Sunday, December 26, 2010

Lonavala Hill Station

Lonavala is an extremely popular weekend destination mainly because of its proximity to Mumbai and Pune. It is a majestic combination of forests and valleys, waterfalls, and caves. Lonavala is a twin hill station of Khandala, an equally favorite tourist haunt. During the monsoon showers it is a pleasure to watch the dark clouds descending from the heavens to the valleys in a sheet of heavy downpour.

Lonavala occupied an important position during the days of Maratha and Peshwa rule. During the British rule Lonavala’s beauty and popularity was re-established by Lord Elphinstone who was the then Governor of Bombay Presidency.

[caption id="attachment_957" align="alignright" width="384" caption="Chatrapati Shivaji's Lohagad hill fort near Lonavala. Shown here is misty mountain top."]Lohagad fort near Lonavala[/caption]

How to reach

By road
Lonavala is around 64 kms away from Pune and 96 kms away from Mumbai and is reachable through both Mumbai-Pune Expressway and Mumbai-Pune Highway.

By rail
Mumbai is the best known railhead and it takes around two and half hours to reach Lonavala. The railhead at Lonavala is 118 kms from Mumbai. Pune is just an hour’s journey by road form Lonavala.

By air
The nearest airport is Pune, which as about 66 kms from the town.

Places to see
Rock-cut cave temples of Karla, located about 11 kms away from the town belonging to the historic era of 2nd century B.C., are time-defying, everlasting architectural wonders. Tungarli, Pawna, and Bushy are some beautiful water bodies attracting a lot of tourists. Bushy Dam is a favorite picnic spot. The Tungi Fort situated in the village of Kajrat is another major attraction for the tourists.

Famous spots you must not miss
Rajmachi Point (6.5 kms), Gambhirnath Temple, I.N.S. Shinaji, a naval training center, Valvan Dam, Ryewood Park and Shivaji Udyan, Lonavala Lake, Tiger’s Leap, Karla Caves (12 kms), Bedsa Caves (21 kms), Bhaja Caves (14 kms), Lohagad Fort (14 kms), Bushy Dam (4 kms), Lion’s Point, Shooting Point, and Tungrali Lake and Dam are not-to-be missed out points. Duke’s Nose, a cliff resembling the nose of the Dule of Wellinton and Lohgad with its picturesque waterfalls are other major tourist attractions. Korigad Fort in Amby Valley can only be reached by foot by trekking across hills and forests and is worth the adventurous journey.

Places to stay
Lonavala has a plethora of luxurious resorts with all most modern amenities. Kailash Parvat falls into the premium category. Lion’s Den Hotel, Hotel Mittal Residency, Kohinoor Exotica, Hotel Chandralok, The Machan Tree House, Ryewood Green Hotel, Rainbow Retreat, Whispering Brooks, Hotel Rajdhani, Citrus Hotel, La Exotica, Kumar Heritage Hotel are some medium-range and budget hotels.

Lonavala chikki is a very popular sweet worth tasting.

Best time to visit
A lot of people prefer to visit Lonavala during the monsoon months. However the months between October to May are the best time to visit.

Lonavala enjoys coastal temperatures with moderately high rainfall. It is visited by tourists all through the year.

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