Lonavla – People, Places and You

Lonavla or Lonavala or Lonavale is a town and a hill station Municipal Council in Pune district in the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is about 64 km away from the city of Pune, 96 km away from the city Mumbai and stands at 625 metres above sea leve. It is famous throughout India for the hard candy sweet known as chikki and is also a major stop on the rail line connecting Mumbai and Pune. For Mumbai, suburbs local trains are available from Karjat. It is also an important town on the Mumbai-Pune road link. Both the Mumbai-Pune Expressway as well as the Mumbai-Pune highway pass through Lonavla. Lonavla comes to life during the monsoon season as the countryside turns lush green with waterfalls and ponds.

The hill station is spread over an area of 38 square km. The name of the city is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Lonavali’, which refers to a ‘group of caves’. The name was given to the place due to the presence of many caves in and around the city.

The place has valleys, hills, waterfalls and lush greenery due to which it is also called the ‘Jewel of Sahyadri’.

It belongs in the Sahyadri ranges that demarcate the Deccan Plateau and the Konkan coast. People prefer visiting Lonavla and Khandala in the rainy season. Lonavla was discovered in 1871 by Sir Elphinstone, the Governor of the Bombay Presidency. The name Lonavla is derived from the Sanskrit lonavli, which refers to the many caves like Karla Caves, Bhaja Caves and Bedsa that are close to Lonavla. A trip to Lonavla and Khandala can be combined with sight-seeing visits of Karla, Bhaja and Bedsa caves and also the two fortresses, Lohagad and Visapur. Another place of interest is the Tungi fort, one of the forts captured by Malik Ahmad near the village of Karjat and was known for its natural strength.

A lot of people have started buying homes which are primarily second homes or vacation homes. Since lonavla is close to Mumbai and also is a beautiful place where anyone from Mumbai can go on a weekend and relax away from the traffic primarily led to many developers building properties in Lonavla. A lot of developers have built luxurious properties in Lonavla like Tata Housing Development Company which is building its luxury property Prive.

Present day Lonavla was a part of the Yadava dynasty. Later, the Mughals realized the strategic importance of the region and kept the region for an extended time. The forts in the region and the Mavla warriors played an important role in the history of the Maratha and Peshwa empires. In 1871, the Lonavla and Khandala hill stations were discovered by Lord Elphinstone, who was the Governor of Bombay Presidency during those times.

A lot of people have started buying homes which are primarily second homes or vacation homes. Since lonavla is close to Mumbai and also is a beautiful place where anyone from Mumbai can go on a weekend and relax away from the traffic primarily led to many developers building properties in Lonavla. A lot of developers have built luxurious properties in Lonavla like Tata Housing Development Company which is building its luxury property Prive.

1.     Forts and more

  • Lohagad Fort

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.

Lohagad has a long history with several dynasties occupying it at different periods of time: Satavahanas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Yadavas, Bahamanis,Nizamshahis, Mughals and Marathas.The fort is placed at an altitude of more than 1050 meters. It is situated on the Sahyadri ranges and divides the Pavna basin and Indrayani basin.

The fort site is a fine destination for tourist with interests in architecture, archeology and history. The actual date of original fort is not clearly known but the known records points out some additional constructions such as a step well and big tank during eighteenth century. The ancient fort’s four mammoth gates are still intact and are in good condition named Ganesh Darwaja, Narayan Darwaja, Hanuman Darwaja and Maha Darwaja.

This is formidable fort makes an ideal trekking destination for trekkers from Pune and Mumbai because of its accesibility, ease of the trek and lush green surroundings. Lohagad at 3400 ft is a wide spread fort. There are 4 doors to Lohagad from the nearby village Lohagadwadi. Lohagad divides the basins of the Indrayani and Pavna. Malawli is the nearest railway station from Lohagad.

Lohagad is amongst the easiest trek that one can undertake from Pune and Mumbai. Lohagad is one of the few forts ideal for trekking that can be reached by train. Malawli is the nearest railway station from Lohagad and ‘Bhaje Gaav’ is the base village from where you can start the trek to Lohagad. Lohagadwadi is the village from where the steps up the Lohagad fort start. Distance between Malawli and Lohagadwadi can be covered in around 2-2.5 hrs.

