Lonavala: The City of Caves | A Complete Travel Guide

Lonavala travel guide

Table of Contents

  1. About
  2. Geography
  3. History
  4. Best time to Visit
  5. How to reach
  6. Places to Visit in Lonavala
  7. Things to do
  8. Places to Eat
  9. Popular Places to visit near Lonavala
  10. Hotels and Resorts

About

Lonavala Travel Guide

Lonavala is the most popular mountain destination in Maharashtra. It is also the most favourite hilly getaway for travellers from Mumbai and Pune. Also known as the Jewel of the Sahyadri, it offers the most pleasant temperatures, scenic views of the Western Ghats, and lush greenery, making it the most refreshing break from the nearby urban jungles. The hill station is located at 64KM from the city of Pune and about 100KM from the Mumbai metro. With abundant natural beauty and historical connection, Lonavala sums up as a relaxing vacation destination. 

[Also Read: Return of the great road trips in India]

Geography

Parsi Colony Lonavala

Spreading over an area of 38 square kilometres, Lonavala, along with its sister hill station, Khandala is the highlight of the Sahyadri Range on the Western Ghats in Maharashtra. With the highest point rising to 2041 ft, the hills of Lonavala and Khandala make a clear demarcation between the Deccan Plateau region and the Konkan Coast. It is often called the City of Caves owing to the series of ancient natural caves of Karla, Bhaja, and Bedsa that line the region.

History

The name of the town is derived from the Prakrit language Leni and Avali, which translates to “a series of resting places.” Owing to the small naturally formed caves in the region. Leni, in the vernacular, refers to a resting place carved in stone, or simply, caves. While Avali means series. The history of Lonavala goes back to the time of the Yadava dynasty, followed by the Mughal occupation when the empire used the town as a strategic location. Lonavala played an important role in the history of the Marathas and Peshwas, before it was discovered by Lord Elphinstone in 1811, the Governor of Bombay Presidency, and became a summer destination. 

Rajmachi Point Lonavala
Rajmachi Point

Best time to Visit Lonavala

Lonavala enjoys cool and pleasant weather all year round. But the real beauty of the place comes out during the monsoon when the rains paint the town and its surroundings in a velvety green shade. To experience the fresh greenery, you can travel during the rainy season. Or, you can also visit in the winter, when the temperatures are much lower and give a real feel of winter.

How to reach Lonavala

By Train

Lonavala serves as a major stop on the railway route connecting Mumbai and Pune. There are regular trains between the two cities which stop at this hill station. You can also travel to Lonavala by train from Khopoli, Karjat, Talegaon etc. 

By Road

Lonavala sits on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and the Mumbai-Bangalore Highway, making it well-connected to both the cities and other major towns in the state. There are also regular state-run and private buses from all towns and cities in Maharashtra to Lonavala. But the best way to reach is to take a cab or rent a car from Pune or Mumbai to Lonavala. The driving route is one of the most scenic and popular ones, which passes through the hills and valleys of the Western Ghats.

[Also Read: Mumbai to Lonavala by Road – Distance, Time and Useful Travel Information]

By Flight

Lonavala does not have any flight connectivity. The nearest commercial/passenger airports are at Pune International Airport, 64KM away and in Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport at 104 km away. A seaplane service from Juhu, Mumbai to Pawna Dam, Lonavala was made available from 2014. Check availability online before travelling.

Places to visit in Lonavala

From nature hotspots to man-made creations, there is a host of visiting places. Check out these must-visit attractions –

  • Kune Falls – It is the 14th largest waterfall in India and the most famous waterfall in Lonavala. The water cascades down three levels against the thick forests and mountain bluffs of the Sahyadris and makes for the most enchanting visual experience. Visit during the monsoon for the best views.
  • Lonavala Wax Museum – This tourist spot is one of its kind in the town. The first wax museum in the country, it houses statues of Indian celebrities like sportspeople, actors, political and social personalities.
  • Della Adventure Park – The locally famous amusement park, Della Adventure Park houses the best and only water park in Lonavala, along with a host of entertainment and leisure options, and an in-house resort. 
  • Tiger’s Leap Point – The most-visited viewing point, this hilltop site resembles a tiger jumping off a cliff. It is famous for its sunrise and sunset views.
  • Pawna Lake & Dam – The largest and the most beautiful lake in the town, this area offers outdoor adventure options like hiking, fishing, camping, and boating. Visit during winter for bird watching.
Pawna lake reservoir
Pawna lake reservoir
  • Bushi Lake and Dam – A dam on the Indrayani River, Bushi dam and its adjacent catchment has become a local hotspot for many years. The frothy water gushing down the rocky terrain makes for a wonderful view, especially in the monsoon. You can also catch panoramic views from the viewing point a the top. 
  • Amrutanjan Point – Although it is outside Lonavala town, this viewing point is very much a part of a tour. It sits right at the start of the Khandala Hills. The viewing platform offers great vistas of the town and the Duke’s Nose Peak.

