Words are not enough to describe their scenic beauty.....Lonavala or Lonavla,
and Khandala are the two popular hill stations in the western part of
the state of Maharashtra. Lonavala is situated at a height of 625 mtrs
above sea level and Khandala lies a bit lower, in the western ranges of
Sahyadari mountains. These hills stations lie 5km apart on either
side of the Mumbai Pune highway.
Discovered in 1871 by Sir Elphinstone, the Governor
of the Mumbai Presidency, Lonavala is absolutely mind-blowing and is blessed
by nature in bounty with valleys, hills, waterfalls, greenery, lakes and
a pleasant climate. And Khandala, though relatively small, is equally
blessed with nature like Lonavala. As Khandala is small in area,
you can explore the entire region in a couple of days. Both these are
separated by a deep valley on one side and high hills on the other side.
Popularly known as the Jewel of the Sahyadri Mountains,
Lonavala's name is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Lonavli' meaning 'city
surrounded by caves'. A popular gateway from Mumbai and Pune, Lonavala
( located 110kms southeast of Mumbai and 64kms from Pune), is simply the
most convenient base for tourists to visit the well known ancient Buddhist
rock cut caves of Bhaja and Karla, which are located nearby. It is a popular
health resort and is also famous for jams and Chikkis, a sweet candy made
The origin of Lonavala -Khandala is unclear. The area
was once under the rule of Chattrapati Shivaji, the founder of the first
Maratha Empire and later the Peshwas (who founded the second Maratha Empire)
and was finally taken over by the British when they overthrew the Peshwas.
Both these are ideal places for adventure lovers. There
is hardly any demarcation between the two hill stations. One can stay
at Lonavala which has more hotels and a good market and visit Khandala
from there. One can try trekking, paragliding, waterfall rappelling (during
the monsoons), and hiking. For this, tourists may get in touch with
the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC).
The main tourist spots here are the Sunset point, Monkey
point, Tiger leap, Lion point, Bushy dam and the several forts, caves
and lakes but more than these, the water falls you get to see enroute
to these places, are the most enjoyable ones. You should take note
that after 6:00 pm when it gets dark, all caves and forts close down.
Rajmachi Point and Rock Garden
In Khandala, 8 Km from the Lonavala town center is the famous Rajmachi
Point where there is a small Park which gives spectacular views of the
places around. This place got its name because, the great Maratha ruler
Chatrapati Sivaji's, Rajmachi Fort is situated opposite to this point.
Here you can enjoy the beauty of valleys and waterfalls. It is particularly
misty and picturesque during the monsoon season. Rajmachi Park has
a temple and a children's park. This is also a famous location for film
makers. The famous Vaghjai Dari (Tigers leap) is also located here. Monkey
point, Sunset Point, Lions Point are the few attractions near by. Sunset
point, gives spectacular views of the sunset. You can see expressway,
rail and national highway at one place.
Nagphani or Dukes Nose
A trekker's delight, Dukes Nose or Nagphani is a 800-foot monolith
located in Khandala. Locally known as Nagphani ( hood of the snake,
as the cliff also resembles the hood of the snake), the British named
it Duke's Nose after Duke of Wellington (his pointed nose resembled this
cliff). One can reach the top of Dukes Nose in one and a half hours. There
is a Mahadeva temple and large space on top of the rock. This
is accessible from INS Shivaji and Kurwande Village.
Vaghdari or Tiger's Leap
The mountain spur seems like a tiger leaping into the valley, that
is why this name. At this point one can get a splendid view of Lonavala
town. Echo point here is most famous. Near INS Shivaji, this point gives
a fascinating view of the valley.
This is a popular view point, because dozens of monkeys come and sit
near the train waiting to be fed by visitors. All the trains coming from
Khandala stop here for a few minutes to prove their brake power. There
is an entry fee of Rs.5 to the Monkey point. Situated above Khopoli town,
one can approach this place from Khopoli as well as Barghat reversing
Lion's Point, located 12 km above Khandala is another popular spot. Here
you can enjoy spectacular views of the deep valleys and ghats.
Cascading down from a height of 100 feet, this breathtaking waterfalls
is located between Lonavala and Khandala. The water is full for
many days even after the monsoon is over. One can have a cool and refreshing
bath at the base of the falls. This can be seen in Khandala hat while
coming from Mumbai.