The highlight of Lohagad fort trek is the ‘Vinchu kata’ – fortification resembling a scorpion’s tail. This structure juts out from the main section of the fort and requires an additional 15-20 mins of walking to reach the edge. The Dargah is another major landmark within Lohagad which is located near the entrance to the fort – ‘Mahadarwaja’. Laxmi Kothi is a large shelter near the Dargah.

  • Koregad Fort

Koregad Fort is an individual fort in a hillock which is not connected to other hills in Lonavala Region. About one hour trekking expedition is required to reach the top. This hillock is credited with few ponds and magnificent picturesque landscapes. This fort stands alone with grandiose solitude. The fort is in ruins and most of the structures of the fort are not visible now. The base village to Koregad is Ambivane.

The base village to Koregad is Ambivane. This fort is past INS Shivaji near a village called Peth Shahapur enroute Ambavane where Sahara Amby Valley is located and belongs to Sahara India. Yes they own the fort believe it or not.

The Koregad Fort, known for its solitude, was constructed on an isolated hill in the Ambavane village, around 24 km away from Lonavala. Archaeological evidence suggests that this fort was built in 1657, by Shivaji Maharaj.

This landmark is situated at a height of about 3049 feet above sea level. Within this fort, there are few fresh water ponds and small caves, which depict the life of the royals in the ancient era.

The fort has two entrance gateways, with the first comprising 100 odd steps, which reach the Ganesh Temple and other small caves on the way to the top of the hill. The other way is the shortest way to climb the fort through dense jungles, bamboo trees and short steps carved on large rocks.
One of the beautiful trekking destinations, the top of the fort can be reached after a one hour trek. From the top, tourists get the view of the Nagphani Point, Amby Valley, Tung Fort and various surrounding hilly terrains.

One can get eye pleasing views of surrounding hilly terrains and other forts from the peak of this fort.

  • Dhangad Fort

A small fort is situated on a hill near Koregad and involves a steep climb. Once the palce was known as the Peshwa’s prison and halfway up is a beautiful temple of Girjai Devi. It is about 10 km ahead of Koregad across a col. A bus road approaches its base at Bhamburde. Walk ahead of Akelya Village to climb the fort.

  • Rajmachi Fort

A beautiful fort, located in the Shayadri hills is a popular tourist attraction in this region. There are two forts located here were built by ruler Shivaji in the 17th century. The fort overlooks the Borghat valley and can be reached only via trekking from Lonavala and takes around 2 days to reach the fort.

Rajmachi fort is a strategic fort overlooking Borghat (ghat between Mumbai and Pune) which was a historical trade route. Rajmachi peak has two fortified structures – the Shrivardhan fort and Manoranjan fort. Rajmachi can be reached by 2 ways, the tough route from Kondivade village nearKarjat and the other easy but long way route from Lonavala. In rainy season this place is filled with giant waterfalls and greenery.

There are two Fortresses on Rajmachi –the taller one in the east is Shrivardhan fort and the other in the west is Manaranjan fort. Rajmachi is a unique fort having wide plateau on all sides of the twin fortresses. There is a rich treasure of historical monuments on Rajmachi, viz. mighty ramparts and walls, gateways, secret exit gates, administrative offices, water storage tanks and reservoirs, residential quarters, temples and idols of deities. Kal Bhairava temple is situated in the col between Shrivardhan and Manaranjan. Local inhabitants worship Kal Bhairava even today. The Buddhist caves on the western slope of Rajmachi plateau (at present known as Kondhane caves) were carved in the period around 200 BC. The existence of these ancient caves indicates that Rajmachi had been identified as an important place right from the Buddhist period. Rajmachi Fort has been declared as a protected monument.

  • Shreevardhan Fort, Rajmachi

Shreevardhan Fort, an ancient fort spotted with the history of Maratha rulers, is situated to the east region of Rajmachi town. The construction of the fort is in Martha style architecture and the imposing entrance of the Shreevardhan fort is in a semicircular shape. The fort is built at the pinnacle of one of the peaks in Rajamchi, so that one can view the movements of the downhill region. The view from the fort is breathtaking with wide greenish landscape and undulating hilly terrains.

