Dotted along the hillside are the famous caves and forts of Shivaji's Maratha kingdom. Deep valleys and a thick forest surround the imposing Rajmachi Fort. Other equally impressive forts are the Manoranjan Fort, Shrivardhan fort, Visapur Fort, Lohagad Fort and the Tunga Fort with arsenals and guardhouses.
A special attraction in Lonavala-Khandala is the three ancient Chaitya Caves dating back 2000 years that were Buddhist prayer halls. Built on a grand scale and splendid in architectural execution, the Karla Caves were a monsoon retreat for Buddhist monks. The smaller Bhaja Caves are built so that the rays of the setting sun gilds the dark interiors and brings to life the carved gods and goddesses. The Bedsa Caves are close to the Mumbai Pune Road near Kamshet.
Placid water bodies and silver cascades add their charm to Lonavala-Khandala. Walk around the Pavna Lake, Lonavala Lake, Tungarli Lake, Valvan Lake on the Valvan Dam and Bushi Lake. From the beautiful Kune Falls the water crashes down 100m to a pool below, a sight visible from the Khandala Ghat. Tiger's Leap is a curiously shaped cliff - a sheer 650 m drop into the valley.
The days will just slip by before you know it, walking, pony riding, browsing through Lonavala's bazaars and feasting on delicious sweet peanut and dry fruit chikki and jams.
|Getting to lonavala & khandala
Khandala is 104 km from Mumbai and 66 km from Pune. The Mumbai-Bangalore National Highway passes through Khandala-Lonavala, winding up the ghats. State roadways buses, private buses, taxis and tour operators have regular services to the resorts (a journey of 3 ½ to 4 hours). Trains from Mumbai Central Station and Pune Junction halt at Khandala and then at Lonavala. Khandala and Lonavala are 5 km away from each other (15 minutes by bus). The best ways to move around are to walk, cycle, or take a taxi or auto-rickshaw. Cars can be rented for the day from Lonavala.
|Best time to visit
You can come here any time of the year, especially in winter, from October to April. Summer temperatures reach a maximum of 36° C and touch minimum temperatures of 12° C in winter. Bring light woolens for winter and cotton clothes for summer.
Besides the middle budget MTDC resorts at Karla and Lonavala, there are numerous accommodation options to suit all budgets. You might prefer staying at Khandala, which is quieter and less crowded than Lonavala.