake is also the main source of drinking water for the people who reside here apart from irrigation purposes.
With a perfect location filled with natural beauty, the lake also offers a breathtaking view of the entire city and attracts many visitors to the lake bed.
The dam is one of the major attractions of the town. When the dam is filled to capacity it attracts many visitors and gets very crowded. The water here flows over a series of steps and across a rocky terrain, which makes it a beautiful place to be witnessed during the monsoon seasons.
The caves are considered to be one of the oldest cave temples in India dedicated to Buddhism. The caves were carved out almost 2000 years ago. The caves boast of beautiful halls and viharas which reflect the glorious past of the civilization.
A very prominent landmark in the area which provides some really beautiful and breathtaking views of the region. The fort can be reached by either trekking up the distance of 15 km or biking your way up to reach the spot.
It is named after the Duke of Wellington's nose for its resemblance and forms an ideal picnic spot because of the beautiful surroundings. It is known for its widest and grandest view of the surrounding mountains, valleys and forests.
It is also a well known destination for rock climbing with a very steep climb which would take you to the site.
Once a botanical garden, it has now been converted into a park which is well maintained with landscaped lawns, gardens and a children's park. It is also home to many species of trees which add on to make it an ideal picnic spot.
Food and Stay
There are plenty options for one to stay; from pocket friendly ones to ones which offer you luxurious stays. It is advisable to reserve your rooms in advance in order to avoid any inconvenience. There are also a number restaurants which offer local along with Chinese and Continental cuisines.