The fort encloses attractive Buddhist caves and two water tanks with plenty of water all through the year. Bhairavnath temple adds the attraction of the Shreevardhan fort.

  • Tikona Fort, Rajmachi

The Tikona fort is a great trekking destination for the adventurous tourists. One can get the eye catching views of the Pawna Dam and the forts at Visaput, Tung and Lohagarh. The fort encloses a lake, Satvahan caves and the temple of ‘Trimbakeshwar Mahadev’.

Tikona Fort, also renowned as Vitandgad fort, is a major hill fort in Maval region near the Lonavala. Tikona fort, literally means triangle fort, had witnessed many dynasties ruled in the Maratha region. This was the nerve centre of the many activities of entire Malwan Pawna regions. The small hamlet close to the fort is Tikona peth. The fort’s mammoth entrance is a special attraction.

  • Tung Fort

Tung Fort, also known as Kathingad, is a fort in the peak (tung means peak) and is very difficult to approach. The fort is in the Mawal region which was ruled by Maratha kings. The fort is constructed at a height of 3500 feet and about 1200 feet hilly terrain are with steep ascents.

The Tung fort is a tough and rough adventurous trekking destination. One can start trekking to Tung fort from Phagne Dam in Pawna River. The tung fort has already ruined and only the structure left was a temple dedicated to Devi Tungai. There are a lake and a cave at the fort region. From the pinnacle of the hillock, one can enjoy the majestic views of Laghghar and Visapur forts.

  • Visapur Fort

Visapur fort is located at an altitude of nearly 4,000 ft above sea level in Lonavala. One has to do a real trekking expedition to reach this historical fort. It is believed that the fort is built centuries back and was thriving with many activities during the rules of many Maratha dynasties. Chathrapthi Shivaji was using this as a place to watch the movements in the downhill and the plains.

Presently the fort is in ruins and there is not much structure left in the fort. The scenic surroundings and the majestic panoramic views of the plains are the best attraction here.

Another Point System

  • Rajmachi Point

Rajmachi Point is located about 6.5 km from Lonavla. This point commands a view of Shivaji’s famous fort, Rajmachi (Royal terrace) and the surrounding valley. Regular State Transport buses ply between Rajmachi Point and Lonavla from the State Transport Bus Stand. The famous Vaghjai Dari is also located here. The monkeys are aggressive, so keep an eye out on your food and shiny objects.

  • Ryewood Park & Shivaji Udyan

This is an extensive garden situated in Lonavla. The garden covers a lot of ground and it is full of tall trees. There is an old Shiva temple in the park. Covering a capacious area of more than 25 acres, this park enthralls both kids and grownups. Named after an English officer Mr. Rye, this garden was originally a botanical garden. Later it was reconstructed and decorated with embellishing floral plants and staggering tall trees for the tourist purpose.

  • Valvan Dam & Lake

Valvan Dam has a garden at its foot, and is a popular evening spot 2 km from the town. The dam supplies water to the Khopoli power station at the foothills of the Sahyadris for generating electricity. The Kundali River feeds into the dam’s reservoir.

Valavan Lake is one of the beautiful picnic spot in Lonavala. The Valvan Lake is an artificial lake created by the Valvan Dam built across the Kundali River. The Valvan dam is the source of water to the Khopali power station. By the side of the lake there is a beautiful garden with vast expanse of landscaped plains. Both the dam and the garden are built by Tata.

The Valvan Lake and the surrounding dam sites and the garden are popular evening relaxation spots. A beautiful garden surrounded by several food courts make this spot a favorite picnic layout. An artificial Valvan Lake adds to the tourism aspect of the Valvan Dam reservoir.

  • Lonavla Lake

Situated on the outskirts of the town Lonavala, this lake is notable for its enchanting natural beauty and attractive landscapes. Though it dries up in the winter season, pristine surroundings of Lonavala Lake appeal the tourists very much. This picnic spot is easy to reach as it is just 1.6 km away from the town.

  • Tiger’s Leap

Tiger’s Leap also known as Tiger’s Point is a cliff-top with a sheer drop of over 650 m, giving an extensive view. Buses are available up to I.N.S. Shivaji and the remaining distance of about 1.6 km has to be covered on foot.

