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Two famous hill stations in the state of Maharashtra, Lonavala and Khandala are located in Pune district. These hill stations are about 64 km from Pune and 80 km from Mumbai. Nestled in the Sahyadri Range, they offer mesmerising views of the Deccan Plateau on one side and Konkan Coast on the other. Due to the exuberant valleys, charming waterfalls and pleasant climate, Lonavala and Khandala are sometimes regarded as the Jewels of the Sahyadris.


Hilly landscapes, dense flora, and crystal-clear lakes make the towns an ideal spot for trekking, camping and fishing. Although the hill stations receive tourists from all over India throughout the year, the best time to visit this sanctum of tranquillity is between the months of May and October.


In and around the towns, there are a number of points that offer captivating views of the scenic surroundings and small villages tucked amidst them. One such spot is Rajmachi Point, which overlooks the well-known Rajmachi Fort and the surrounding valley. Tiger’s Leap is another vantage point at a good height. Lonavala is one of the best places to experience activities like trekking, camping, hot air ballooning and paragliding.

Ryewood Park features an expansive garden dotted with trees. The ancient caves of Bhaja and Karla, and Visapur and Lohagad forts are perfect reminders of the glorious history of the region. Waterfalls and lakes in and around the towns can be used for fishing, camping and picnicking. A few lakes that are famous for the same are Bhushi, Pawna and Tungarli. Trekking on the hilly slopes in this region, and horseback riding with assistance from experienced guides are good ways to take a closer look at the regional flora and fauna.


Lonavala is also famous for Chikki, a sweet snack made out of nuts and jaggery. However, other variants of chikki may also include dry fruits, Bengal gram and sesame seeds. Some other culinary specialities of the area are spicy vada paos and masala tea.


The Celebrity Wax Museum has life-size wax figures of known people like Adolf Hitler, Michael Jackson, AR Rehman and Angelina Jolie. The bustling Lonava Bazaar has many souvenir shops that sell carved wood and cane products. The streets here are also lined with food stalls that offer freshly prepared snacks.


The hill station finds the origin of its name from the Sanskrit word lonavli, meaning caves, as there are a number of caves located here, such as Bhaja, Karla and Bedse. Lonavala was once a part of the Yadava dynasty and further ruled by sultans, and the Marathas and British. When Mughals extended their territories into India, it became a part of their empire and continued to be under their rule for a long time. Later, the Marathas and Peshwas governed the region, during which the hill station flourished, culturally.


Lonavala was once home to the famous Malva warriors, counted as one of the most daring fighting clans. The region also witnessed the rule of Sardar Dabhade, who served as the commanders of the Maratha armies. The Marathas built forts on hills in the region and made use of the rocky terrain to carry out guerrilla warfare against the Mughals and British.


The earliest settlement of the British in the area came up in the late 18th century, and numerous battles took place between regional rulers and the British for the control over the area. By the early 19th century, the East India Company captured most of the parts of the country and began using small towns as their administrative units.


In the year 1811, Lonavala was rediscovered by Sir Mountstuart Elphinstone, the then Governor of Bombay Presidency, and later developed as the summer capital of the presidency. High-ranking British officials made frequent visits to the town in order to get respite from the heat of the summers. Later, it became one of their favourite picnicking, vacationing and hunting destinations.


All this led to the development of the town as a major tourist hotspot, especially after India became independent. Today, Lonavala and Khandala hill stations witness travellers from all over India.


Situated in the Pune district in the Indian state of Maharashtra, Lonavala lies at an altitude of about 622 metres above mean sea level.


With its lush valleys, blooming meadows and green mountains, the town is spread over an area of nearly 38 sq km. There are a number of lakes within the region, namely Tungarli Lake, Lonavala Lake, Shivaji Lake and Shivsagar Lake. Two main types of forests are present in the area around Lonavala: North Western Ghats Moist Deciduous Forests and North Western Ghats Montane Rainforests. Several species of the laurel plant family dominate the natural vegetation here.


Owing to its hilly location, Lonavala experiences a pleasant and cool weather round the year. The monsoon stays active here between June and September, during which heavy rainfall occurs. This rainy season enhances the natural beauty of region by making trees flourish and flowers bloom. The tropical climate turns out to be more alluring during this time, making the area a refuge to stay protected from the hot summers in the Deccan Plateau and the coastal plains areas. In the summer season, the maximum temperature rises to about 36 degree Celsius, whereas it stays around 12 degrees in winters.

How to reach

Lonavala does not have its own airport. Two major airports, namely Pune International Airport and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai are located at a distance of about 64 km and 104 km from the town, respectively. Additionally, a seaplane service also operates from Juhu Mumbai, to Pawana Dam, which is around 14 km from Lonavala.


Conveniently located on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, the town is well connected to important towns in Maharashtra like Dabhade, Karjat and Khopoli. Air-conditioned buses are easily available for Lonavala from various locations in Mumbai. Scheduled shared cab services are also available to Lonavala from the metropolis.


The hill station is also well connected to Pune and Mumbai by rail. Local trains from Pune take a halt in Lonavala, whereas major trains that cross Mumbai and Pune also stop in the town. The nearest railhead to Lonavala is in Karjat.

Getting Around

A number of options are available here to travel within the town and to Khandala. Taxi is a good means of transport to commute locally, but operators generally operate on different fares.


Since it is a small town, walking is a good option to see places at short distances from one another. Auto-rickshaw is another convenient option, but confirmation regarding the route and fare is again suggested prior to the journey.

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