The mere mention of the name ‘Lonavala’ sets the imagination reeling. The feel of the cool breeze, cascading waterfalls, lush green expanses of hills, breathtaking valleys, mountains kissing clouds and the excitement of getting drenched in torrential downpours- all these make Lonavala one of the most celebrated romantic getaways in Maharashtra. Being in proximity to Pune (65 Km) and Mumbai (100 Km), Lonavala is an extremely popular weekend destination for people residing in both cities. While the regular visitors from Mumbai and Pune frequently flock this small hill station to get a respite from the scorching heat of the summers, the best time of the year to visit this place is the monsoon season. The marvel of Nature is reflected in its complete magnificence when rain strikes this hilly area, situated at an altitude of 626 meters above sea level, in the picturesque Sahayadri hill ranges of Maharashtra.
Excellent modes of transport give Lonavala a huge edge in attracting a large number of tourists every year. The nearest airports are located in Pune and Mumbai and one can take buses or trains from these places to finally reach Lonavala. It is also a fascinating experience when you take a train or bus to travel to Lonavala from Mumbai or Pune. The rail or road journey to Lonavala makes the entire travel experience even more adventurous and colourful as you can observe the beauty of nature, the surrounding valleys and hills in its complete grandeur. Added to that, the cold winds and grey clouds, and the greenery becoming greener, all set the tempo for a great tour. Lonavala has its own railway station and is connected by many trains between Mumbai and Pune. Trains are the most economical and comfortable transport medium to this hill station. The road trips are majestic, thanks to many highways connecting the prime cities to this hill station. The NH4 and Mumbai Expressway provide a comfortable and timely journey to Lonavala. The meandering and serpentine roads not only test the skills of a driver, they provide some spell binding sights to behold in your memories forever.
Once you enter in Lonavala, accommodation is not an issue. The rates may sky rocket during peak seasons but still it remains affordable for low budget honeymooners and tourists. If you have a good budget, there are some awesome luxury hotels spread in the main city. There are many recreational activities one can engage in this hill station like trekking, sightseeing, and of course, drenching in the cold waterfalls. If you don’t have your own transport, you can hire taxi, bikes or cycles to have an awesome experience. Cycling on the hills can be really tiring and uncomfortable so it is an option you can quit easily. Generally, traveling in a car is always the best option because the torrential downpours can often make it difficult to ride the bike. There are plenty of eateries spread all across this hill station and depending on your budget you can choose any of them. Punjabi, Gujarati and Udipi restaurants are spread everywhere in the city offering variety of cuisines. One of the classic eateries that is found mostly everywhere during the peak rainy season is the roasted rip maize and you just can’t miss it. Served with salt, chilli powder and lemon juice sprinkled on it, the rip maize is something you just can’t have one. The juicy soft corns of the maize are something you must give a try!
While there a number of spots to visit in Lonavala, Karla Caves are supposed to be the best. You will be mesmerized to the see the amazing architecture and carvings of the 2nd to 4th century. You will be in awe of the intellectual and scientific understanding of the people even when the humanity wasn’t so advanced. Some other must visit spots are Koli Temple (Aai Ekvira Temple), Lonavla Lake (Monsoon Lake), Nagphani (Duke’s Nose), Bhaja Caves, Bushy Dam, Tata Dam, Scorpion’s Sting (Vinchu Kata), Lohagad Fort, Morvi Dongar, Pawna Lake, Aaamby Valley (an expensive resort), Sausage Hills, and Tungarli Lake, Shooting Point and Tiger Point.
The USP of Lonavala is its awesome climate and the breath-taking hills that surround it. For most of the travellers, it is the rain that makes the experience worth coming back every rainy season. For trekking and hiking lovers, it is the challenge to explore this mountainous region. Adjacent to Lonavala, just a few kilometres away, is Khandala, another hill station, known for its scary depths. Many scenes of Bollywood movies are frequently shot in Lonavala-Khandala (remember ‘Aaati Kya Khandala’?) and this also makes it quite popular among tourists. So, if you get a chance to visit Lonavala, do it in the rainy season, and get to know this marvellous place where it rains frequently for at least 4 months of the year! I assure you, you will have an experience of a lifetime.
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