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Lonavala – Hills of Sahyadris in India




Lonavala is a beautiful and charming Hill Station at a height of 625 Meters above sealevel. It is without any doubt blessed by nature’s beauty. The hill Station is only 128 Kms from Mumbai and around 70 kms from Pune, and is one of the favored hill stations and weekend getaways for people from Mumbai.

The best Season to visit Lonavala is throughout the year, except perhaps May when it can get warmer.
* October to March is ideal for sight seeing, with the best weather.
* April is bit warm, but suitable for outings, but as you get to May, it gets hotter.
* June to September offers some great views of natural beauty of Lonavala in the rainy season with rainfall all around, and can be a good time to visit if you like to look at natural settings when water is pouring all around, and the overall feel is soft and romantic.

Population : 50,000
Languages : Marathi, Hindi and English


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Set in the lush green hills of the Sahyadris, Lonavala is the most popular weekend destination from Mumbai and Pune. For a lot of people, it is a regular outing from the busy life in hectic cities, and there are no problems in going to the same place again and again. Lonavala is known as the Jewel of the Sahyadri; if you look at what all it offers, the praise seems justified – it offers the tourist pristine woods and valleys, gurgling and gushing waterfalls, historic caves, and many scenic vistas.
Historically, Lonavala has been there for many centuries, with the surroundings hills being the stronghold of the Maratha rulers, in their fights against the Moghuls and later the British. The Maratha warriors practised guerrilla warfare from here in their battles against these sets of enemies. However, now Lonavala is the epitome of peace and tranquility, with a lot of rich and famous people having setup holiday homes here for their use as a rest away from the city.
Lonavala also provides thrills of adventure sports in terms of rock climbing, including rock climbing at Duke’s Nose.

PRIME ATTRACTIONS :
– Karla & Bhaja Caves: These rock-cut cave temples date back to the 2nd century BC and are amongst the oldest and finest examples of Buddhist rock cut temple art in India; they belong to the Hinayana sect of Buddhism.
– Rajmachi Point: Located about 6.5 km from Lonavla. Why is it famous ? It is famous for the view; this point commands a magnificent view of Shivaji’s famous fort, Rajmachi (Royal terrace) and the surrounding valley.
– Ryewood Park and Shivaji Udyan: The stunning gardens are amongst the favorite picnic spots of the children, owing to the soaring trees and spacious open spaces provided by them.
– Valvan Dam : Located about 2 km from Lonavla. Located at the foot of the dam is a blooming garden, adorned with a wide variety of colorful flowers and other plants, which attracts a number of tourists.
– Tungarli Lake : The lovely Tungarli Lake supplies water to Lonavla town. There are no buses to the site, but taxis and autorickshaws are available from Lonavla Station (3 km).
– Lonavala Lake : The tranquil surroundings and serene atmosphere offered by the Lonavla Lake are enough to lure tourists here. The lake is also visited by a number of birds, making it a bird watcher’s delight.
– Duke’s Nose : It stands 12 km from Lonavla, it is the finest landmark in Khandala and is popular with hikers. The cliff owes its name to the Duke of Wellington, whose famous and ample nose it resembles.
– Tiger’s Leap : It is a cliff-top with a sheer drop of over 650 m. The magnificent view from Tiger’s Leap is enthralling.
– Christian Cemetery : It is worth a visit for the century old tombstones with work on them. However, as happens in a number of such places, vandals have been at them, with most of them having been desecrated and their precious engravings stolen.
– Bushi Dam : During the monsoons, the dam fills with water and the water overflows on the ‘steps’. People can sit on these steps and get wet. There are also a few waterfalls around.
– Lohagad Fort : Lohagad (literally ‘Iron fort’ in Marathi) is one of the many hill forts of Chatrapati Shivaji. It is situated 52 km from Pune in western India. Lohagad is at an elevation of 3,450 feet. A robust climb of about 11.2 km from Malavali Railway Station takes you to the ‘Iron Fort’, once a formidable battle-station of Shivaji. The fort commands a view of the surrounding hills and hamlets.
– Yoga Center: Lonavala has a Yoga center that provides

How to get there ?
Air: The nearest airport from Lonalvala is Pune, which is 64 km from Lonavala.
Train: Lonavala is on the main railway line between Mumbai and Pune, all express trains plying between the two cities stop here.
Road:The bus service between Lonavala and Pune is good (2 hours). However, the ride is rough and it takes 4 hours to reach Lonavala from Mumbai. Buses shuttle between Lonavala and Khandala (5 km from Lonavala; 15 minutes trip).

PLACES TO STAY
– Fariyas Holiday Resort
– Treasure Island Resorts
– Velvett Country
– Dukes Retreat
– Kumar Resort
– Swiss Resorts
– Sahil Sarovar Protico
– The Upper Deck Resort
– Hotel Whispering Brook
– Basilica Holiday Home
– La Exotica Resort
– Biji’s Hill Retreat
– The Lagoona Resort
– Orchard Resort
– Country side Inn

External articles / blogs:

1. Ayushveda.com (link)

Tourists to West India often make it a point to include Lonavala referred to as the ‘Jewel of the Sahyadri Mountains’, in their itinerary. Trekkers, campers, hikers throng the hill station while leisure travelers account for the majority of the footfall. It is also fast emerging as a preferred choice of honeymooners. Most part of the year is good to visit Lonavala as it sports pleasant climate.

2. Placesnearpune.com (link). Some great photos of scenery, greenery and waterfalls.

Lions view point was easily the best part of my lonavala trip. The moment you reach the edge of the cliff after walking across the road, you just cannot avoid saying “wow!”. The view is majestic and panoramic. You would see dozens of small waterfalls all over the place with one waterfall pretty prominent in the view.