Just around tiger’s leap, there is an small waterfall active only during the monsoon. It serves the purpose of relaxing in the water better than Bhusi dam, as the force of the fall is higher. Also, after the brief steep descent, the fall becomes a stream with a fair amount of force to go all the way down to the base of the Tiger’s Leap. Adventurers can trek down the stream whilst intermittently stepping back on land where the water current is too strong and the fall is steep.

The echo point and the monsoon-fed waterfall located here is also a major attraction.

  • Karla Caves

Karla caves, located near Lonavla, are a complex of cave shrines built by Buddhist monks around 3rd to 2nd century B.C. A famous temple of Goddess Ekvira Devi is also present here. Karla Caves are the largest cave temple (chaitya) in India and is located in Lonavala. These rock cut caves are assumed to be built around 100 AD by Buddhists. The marvelous ancient Karla Caves are presently a popular tourist destination to have a close look at the ancient Buddhist architecture and culture. These caves exhibit Buddhist ideologies through inscriptions and stupas.

The Karla Caves are the largest cave temples in India. It is also one of the last specimens of rock cut caves in India. Though the actual founders of these caves are still anonymous, it is assumed that these are the works of the ancient Buddhist monks of the 2nd and 3rd century B.C. The style of the shrines and the stupas on the inner side of the caves blatantly reveal the Buddhist style of art and culture.

Two most significant aspects of the Karla caves are the Chaityas or the prayer halls and the viharas or the places of stay for the monks. The door to the Chaitya is adorned with an arch in the shape of a horse shoe.

The Chaitya hall is spectacular with 37 octagonal pillars with a base structure of a water jar and it has a special feature of the façade screen made out of teak wood. The entrance of the Chaitya hall is adorned with an arch in the shape of a horse shoe.

Karla caves enclose Buddha viharas, where the monks used to stay during their meditation period in the caves. The cave encloses sculptures of elephants adorned with metal jewelries and ivory tusks. These are the ancient Buddhist caves. They are in existence since 160 BC and are supposed to be the biggest among the “Chaitya Caves”. The exquisite carvings created by human hands leave one spellbound. At the entrance, there is a small temple of Ekvira Devi. There are lion pillars and inside huge elephant forms are carved on which there are different forms, representing Gautam Buddha. Other carvings include dancing pairs with windows everywhere.

Another significant architectural specialty of the Karla Caves is the lion column at the front, with a closed stone facade and torana in between.

  • Bhaja Caves

Bhaja Caves (Marathi: भाजा) are a group of 22 rock-cut caves dating back to 200 BC located at Karli, near Lonavala, Maharashtra. The location of the Bhaja Caves is not far from the Karla Caves, which are stylistically similar. The Bhaja Caves are on a major trade route of the past that ran from the Arabian Seaeastward into the Deccan region, the division between North India and South India. The inscriptions and cave temple are protected as a National Monument, by the Archaeological Survey of India vide Notification No. 2407-A.

Bhaja caves, second century old Buddhist caves, in Lonavala is rare Buddhist tourist destination. These caves encloses 18 rock cut caves constructed by Buddhist nuns and enshrines many sculptures like a prince in a chariot, a prince seated on an elephant, three armed warriors and dancing couples. All these sculptures are the specimen of Indian architectural age and the mastery in sculpturing.

The first cave is believed to be the residential place of the master of the caves, the next ten caves are Buddhist viharas with one cave contains the Chaitya hall. The rest seven caves are adorned with inscriptions including the details of the donor. A water fall is also located at the last of the caves.

The Bhaja Caves share the same set of architectural designs as Karla Caves. Visually, the most impressive monument is large shrine — chaityagriha — with an open, horseshoe-arched entrance. The chaitrya has unique reliefs of Indian mythology. Other caves have a nave and aisle, with an apse containing a solid tupa and the aisle circling round the apse, providing the circumambulation path.

A notable part of monument is a group of 14 stupas, five inside and nine outside an irregular excavation. One of the caves has some fine sculptures.

Near the last cave is a waterfall which, during the monsoon season, has water that falls into a small pool at the bottom. These caves also provide important proof regarding the history of the Tabla, an Indian percussion instrument. The carvings show a woman playing tabla and another performing a dance, dating back to 200 BC.

