Chance visit to the first planned hill station of India - Lavasa || A beautiful & unique place near Pune/Mumbai
Recently we were in Pune for few days and the only agenda was exploring this part of the country. This was my second visit to Maharashtra state and was very excited about the same. After going through different options to explore, we finalized on Lavasa for a day trip. This Photo Journey shares some photographs from India's first planned hill station and some of the interesting facts about it. So join us in this journey to explore something special and different in India.
This visit happened just after our short trip to Four Seasons Vineyard in Baramati. We took 3 extra days to spend some time around Pune and know this region better.
When we were exploring the options around Pune for a day trip or 2 day outing, there were plenty of options contrary to Delhi. All this made our job difficult to finalize places we could explore. Our base was pune and we wanted to make best of each day there. So for one day, we thought of driving to Lavasa from Pune. Above photograph shows the view of Lavasa town in Maharashtra. You see the town something like this after a drive of 55+ kilometers from pune. Road from Pune to Lavasa is average and has some bad patches and has decent hilly terrains. Vibha was driving in hills first time and it was a good experience for her and she thoroughly enjoyed it. I am sure that it was a good learning experience as well.
After a long drive from Pune, you hit a hill-top where main gate to Lavasa town is situated. After this gate, things suddenly change. Road becomes neat with sufficient street-lights throughout, colorful flowers surrounding these roads, toilets, places to sit and what not. Above photograph shows the very first view of Lavasa town from entry gate of the town. It's beyond imagination to see such township in the middle of nothing. There are very small villages around this part of the state and hardly any major development. All this makes Lavasa more special. Surprisingly there were security guards on each turn inside the town and there were plenty of turns on these hills. Not sure if these guards are permanently appointed on these location or it was just for that day, because a women car rally was also happening on same day. This rally also started from Pune and ended in Lavasa. All big brands were on this road on same day.
This town is located around the lake. These colorful apartments are located on the shoreline and all beautiful villas are strategically located on different parts of the surrounding hills with brilliant views of lake and green hills around Lavasa town. There is enough parking space in the town. Vehicles can be parked on one side of the road and there are proper markings. Apart from these covered/paid parking is also available in different buildings around the lake. Initially we felt very uncomfortable in the town because in other Indian cities, you don't see such discipline culture. It was quite unusual to keep track of all sign-boards in the city and act accordingly.
Luxuy of the city was high on our minds and soon after we noticed a chopper roaming around the hills. After a few rounds, it settled on one of the hills. Later we got to know that many of the residents of Lavasa use choppers and private planes to commute to this place from Delhi and other distant town of the country. While going back towards pune, we saw this helipad on the hilltop surrounded by beautiful gardens.
After parking our car we climbed down towards the lake. We descended upon the lively promenade and discovered that it was lined with restaurants offering a variety of cuisines. Most of the options are quite expensive and many were also closed. Some of the popular restaurant chains are present here in Lavasa.
On regular intervals, a musical fountain keeps entertaining visitors. These are huge and perform dance on music. Suddenly people go to the shoreline as fountain starts and whole environment changes for some time.
Lavasa is a private planned city, which is stylistically based on the Italian town Portofino.
There are few adventure sport options available in Lavasa, including lakeshore watersports. One can opt for city tour via tourism buses. We also thought of taking bus tour but we couldn't figure out the way to buy tickets. We went to tourism information center and they asked us to visit Town-hall. And we went to town-hall, they directed us to Tourism Information Centre. This weird. So finally we dropped this idea and thought of driving around the place in our car.
Lot of resources have been used to ensure that water inside the lake is clean and well preserved.
A photograph from Sales office of Lavasa town. We also thought of doing some timepass by looking at the offerings they have in the city. We were really impressed with the options available and the plans of the town. It seems that Lavasa town aims to provide space for .3 million permanent residents. And at the same time offering facilities to take care of 2 million tourists in an year.
While in Lavasa, we though that we should have planned a night stay in Lavasa. I am sure that it would be worth to spend whole day and night to experience the hues of nature & the way this town lit up during night. There are some very good options to stay in Lavasa. Apart from hotels, there are options to book service apartments and it seems that service apartments are quite reasonable. In my opinion, these apartments are good options as they are very close to the lake. Some of the villas on hills are also available on rent. So if someone wants to have more peaceful place to stay, these are definitely better options as compared to the apartments.
After spending few hours at Lavasa town, we thought of heading back before sunset. We wanted to cross the hilly area before it gets too dark. Water in the lake was shining beautifully under sun. This photograph shows extended part of the lake and it seems that similar city is being developed in this stretch as well.
A view of lake from other side. We drove to the opposite side where lot of villas are located. In above photograph you can see roofs of the villas. These villas are located brilliantly with amazing views of the lake and hills. There is lot of green area around this place and I am sure that place would look far better during monsoons. Probably monsoon would be best season to visit Lavasa.
Another photograph with clear view of Lavasa lake from one of the villas on hill top. This view reminded me about the weekend spent at Firdaus, which has also a beautiful view to the lake Naukuchiataal.
This helipad made me thought if I could do some aerial photography here as well :). It's definitely a very different experience to explore such town from the top. Someone told me that Heli-taxi is also available in the town but I couldn't verify this fact. So just sharing for a reference and you to confirm this for us :)
Roads in proximity of Lavsa town are very well maintained.
There is not much to do in Lavasa and if something is available, options are expensive. But it's a highly recommended destination for folks who love to explore something different. Lavasa is unique in India and it's worth a visit. Next time, when I visit Lavasa I will make sure to stay here for a night and leave early in the morning towards konkan beaches. Few more Photo Journeys are planned from Lavasa, so keep looking this space for next few weeks to check out more stuff from this beautiful destination for folks in Pune and Mumbai.