3. Monsoon trek (link)

On the two hour train journey, we passed Lonavala and Khandala and almost as many waterfalls as the tunnels we went through.

4. Tale India (link)

Lonavala is not only about the picturesque sights and salubrious climate but it is also home to some of the finest places of tourist interest. The most outstanding among the tourist attractions in Lonavala are the Buddhist rock cut caves of Bhaja and Karla located in close vicinity of this hill station. On your trip to Lonavala, you must not miss out on these caves since they offer interesting insight into the development of Buddhism in the region.

5. Trek to Twin forts of Lohagad-Visapur & Bhajje caves near Lonavala (link)

Lohagad: This is one of the most interesting forts to visit as it still has its fortification and doorways in pristine condition. The fort dates back to the Satvahan Era and was mainly used to keep a watch on the trade route passing through the Sahyadris.

6. Lonavala’s secret destinations (link)

Yet, the hidden beauty of the city can be revealed only after a chat with localites. One such place is the Karala caves, which are approximately eight kilometers from Lonavala. The cheapest mode of transport to reach this fabulous place is bus service, which will drop you in 10 minutes to the site. Or else you can also take an auto rickshaw, easily available in the city.

7. Discover India (link)

The must visiting sites in Lonavala during your trip are as follows –
First, there is the Rye Wood Park near the rail way station which is famous for its dense forest of many big and beautiful trees. During the season it attracts tourists with variety of flowers.

8. Lonavala Excursions: A Visit at the 5 Historic Caves (link)

Bhaja Caves are located at the center of Lohagad Fort and Visapur Fort. These caves are mush smaller with a Chaitya style. Tourists should take a 250 feet climb to get into the caves. There are 18 rock cut caves as old as since the 2nd century. The first cave is the place of the master architect and ten were reserved for the viharas for priests. The other seven caves have an inscription concerning its donors. A beautiful waterfall is seen at the end.

9. Wonderful Attractions In Lonavala (link)

The Gambhirnath Caves is the most exciting natural attraction. The adventure lovers will enjoy it here This area lies between Thakarwadi and Monkey Hill while departing towards Mumbai. Everyone may reach this location after experiencing some sorts of annoyance. Tourists will get the chance to climb atop the hill. The path will be narrow but is still worth trying for experience.

10. Enjoy the cool and lush greenery of Lonavala (link)

Start your day with a visit to the Karla Caves where you can look at some ancient ruins and Buddhist carvings. Not a very crowded place, it will give you ample time to explore it in a better way. The Chaitya caves are also a must-see. You can also go trekking to the Bhaja caves, which is situated next to Karla caves. The rocks date back to 2nd century BC and make up many temples.

11. A whole new life (link)

For people who are looking for a good place to stay try MTDC resorts Karla – The cottages are good much better than highly priced hotel rooms , the only drawback is the distance from the main city – but its a good place to just relax & enjoy the rains…

12. Maverick – The thought begins (link)

The scenic beauty was amazing, all the mountains were lush green, and covered by clouds and it was raining consistently to add on to the beauty of the weather. As we were heading towards the Tiger Waterfall, the fogs became more dense

13. Pen Shots (link)

Ryewood Park is a picturesque hang out in the hill station Lonavala and is located very close to Lonavala market. This Park has plenty of grounds with greenish lawns and playing grounds for children. The Park is blessed with many varieties of trees which are decades old. It was a botanical garden and later converted to a Park.

14. Visit to Karla Caves, Lonavala (link)

Admired the symmetrical architecture of the place which was built in 2nd or 3rd Century. The stupa inside the cave is a very common feature in the Buddhist rock cut caves in India

15. Journeys explored (link)

Further reached Lonavala almost at noon. Grabbed up almost anything be with melons, chikkis etc..to suffice our hungry, thirsty souls.

16. Pune to Loanavala (link)

after some thoughts we went for Lonavala and thankfully it turned out to be a worthwhile decision. A wonderful ride for someone in Pune looking out for a decent biking experience. Mind you it is a bit risky, we were lucky not to get into any accident but next time if I am gonna go that route it would be in day time and with some more preparation.

17. Trek, Trips and Adventures (link)

Korigad predates 1500 A.D. and Shivaji Maharaj included this fort in Swarajya along with Lohgad, Visapur, Tung and Tikona in 1657 and in 1818 Marathas lost it to the British. There is Ganesh Darwaaja half way to the top with idol of Lord Ganesh in small rock cave and big cave near it.

18. My Trip To Lonavla (link)

While going through the old highway there were three things which stuck me most. First being the countryside around me it was beautiful. I have almost visited all the hill stations in northern India so small cliffs now dont entice me so much but i was awestuck by the sights i saw in a cloudy evening.

Photos:

1. Photos of a trip to Lonavala (link)
2. Photos of Lonavala on Flickr (link)
3. The Lion Valley, Lonavala (link)
4. Loanavala Photo Gallery on world66.com (link)
5. Photos at sulekha.com (link)
6. Photo of Karla caves near Lonavala (link)
7. Lonavala in monsoons (link)
8. Photos of famous tourist spots (link)
9. Lonavala: Korigad and Kune falls: Amby Valley: Entrance (link)

Some videos shared by people about Lonavala on Youtube:

1. Lonavala Trip

2. Another Lonavala Trip

3. Lonavala- one of the best trip

4. Lonavala trip waterfall (at Tiger Falls)

5. Team picnic at Lonavala

6. Lagoona Resort Lonavala (link)

7. Ola Lonavala! 26 types of National Chikki (link)

8. The Machan – A Tree House, Lonavala

9. Amby Valley – Sahara City Lonavala




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