The donor inscriptions noticed here do not attribute to any particular ruling family or dynasty. However an inscription datable to 2nd century AD as found on the back wall of a cistern records the donation of Maharathi Kosikiputa Vihnudata, can be attributed to the caves. Another two inscriptions inscribed on the wooden beam itself below the vault are short and dedicatory in nature and datable to 2nd century BC. The survival of this original inscription on the wooden beams indicated that they have survival for the past 2200 years.

The excavations here consist of chaityagrhas, viharas and podhis.

  • Bedse Caves

Bedse Caves (also known as Bedsa Caves) are situated in Maval taluka, Pune District, Maharashtra, India.

The history of the caves can be traced back up to 1st century BC. There are two main caves. The best known cave is the chaitya (prayer hall) with comparatively large stupa, the other cave is monastery – vihara. Both the caves contain some carvings although are less ornate than later caves. Both caves are facing eastwards so it is recommended to visit the caves early morning, as in sunlight the beauty of carvings is enhanced. There is also a small “Stupa” outside to the right of the main caves.

Small Waterfall created by rain at Bedse Caves

Until around 1861 the caves were regularly maintained – even painted. These works were ordered by local authorities in order to please Britishofficers who often visited caves. This has caused loss of the remnants of plaster with murals on it.

Bedse Caves are comparatively less known and less visited. People know about the nearby Karla Caves and Bhaja Caves but have hardly heard of Bedse Caves. The trilogy of the caves (Karla – Bhaje – Bedse) in Mawal Region can’t be completed without Bedse. An easy hike through steps leads to the caves. Also close to the Bedse caves are the famous foursome of Lohagad, Visapur, Tung and Tikona forts adjoining the Pawana Dam.

The best time to visit Bedse Caves is the rainy season as the hills are filled with lush greenery during that time. Also many small waterfalls are created that can only be enjoyed during the rainy season. As this is one of the lesser known spots, not many tourists throng the place, so makes it easy to enjoy the views.

Bedse Caves can be reached from Pune via Kamshet. Upon reaching Kamshet Chowk , left route is to be taken. That route goes straight to Bedse Village where the caves are located. They can also be reached via Paud – Tikona Peth – Pawananagar. Alternate route is from Somatne-Phata on the Pune-Mumbai NH4 Highway.

  • Bhushi Dam

A waterfall near the dam is a popular spot between Lonavla and I.N.S. Shivaji. Buses running on the I.N.S. Shivaji Road stop here. Bushy Dam is one of the majestic picnic spots in Lonavala. The Dam is magnificent during the monsoons with water gushing out through the dam make exhilarating waterfalls. The Dam is located at the backdrop of scenic hilly terrains and lush green environments.

This is a much sought weekend and vacation destination in Lonavala. Calm environment and cool atmosphere add the beauty of this site. Swimming is not allowed in this Dam.

  • Lion’s Point

Scenic point midway between Bhushi Dam and Aamby Valley.

  • Tungarli Lake and Dam

This lake and Dam come to life during the Monsoon season, where the youth climb the mountain top to the Dam. This dam was built during the British era and features a serene surrounding.

Tungarli Dam built across the Tungarli Lake is a famous weekend picnic spot nearby Rajmachi. The Dam is placed in the backdrop of scenic surroundings with lusting greeneries. Tungarli village, in the hills in Sahyadri ranges, offers picturesque panoramic view of the down city Rajmachi and also other places such as Lonavala and Lohagad.

The Dam constructed many years back help for the irrigation of the Rajmachi region. Tungarli Lake is a small lake with rough approach roads. Reaching the dam site is a trekker’s virtue. The camping facilities for the trekkers and tourists are available at the lake site. Some new resorts are also available in this place.

  • Lonavala Lake/ Monsoon Lake

Lonavala Lake is also known as Monsoon Lake as it dries up during the winters and gets filled with gushing water during monsoons. This lake, built around 1876, is a picturesque picnic spot in Lonavala. This location is gorgeous with natural beauty and scenic surroundings. The source of the Lonavala Lake is the famous river Indrayani. This lake is a natural habitat of many water bodies. Many varieties of birds can be spotted over the lake.

