Lonavla is about 90km away from the city of Mumbai and 65 km away from Pune City. Lonavla is easily accessible by road and by train from both Mumbai and Pune which are one of the nearest locations.
The road is one of the most beautiful ways to reach Lonavla. By Car, one can use the Mumbai Pune Expressway to reach Lonavla. You would have to take an exit at Khandala to get in. The toll is approximately Rs.85 from Mumbai, but taking the Expressway not only reduces the journey time by 1/3rd, but also ensures a smoother ride. Two and three wheelers are not allowed on the expressway. For two wheelers/ three wheelers, and for those who wish to avoid the toll, the other option is to use the old Mumbai Pune road NH4. From Pune, one can again take the NH4 or NH4 and Mumbai Express Highway combination.
By Train: For train travelers, plenty of options exist depending on one's convenience- Intercity Express, Koyna Express, Deccan Express, Indrayani Express etc. Lonavla has it's own railway station and most of the Express trains that cross the Mumbai Pune railway line halt at Lonavla.
By Air: Lohegaon Airport of Pune falls the nearest to Lonavala. Apart from domestic airlines, it is also serviced by a few international carriers. The nearest international airport is at Mumbai.
Places To See
Rajmachi Point is located about 6.5 km from Lonavla. It falls on the way from Mumbai to Lonavla, just before the starting point of the Ghat. This point commands a view of Shivaji's famous fort, Rajmachi (Royal terrakouioce) and the surrounding valley. Regular State Transport buses ply between Rajmachi Point and Lonavla from the State Transport Bus Stand. Further adding to the attraction of Rajmachi Point is Vaghjai Dari, located nearby.
Ryewood Park & Shivaji Udyan
Adding to the lush green surroundings of Lonavala are Ryewood Park and Shivaji Udyan. The stunning gardens are amongst the favorite picnic spots of the children, owing to the soaring trees and spacious open spaces provided by them. The swings set up at the parks further add to their appeal. An ancient Shiva Temple, situated inside one of the parks, is visited by a large number of people every day.
Tiger's Leap also known as Tiger's Point is a cliff-top with a sheer drop of over 650 m, giving an extensive view. Buses are available up to I.N.S. Shivaji and the remaining distance of about 1.6 km has to be covered on foot.
Just around tiger's leap, there is an small waterfall active only during the monsoon. It serves the purpose of relaxing in the water better than Bushy dam, as the force of the fall is higher. Also, after the brief steep descent, the fall becomes a stream with a fair amount of force to go all the way down to the base of the Tiger's Leap. Adventurers can trek down the stream whilst intermittently stepping back on land where the water current is too strong and the fall is steep.
On the way to Tiger's Leap, you would see a small board on the right- Shivlinga (swayambhu). From the road, it looks like just another place to view the deep valleys around Tiger's Leap, but it has some real breathtaking views including the mountain housing the "Shivlinga". Besides, due to the lack of popularity vis-à-vis Tiger's Leap and Bushy Dam, the place offers a quiet and serene view of the Sahyadris. Like most places, there is a small shop to relish hot bhajiyas (an Indian Fried snack) and Cutting Chai. Tea costs about Rs.10 per cup while the snacks would cost about Rs.30-40 per plate. There is a tendency, however, to extract more money from unaware foreign tourists.
Scenic point midway between Bhushi Dam and Amby Valley. Tungarli Lake and Dam This lake and Dam come to life during the Monsoon season, where youth climb the mountain top to the Dam. This dam was built during the British era and features a serene surrounding.
Lonavla Lake is surrounded by natural scenery, about 1.6 km from the town. The lake dries up during the winter months.
Tungarli Lake makes a very popular picnic spot for the residents of Lonavala, Khandala and the neighboring cities. Apart from being a splendid creation of nature, this lake is also a very important source of water for the people of the hill station.
Duke's Nose stands 12 km from Lonavla, clearly visible from the highway while driving towards Mumbai. This landmark in Khandala is popular with hikers. The cliff owes its name to the Duke of Wellington, whose ample nose it resembles.
Karla, located near Lonavla, is a complex of cave shrines built by Buddhist monks around 3rd to 2nd century B.C.
A robust climb of about 11.2 km from Malavali Railway Station takes you to the 'Iron Fort', once a formidable battle-station of Shivaji. The fort commands a view of the surrounding hills and hamlets.
A waterfall near the dam is a popular spot between Lonavla and I.N.S. Shivaji. Buses running on the I.N.S. Shivaji Road stop here.
Celebrity Wax Museum
Another scenic point in the town of Lonavla is Wax Museum founded by Sunil Kandaloor, a 37-year-old wax artist from Kerala. Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Hariharan, Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Mother Teresa, Sai Baba, AR Rahman, Balaji Tambe and Yesudas are among some of the famous personalities one will find at the wax museum in Lonavla.
Another scenic point in the town of Khandala (Bazaar peth), which provides magnificent view of the Rajmachi Fort and the valley. Also the home for the St. Mary's villa.
Valvan Dam has a garden at its foot, and is a popular evening spot 2 km from the town. The dam supplies water to the Khopoli power station at the foothills of the Sahyadris for generating electricity. The Kundali River feeds into the dam's reservoir.
Things To Do
When visiting this place in monsoon, it is fun to get drenched and play in the waterfalls near Tiger's Leap. Bushy Dam is a must visit too- simply sitting on the steps of the dam or on the rocks beneath and enjoying the force of the water is a great experience in itself. In Summer, as most of the lake is dried up, on can trek into the hills or simply walk along the lake's edge.
Things To Buy
Lonavla's name is almost resonant with it's [Chikkis]. People throng in huge numbers to the stores to buy Chikki, Fudges and other savouries of different varieties. In order to savour the good quality, try to go to any of the Maganlal's chikki stores which are spread out throughout Lonavla. Other stores include Purohit's, A-1 Chikki, etc.
What To Eat and Drink
Lonavla is just another hill station in Maharashtra, and one cannot miss the [hot masala chai] or the Vadapav (the indian burger). One should try the hot [bhajiyas]along with masala chai. This is available at any of the major tourist spots. You also get hot corn at almost all of the tourist locations. It is to be noted that while you can get these at most of the hotels as well, nothing can beat the taste of these piping hot snacks served at the roadside.
Drinking is permitted in Lonavla, and there are plenty of wine shops and hotels that serve alcohol. There is a Johnie Walker store `Regal Wines' right in the heart of the marketplace in Lonavla. During Summer, Coconut water can be really refreshing as weather can get too dry and hot.
Hotels And Resorts
There are plenty of hotels available in Lonavla for various budget ranges. Some of the names include: Kumar Resort and Water Park. Room rents range from INR 5000 to INR 15,000. Another name known for quality is Duke's Retreat located on the lower slopes of Khandala. Another option would be Zaras Resort in lonavala. Lonavala is a popular tourist spot in the monsoon and it is advisable to book in advance in case one is planning a trip during the monsoon.