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Lonavala is an important hill station in the state of Maharashtra. It is popularly known as the jewel of the Sahyadri Mountains. Lonavala is set amongst the sylvan hills of the Western Ghats and is a popular gateway from Mumbai and Pune. It also serves as a starting point for tourists interested in visiting the famous, ancient Buddhist rock cut caves of Bhaja and Karla, which are located near this hill station. It also has an important Yoga center near it, for the health conscious traveler.
The area around Lonavala was an important Buddhist center in 2nd century BC and a number of ancient Buddhist rock-cut cave temples can be found in this area. As Lonavala is located in the inhospitable terrain of the Sahyadri mountain range, it was not an important site in terms of history. Chattrapati Shivaji, the founder of the first Maratha Empire, ruled this area. Later it came under the Peshwa rulers, who founded the second Maratha Empire. It was finally taken over by the British when they defeated the Peshwas.
How to reach Lonavala
By Air : The nearest airport from Lonavala is situated in the Pune city, which is serviced by all the public as well as private carriers. It is located at a distance of around 62 km from Lonavala. The nearest international airport is the one at Mumbai, which is about 96 km away.
By Rail: The railway station of Lonavala falls on the main railway line between Mumbai and Pune. The express trains that ply between the two cities go through the hill station, making a stoppage there. The next closest railhead is Pune, serviced by trains that connect it with all the major cities of India.
By Road: The hill station of Lonavala is sited at a distance of 106 km from Mumbai and 62 km from Pune. It takes approximately 2 hrs from Pune and roughly 4 hrs from Mumbai to reach the hill resort by bus. Buses plying between Lonavala and Khandala can be taken at an interval of about 15 minutes.
Lonavala is one of the favorite hill stations of people of Mumbai and other nearby areas. Come weekends and you can see most of the stressed out Mumbaiites coming here to take a break and rejuvenate themselves. What makes this hill station so special is the fact that it has a very hospitable weather almost throughout the year and is definitely a welcome change from the concrete jungle. Blessed with a climate that would put tropical paradises to shame, Lonavala is the ideal place where beauty, serenity and fun mix up together to give you a vacation that you won't forget for a lifetime. To know more information on Lonavala weather and climate, just read on.
Summers in Lonavala are very pleasant. The maximum temperature remains around 30-35° C. Occasional showers and the evening breeze helps cool down the temperature and make it very pleasant. You can carry light cotton clothes if you are traveling here in summers.
The monsoons turn this hill-station into a magical paradise! In fact, all those who have a penchant for traveling, come here during monsoons and swear by the magic and beauty. The black clouds and smell of rain in the air is enough to heighten your senses and give you a thrill of getting drenched in the rain like never before.
Temperatures drop down during winters, but the weather remains cool, not cold. Light woolens should suffice if you are traveling here after October. The average temperature during this time remains around 15° C.
Though Lonavala can be visited any time throughout the year, the best time considered for visiting this serene hill-station is from October to March. Do not miss waking up early morning and popping your head out of the window. The feeling of the morning mist softly kissing your cheek is an experience you wouldn't want to miss!
Places Of Interest
Located around 6.5 kilometers from Lonavala, the Rajmachi Point gives a spectacular view of Rajmachi Fort, which once belonged to Shivaji. One can also get a panoramic view of the valley that surrounds it. This place is a must visit when you come to Lonavala.
Ryewood Park and Shivaji Udyan
Another prime attraction of Lonavala, Ryewood Park and Shivaji Udyan are beautiful gardens that have perfectly manicured grass, tall trees, beautiful flowers and lot of place to sit around and relax. If you are coming with your family, this place will be ideal for you to visit. You can also explore the ancient Shiva temple that is located in the premises here.
The Tungarli Lake is a beautiful lake that looks crystal clear during the monsoons. This lake basically provides water to the residents of Lonavala. It provides much peace and serenity to all those who long to take a break from the fast city life and spend time with nature.
The Valvan Dam is another important tourist attraction here. The catchment area of the dam has been converted into a lovely picnic spot with a beautiful garden. The dam basically provides water to the Khopoli power station, in order to generate electricity.
Yet another beautiful lake, Lonavala Lake is the place to be if you are looking for peace and beauty. The lake is surrounded by natural beauty and you can see nature at its best, over here. Though it parches up in summers, the lake comes to life during monsoons and remains so throughout winters.
The Karla caves are important historic Buddhist sites that were built around 2-3rd century BC. The cave shrines are popular among all tourists and are visited by everyone who come to Lonavala.
The Lohagad Fort of Lonavala was the battleground of the Maratha warrior, Shivaji. From here, you can get a lovely view of the lush green surrounding hills and the steep valleys.
This is definitely one of the most exciting sites to visit in Lonavala. This dam has a beautiful waterfall in the vicinity, which is a must see. The surrounding area of the dam has been developed into a beautiful catchment area for tourists to enjoy.
If you want to buy any interesting stuff from these hill-stations, it will have to be in the form of sweet and tasty memories. Both hill-stations are tremendously popular for their vast range of mouth watering 'chikkis', fudges and jams. To make things more interesting, you can also pick up lots of freshly prepared 'namkeen' snacks like 'chivda' and 'sev'. Some of the best known stores are: Maganlal Chikki Center, National Chikki and A1 Chikki.
Purohil Dining Hall at Lonavala is a huge hit with locals and visitors for its delicious and simple vegetarian Gujarati fare. The price is reasonable, service is efficient and the food makes you feel very much at home. Kamats is a popular eating joint at Lonavala. Gurukripa restaurant is a good choice for vegetarian food. Ramakrishna Hotel on the Mumbai-Pune highway is known for serving good food and choice of cuisines; South Indian, North Indian, Chinese and Punjabi.
Being small hill stations, there aren't too many activity oriented options after sun down. Having said that, one can go for lovely walks under the night sky!