  • Nagphani / Duke’s Nose

Nagphani, later known as Duke’s Nose after Duke Wellington, is a cliff at Khandala near Lonavala. The Cliff is pointed like a snakes pointed head portion (hood) and hence the name Nagphani (Nag means snake and phani means hood). The name Dukes’nose is derived as the cliff looked like the shape of the Duke. This is a marvelous picnic spot nearby Lonavala. Duke’s Nose stands 12 km from Lonavla, clearly visible from the highway while driving towards Mumbai. This landmark in Khandala is popular with hikers. Adventurous trekking is highly essential to reach the Duke’s nose and the view of the downhill plains from this point is mind boggling.

  • Shooting Point

Another scenic point in the town of Khandala (Bazaar peth), which provides magnificent view of the Rajmachi Fort and the valley. It is also the home for the St. Mary’s villa.

  • Wax Museum

The Wax Museum, only 3 km away from the railway station at Varsoli, near Toll Plaza is a new attraction for the tourists.

  • Pawna Lake

Pawna Lake (Pavna Lake) is an artificial lake formed by the Pawna Dam built across the Pawna River nearby Lonavala. The lake attracts many tourists due to its imposing natural ambience and cool climate. From the dam site one can view the majestic sights of Tungi, Logagarh and Tikona forts. The boating in the lake gives you a magnificent view of the surrounding forts and the hillocks. The place is mostly cool and it is a nice place to sit and relax in the lap of the nature.

  • Sausage Hills

Sausage Hills is one of the best picnic spots in Lonavala. This pristine hill is covered with dense forests and is the natural habitat of many varieties of birds. The Sausage hill is the perfect place for hill climbing, bird watching and trekking. Many trekking trails originate from Sausage hills and leads to other hilly terrains, forts and lakes. From this hill one can get eye catching views of Pawna Lake and Tunga Fort.

  • Scorpion’s Sting

Scorpion’s Sting, also known as Vinchu Kata, is a long and narrow fortified spur in the region of the Lohagarh fort which extends westwards of the Lonawala. This is a finger styled projection of fissure of Lava and the name scorpion’s sting due to its natural shape. The attractive beauty of the pinnacle of this hilly terrain is worth visiting.

This trail is very fascinating for the nature lovers and trekkers. From this peak one can descend towards the Visapur fort. The peak offers long views of surrounding plains and lush green sceneries of the forests.

  • Rajmachi Wildlife Sanctuary

The Rajmachi Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the picturesque locale surrounded by dense green forests. The wildlife sanctuary is on the foothills and hilly terrains of Western Ghat in Sahyadri ranges. The sanctuary offers the wildlife beauty in its pristine passion. This is a weekend destination for the nature loving tourists.

The sanctuary encloses abundance of animals and birds. One major attraction here is the mammoth Indian squirrel. It is a rare place where one can spot the wild animals freely moving in their natural habitat. The landscape is enriched with rare species of herbs and plants. The location is very good for nature walks, trekking and bird watching.

  • Bhairavnath Temple

Bhairavnath Devasthan is situated at a place called Dhak in Rajmachi. The primary deity of this grand old temple is Shiva in the form of Bhairav. The temple architecture is similar to Shiva temples elsewhere in Konkan region.

The temple is located in the backdrop of naturally thrilling forest regions. Soft breeze and cool ambience provide the premises of the temple a sacred atmosphere. The temple can be approached by a slippery path. Many small shrines for other Hindu gods and goddesses are also placed around the main sanctum sanctorum. Mahashivarathri is the famous festival here on which day hundreds of devotees visit this temple with many offerings.

  • Fishing

Lonavala is the hamlet of the fishing community known as Koli. Lonavala is the nerve-centre of the fishing activities in the state. The number of Lakes and dam sites make this place a hub of all kinds of fishing activities. The lakes in Lonavala are thriving with varieties of fish fauna.

Visiting Lonavala will give the tourist the rare opportunity of living among the local fishermen folks and to enjoy their culture and lifestyles. If you are interested in fun fishing the local fishermen will be more willing to take you for fishing.

