As monsoon sets in, the Western Ghats become the ideal destination for travel enthusiasts. Hills, pleasant weather and lot of sightseeing options make them a tourist’s delight. Talking of sightseeing, the first name that comes to my mind is the twin hill stations Lonavala Khandala. Incidentally, it was the song, “Aati kya Khandala” that introduced me to Lonavala. Listening Aamir Khan sing “Lonavle me chikki khayenge” I too used to plead my parents to take me to Lonavala Khandala so that I could “eat my favourite actor’s favourite chikki!”
Years later, when I relocated to Mumbai, Lonavala got instantly refreshed in my memory and made its place on the top of my “places to visit” list. Since I had set my foot in Mumbai, everyone I met suggested to take a short getaway to Lonavala Khandala and enjoy the beauty of Western Ghats during monsoons.
Fortunately, I got my chance soon. Owing to its proximity from Mumbai (It’s just a 96km pleasant drive away), Lonavala topped our “to travel” destination and one long weekend, we found ourselves up early to explore Lonavala.
The drive through Vashi-Panvel was smooth and soon we found ourselves surrounded by the hills enveloped in greenery! Awestruck by the breath-taking sight of the hills, tunnels and waterfalls, I couldn't have agreed more that Lonavala is the place to be during monsoons.
Lonavala boasts of many amazing resorts which make for a pleasant experience. It was a wise decision to compare Lonavala resorts using Cleartrip, for not only we got a resort that offered breath-taking view of the hills, but also offered us a good deal on tariffs.
After a sumptuous fest and some rest, we set out to explore Lonavala, for we wanted to make the most of our long weekend.
If the sight of hills and waterfalls impress you, wait till you set out for some sightseeing. Lonavala offers many interesting places for sightseeing that are a must on your itinerary -
1. Bushi Dam
Located on Indramani River, Bushi Dam is a very popular destination among tourists. Tourists particularly enjoy playing with water on the steps. Swimming is prohibited since there have been many incidents of drowning due to inconsistent flow of water. One needs to check regarding timings as tourists are not allowed to go near the dam after 5pm. Also, consumption of alcohol is prohibited near the dam.
2. Tiger Point
Also known as Tiger’s Leap, it is another popular spot. Resembling the shape of a Tiger trying to cross the valley, Tiger’s Leap offers a beautiful view of the hills and valley. One can also enjoy the waterfall during monsoon seasons and the place is a perfect “selfie/groupie” spot.
3. Lonavala Lake
A perfect spot for the Love birds, Lonavala Lake offers a romantic experience in the lap of nature. The lake dries up in winters so one can enjoy it only during the monsoons. One can enjoy swimming or just watching nature and birds.
4. Karla Caves
This was a surprise last minute addition to our itinerary as our friends in the resort recommended it strongly. And I am thankful to them for this. These ancient Buddhist rock cut caves date back to 2nd century BC. The cave complex with its intricate carvings are a shutterbug’s delight!
No trip is complete without savouring the local flavour. While one can enjoy fresh Bhutta near the waterfalls, Lonavala is well known for its Chikki and fudge.
Available in many flavours, Chikki is a must buy. Maganlal and National are famous shops one can visit to explore many varieties of Chikki.
Offering a quick break from the busy life of Mumbai, Lonavala is indeed the ideal weekend getaway.