Things to do in Lonavala

Besides the standard sightseeing, you can also try these exciting activities on your trip:

  • Stay at a homestay in Lonavala – Skip the commercial hotels and resorts and experience a stay with a local family. The old villas and colonial bungalows offer homestays for travellers who look for something ethnic and offbeat. You can enjoy homestyle food, meet interesting people and explore the town like a local.
  • Trekking in Lonavala is one of the most popular things to do in the hill town. The rugged terrain and higher altitude make for a perfect platform to tread the hills. The town acts as a base for treks to nearby historical forts like Rajmachi, Lohagad, Visapur, Korigad etc.
  • Do a tour of caves. Lonavala is home to ancient Buddhist forts. You can visit the nearby Karla Caves, known to be one of the oldest Buddhist caves in Maharashtra, as well as the Bhaja, Kondhane, and Bedsa caves.
 Lonavala Bhaja Caves
Bhaja Caves
  • Go camping by the Lonavala lakes. The hill town is home to some of the most beautiful lakes in the state. You can camp by the lakeside, go fishing, boating, kayaking, or simply enjoy stargazing at night. Or, book a luxurious country villa or lakeside resort for a premium experience.

Best Places to eat in Lonavala

Here are some of the best restaurants to try on your trip –

  • Annapurna Khanawal 
  • Parsi Dhaba 
  • Lonavala Restaurant and Bar 
  • Café 24 
  • Pnf Restaurant and Bar
  • Crème Della
  • Kinara Village Dhaba

Places to visit near Lonavala

Apart from the popular tourist places, you can also explore other equally scenic destinations nearby. Include these places in your tourist package –

  • Kamshet, 17KM – Spanning an expansive grassland area, Kamshet is a plateau sitting atop the Sahyadri Mountains. With wide, open areas, at a high altitude, Kamshet is famous for being the best paragliding destination in western India. You can also explore the abundant greenery, the rugged slopes, the clear lakes, and the ancient caves for a wholesome trip.
  • Aamby Valley City, 25KM – A 10.600 acres of the planned township, Aamby Valley is a man-made wonder. The massive property offers huge man-made lakes, luxury villas and lavish resorts, ample adventure options, and an 18-hole golf course, making it a treat for all travellers.
  • Mulshi Lake & Dam, 83KM – A pristine nature spot, Mulshi lake and its adjacent dam offer a peaceful getaway. Stay at the lakeside retreats to enjoy the views of the hills and valleys, or enjoy watersports; this quiet and quaint destination will revive you inside out.
  • Kolad, 85KM – A famous rafting destination, Kolad sits on the Kundalika River that cuts through the deep forests, plunging into waterfalls and streams. You can also do boating, canoeing, camping, and trekking during the monsoon and experience nature in its rawest form.

Best hotels and resorts in Lonavala 

Most stay options offer great views of the hills and valleys. There are many colonial-era bungalows that are turned into lodges, and homestays. You can also look at booking an entire villa for a unique stay experience. Check out these hotels and resorts when planning your trip – 

  • Fariyas Resorts
  • The Machan
  • The Dukes Retreat 
  • Meritas Countryside Resort 
  • The Bark – An Art Resort 
  • Della Resort 
  • The Lagoona Resort 

Witness the beauty of Lonavala by booking a car rental to take you to all these places with a local driver. Install Savaari cab booking app for offers and discounts on outstation rentals.

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Lonavala: The City of Caves | A Complete Travel Guide
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Lonavala: The City of Caves | A Complete Travel Guide
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Lonavala is the most popular mountain destination in Maharashtra. It is also the most favourite hilly getaway for travellers from Mumbai and Pune.
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