  • Shivlinga

On the way to Tiger’s Leap, you would see a small board on the right- Shivlinga (swayambhu). From the road, it looks like just another place to view the deep valleys around Tiger’s Leap, but it has some real breathtaking views including the mountain housing the “Shivlinga”. Besides, due to the lack of popularity vis-à-vis Tiger’s Leap and Bushy Dam, the place offers a quiet and serene view of the Sahyadris. Like most places, there is a small shop to relish hot bhajiyas (an Indian Fried snack) and Cutting Chai. Tea costs about Rs.10 per cup while the snacks would cost about Rs.30-40 per plate. There is a tendency, however, to extract more money from unaware foreign tourists.

  • Sydney Point

This point is situated on a small hillock facing the Krishna Valley .From here one can see the the glittering waters of the Dhom Dam and Pandavgad and Mandhardeo are also easily seen.

  • Table Land

Situated around 60 mts high near Tungarli, this flat large expanse of laterite rock is the second longest mountain plateau in Asia. There are some spacious caves that can be seen from here and one of them is Devil’s Kitchen

  • Devil’s Kitchen

The Devil’s Kitchen situated to the south of tableland, is also a place of mythological interest. It is believed that the Pandavas stayed here for a while and used this place to cook their food. There are some legends regarding this, though most of them appear to be mere tall tales. Some people claim that Pandvgadh Caves (near Wai) are also built by them and bear their name.

  • Parsi Point

This windy road situated on the way to Mahabaleshwar overlooks the Krishna valley and the blue mirror like waters of the Dhom Dam.

  • Shirota Lake

A large lake which is ideally situated and approachable from many sides.. From Kamshet station, walk on Tata’s private railway line to the dam. A huge expense of water can be seen. On the western end of the lake is Rajmachi, to which a good cross-country walk is inviting. On the south (left) lie the Karla caves, across a ridge and on the north (right) s is Somwadi Dam and Andhra Lake.

More towards Khandala:

  • Reversing Station

This old place belonging to the railways now remains unused. During the night, this place illuminated with hundreds of lights becomes alive and gives a fascinating view. The division of Lonavala and Raigad District starts from here.

  • Sakur Plateau

On the way to INS Shivaji there is a turn and a zigzag road. At a distance of approximately 4 miles and at a height of 1000 feet is a plateau. This plateau is on the way to village Ambavane. Thick forests occupy it and it’s sparsely populated. Tungi, Korigad, Lohagad etc.

  • Monkey Hill

All the trains coming down from Khandala halt here for brake testing. There is a huge flat land to south of the railway tracks. This place is exactly above Khopoli town and it can be approach from Khopoli as well as Borghat reversing station. It is a favorite picnic spot.

  • Kune Falls 

This waterfall where water comes down from a height of more than 100 feet is majestic in appearance one can have bath in the water that flows through the valley. This place is between Lonavala and Khandala. This fall can be seen in Khandala Ghat while coming from Mumbai. It runs for many days long after the monsoon is over.

  • Amruntanjan point 

At the beginning of the Khandala Ghat, and at the end of the first slope there is a huge hoarding of Amrutanjan. There is a lot of flat space around here and the view of the valley and Dukes Nose is breath taking beyond this one can also see the city of Khopoli.

And more..

Food: Of course the whole country knows about Lonavala chikka and Maganlal and A-One Chikkiwala being the best in the business. But if you are looking for some homely food away from the commercial restaurants, we have our very own Phasebai serving you finger-licking non-veg food Marathi and Gomantak Ishtyle.

Mrs. Shaila Phase, commonly known as Phasebai cooks awesome non-veg food and has a lot of fan following of locals as well as people from Mumbai and Pune. All the chefs in the kitchen are women and hence it carries a taste of home-cooked-food in every dish they prepare. Phasebai has given a life to a lot of women and single mothers.

Her joint is located in Joshi Sanatorium, behind Maharaja and Hari International Hotel.

Contact: (02114) 270802

 

Commercial places to eat in

Dlicious Dlites

Itriose Plaza, NS Shivaji Road | Ryewood, Lonavala, India

The completely eggless bakery. Wide range of coffee.

Rama Krishna Hotel

Lonavala, Lonavala, India

The No.1 hotel in Lonavala for South Indian Dishes.

**The best way to travel around Lonavala would however be to rent out a bicycle for around Rs 120 a day and cycle around the serene surroundings.