I.N.S.Shivaji is a Naval Engineering Training Base located 8 kms from
Lonavla town. The nearest railway station is Lonavla.
Lonavla 410 402
District Pune, Maharashtra.
Fax : ( 02114 ) 284701
Phone: ( 02114 ) 284861 - 67
Bushy Dam and lake
Located 6km outside Lonavla on the INS Shivaji road, this dam
is full with water during monsoon season. The place is crowded by people
because the water overflows over the steps of the dam creates an interesting
waterfall. Swimming is not allowed in the dam. The
lake is spectacular during monsoon.
Situated on the way to INS Shivaji, this is a spectacular tourist
place. Owned by central railway, it was constructed in 1876. River Indrayani
is supposed to have originated here.
Situated north of S.T.Stand near Tungarli village, this beautiful
lake supplies water to Lonavala town. There are no buses to the site,
but taxis and auto rickshaws are available from Lonavla Station.
This area near to Lonavala is owned by the Tata company. There is
a dam here with a garden and Pisiculture centre nearby. This a restricted
area and Photography is not allowed here.
Named after an English officer Mr.Rye, this beautiful garden lies
just behind the main market area in Lonavala. Sprawled over 25 acres,
this park just half a kilometer from Lonavala Railway station has full
of natural vegetation, groves of evergreen deciduous trees, creepers and
climbers with plenty of space for children to play. There is a famous
Siddheshwar temple inside the park and an old Christian cemetery opposite
the park. Open to public throughout the day.
Barghat reversing station once belonged to the railways and now remains
unused. At night, this place is illuminated with hundreds of lights and
offers a beautiful view. This is the separating point of Pune and
Karla and Bhaja Caves
Dating from around the 2nd century BC, the superb rock cut caves in
the hills near Lonavla on the Pune highway are among the oldest and best
preserved Hinayana Buddhist caves in India. It is maintained by the Archaeological
Survey of India. There is a drive of around 500 metres up the hill and
around 150 stairs climb on foot, to reach the Karla caves. There is also
a temple here. Entry Fees - Rs.5 for Indians and 10 for Foreigners.
This fort is situated in the Lonavla region, 10
kms from Lonavala town on top of the
Western Ghats. Surrounded by thick forests and set amidst deep valleys
on three sides, you will have to trek by foot to see this famous fort.
It has two additional forts- the taller one in the east
is Shrivardhan and the other in the west is Manoranjan. An ancient temple
of Shri Bhairavnath lies between Shrivardhan and Manoranjan.
There are watchmen posts at the entrance, which
is semicircular in shape. A Buddha Cave and two huge water tanks are the
significant feature of this fort. One of the tanks is near the caves and
the other one near the fort. At one end there are residences of people
staying at the fort and on the other end are the quarters for the guards.
The fort also gives a wonderful view of Forts like Lohagad, Visapur, Tungi,
Manoranjan fort almost in ruins can be reached via the road behind
Shri Bhairavnath temple. The watchmen houses and ammunition depots are
the only notable structures which remain. There is a square lake, which
is filled with clean water all year round. A straight rock divides this
lake into two parts and only people familiar with the place should attempt
to walk through it. Khandala railway station and the forts at Karnala,
Matheran, Pali and Nagfani can be seen from here.
Located 10 kms from Lonavala town, the fort was captured by the great
Maratha ruler Shivaji in 1670. Its spectacular entrance has three successive
gates, of which the third gate is the most notable. The walls of the fort
has unusual designs. There is a water tank inside the fort believed to
have been built by Nanasaheb Phadnis of the Peshwa dynasty. Outside the
fort there is a huge cave with a Shivalinga and a tomb nearby.
The fort to the east of Lohagad Fort,
is a two hour trek (one way) from the base.
There are caves and waterfalls (during monsoon) in between, on the way
to the fort. The intricate design on the walls of the fort still remains
intact. There is a semicircular pass between Lohagad and Visapur fort,
which can be viewed from the railway bridge at Lonavala station.
The approach to Tunga fort is quite difficult
with steep climbs. There is a temple dedicated to Mahadeo here. During
Shivaji's reign this fort was used as a watch tower.