After our Baramati visit, we came back to pune and had 3 days in hand. It was amazing to know about plenty of weekend destinations around Pune, but it made difficult for us to decide on 1-2 of the destinations we could plan for. A day trip to Lonavala & Khandala was something that we planned on day one. This Photo Journey shares more about this one-day road-trip to Lonavala & Khandala from Pune.
When we were deciding one-day destinations around Pune, we had a very long list and with time, it was getting difficult to decide. We hadn't enough time to go through blogs and decide the best options as per our taste of travel. Lonavala was most familiar name in the list and it was easily approachable through Pune-Mumbai highway. So we chose to drive to Lonavala and explore this part of Maharashtra state. So picked car of our cousin, who stays there in Pune and moved towards Lonavala. We started from Pune and followed Pune-Mumbai highway till the point which tells you to take left for Lonavala. Above photograph shows the exact point where we took this left to hit Lonavala.
Just taking this left from the highway, we stopped at one of the shops to know what exactly is there in Lonavala and where should we go now :). I know that it sounds odd that we were not even sure that what we would be doing in Lonavala. Somehow we had no clue till we talked to the shopkeeper. And the response from other side way - 'There is hardly anything in Lonavala, especially in the month of Feb, During Monsoons you can see hundreds of waterfalls all around the hills of Lonavala'. This was quite disappointing and after a short chit-chat, we were wondering if we should spend more time around this town or drive towards Mumbai. After a quick thought we thought of going towards the hilly part of Lonavala which was 20 kilometers from main town.
After few kilometers of drive, we reached on top of hills which were looking beautiful from Pune-Mumbai highway. These hills of Lonavala was quite different with hundreds of marks of waterfalls, which were inactive during winters.
Soon after we hit a picnic spot called Tiger-Point, which was a typical point which are marketed very well in most of the tourist destinations :)
There was a huge parking space on roadside, with few stalls around the corners, camels and few other things to keep tourists engaged.
We also thought of parking and see what's there. Various groups were sitting around the other side of this parking lot. As we moved towards these groups, we realized that other side of this hill had huge valley full of different elevations making beautiful formations.
This was one of the views from Tiger-point around these hills in Lonavala. Although I am not sure if this part is also considered in Lonavala or not. These views were breathtaking and I had never seen something like this.
Tiger's Point is a cliff-top with a sudden drop of over 700 meters giving an amazing view of relatively lower hills spread over a huge area around Lonavala. It seems that buses for Tiger and Lion points are available to this place from Lonavala town. I also noticed few Auto-Rickshaws coming to this place from main town.
It seems that during Monsoons, the view from Tiger's point is phenomenal with lot of waterfalls. During monsoons, tourists prefer to sit around these waterfalls instead of Bushy dam which comes on the way to Tiger point from Lonavala Town. The place around Bushy dam didn't seem that exciting so we skipped stopping there. One needs to park the car on road-side and need to walks for few minutes to hit Bushy Dam.
Just next to Tiger Point, there is another point called Lion point. I didn't understand of point of these two different tourist spots nearby and didn't even bother to figure out. The only thing on my mind was the location on other side of this hills, the amazing views of gorges all around.
After spending some time around these hills, we planned to drive towards Ambey Valley, which is 20 kilometers away from Tiger Point. When we asked folks at Tiger Point, they described Ambey Valley as a place where you can find big houses and villas of all Bollywood actors and big personalities of India. Since we had some time in hand, we thought of driving till Sahara City in Ambey Valley. I will be sharing a separate Photo Journey from Ambey Valley, which is a city developed by Sahara and has a private Airport as well.
Lonavala is a town and a hill station is part of Pune district only. It takes around 1.5 hrs to reach Lonavala from Pune. It is located around 55 kilometers from Pimple Saudagar part of Pune city. and Mumbai from here is around 90 kilometers away.
Lonavala is known for its production of the hard candy known as chikki and Chocolate fudge. It's one of the major stations on the rail line connecting Mumbai and Pune.
Both the Mumbai-Pune Expressway as well as the Mumbai-Chennai highway pass through Lonavla. We explored both these highways and opted for the other route while going back.
Having tea while travelling is a very special experience and a short conversation with Tea-stal owners makes it special. You get to know a lot about the place, culture and local things. We had few cups of tea and some maggie at this shop which is located around a Shiva temple which comes on the way from Lonavala to Ambey Valley in Maharshtra.
The Journey of our day didn't end here. After a quick drive to Ambey Valley, we moved back to Loanavala Town and then Khandala. I shall be sharing the next part of the Journey in upcoming post.