Lonavla is a town and a hill station Municipal Council in Pune district in the Indian State of Maharashtra. It is about 64 kilometres (40 mi) west of modern-day Pune city and 96 kilometres (60 mi) from the city of Mumbai. It is known for its production of the hard candy chikki and is also a major stop on the railway line connecting Mumbai and Pune. From the Pune suburbs, local trains are available from Pune Junction. Both the Mumbai-Pune Expressway as well as the Mumbai-Chennai highway pass through Lonavla.
Lonavla is also home to INS Shivaji (formerly HMIS Shivaji) which is the Indian Navy’s Premier Technical Training Institute. The house of Trivandrum based Asianet TV channel’s hit Realty show Bigg Boss Malayalam 1 is set up within an unknown estate in Lonavla.
Best Places of Tourist Interest:
Tiger’s Point also known as Tiger’s Leap is a cliff-top with a sheer drop of over 650 m, giving an extensive view. Buses are available up to INS Shivaji and the remaining distance of about 1.6 km has to be covered on foot. Legend has it that while being chased by a tiger once, the maratha king Shivaji jumped into a ditch on the hill and the tiger leaped off it into the valley giving it the name of tiger’s leap.
Just around tiger’s leap, there is a 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.
This Point is located on the way to Mumbai from Pune, just before the starting point of the ghat, which is 6.5 km from Lonavala. Located 10 km away from Lonavala, the Rajmachi Fort has deep valleys on three sides with dense jungles on the fourth. Shrivardhan and Manoranjan are two small forts located close to this historical monument.
Lohagad Fort (Iron Fort):
Fort is located 10 km away from Lonavala, along the Sahyadri region, which divides the Pavna basin and Indrayani basin. The three gates of the fort are connected to the main entrance gate, known as the ‘Delhi Gate’. At the third gate, there is a small cave, which was initially used for storage of food material. All the four gates of the fort are still intact.
Valvan Lake :
It is an artificial lake near the Valvan Dam. Built across the Kundali River, the Valvan Dam reservoir is the source of water for the Khopali power station. This site has a beautiful garden, which is surrounded by numerous food courts. The place is most visited from November through February. The site is located in Valvan village, about 2 km away from Lonavla market, close to the fish-breeding centre.
Lonavla Lake :
Lonavla Lake is surrounded by natural scenery, about 1.6 km from the town. The lake dries up during the winter and summer months offering an expanse of green grass which is used by walkers and joggers. This place attracts tourists for its street food, including convenience food items like smoked corn on the cob, shaved ice (gola), vada pav, chaat, and hot ginger tea.
Karla Caves :
Karla caves, located near Lonavla, is a complex of cave shrines built by Buddhist monks around 3rd to 2nd century B.C. A temple of Goddess Ekvira Devi is also present here.
Visapur Fort :
Adjacent to the Lohagad fort lies the visapur fort which is part of the Lohagad-Visapur fortification. Visapur Fort is larger and at a higher elevation than its twin- Lohagad. It was built during 1713-1720 CE by Balaji Vishwanath.
Lion Point :
This is a viewpoint midway between Bhushi Dam and Aamby Valley which overlooks a deep valley and mountains known for its roasted corn and onion fritters. This point does not have any lions but is named so because it is associated with the Lions Club of Lonavala.
Narayani Dham :
Narayani Dham is a temple constructed in 2002 in honor of the Hindu Goddess Narayani . It is at a distance of 2 km from the Lonavla Railway Station. The temple has idols of Durga Mata, Salasar Balaji (Hanuman) and Ganpati housed in a marble structure.
Shooting Point :
Another viewpoint in the town of Khandala (Bazaar peth), provides views of the Rajmachi Fort and the valley. Also the home for the St. Mary’s villa.
Seven villas :
One of the most iconic plots in Lonavala, seven Villas is an iconic landmark of the new developing Lonavala.
How to Reach :
Lonavla is on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and is well-connected to several towns of Khopoli, Karjat, Talegaon Dabhade, etc.
Lonavla is well-connected by train. Local trains run from Pune at 2 hour intervals. Those originating from Mumbai along the central line have Khopoli as their last station. Buses are available at regular intervals to complete the remaining 15 km of the journey to Lonavla from Khopoli bus station. It takes 2.5 hours by train from Mumbai and 1 to 1.5 hour from Pune. All trains, travelling between Mumbai and Pune, halt at Lonavla. Trains from Mumbai halt at Karjat to attach banker locomotives before the train starts journey up the western ghats to reach Lonavla.
Lonavla does not have an airport, though the Indian Air Force station Troppo is situated on the way to Aamby Valley City. The city of Aamby Valley has its own private airport. The nearest commercial airports are Pune International Airport at 64 km and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at 104 km. A seaplane service is also available between Juhu and Pawana Dam, which is 14 km away from Lonavla.
Distance of a few Major Towns from Lonavla:
Pune – 64 km, Mumbai- 89 km.
Additional Things to do in Lonavla:
Lakeshore Water sport, Adventure Sports, Nature Trails, Game Arcade etc.
Shopping Areas & Entertainment:
Lonavla is famous for flavored chikki, dry fruits, Indian sweet meats, and Shoe corner.
Best time to Visit:
Monsoon (June to September) & September to March is the best time to visit.
Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi, Navaratri and Diwali are some of the important festivals.