12 Must see places to visit in Lonavala for a day trip:Complete tour guide


Lonavala is a famous hill station that is sandwiched between two major metropolitans of Maharashtra i.e Pune and Mumbai. Situated on the Sahyadri range of the Western ghats,it is a paradise for nature lovers.Picturesque green valleys, hills crowned with misty clouds , spectacular waterfalls, and cool refreshing breeze from the valley make the place a perfect weekend getaway both from Pune and Mumbai. Located at a distance of 65km from Pune and 96 Km from Mumbai, it has great accessibility by road and train offering great scenic beauty on the way with glimpses of waterfalls and hills.
Lonavala is filled with places to visit for a one-day trip from historic caves to gushing waterfalls to camping sites to trekking trails to romantic hilltops,to adventure activities,Lonavala has a bit to offer for everyone. For monsoon lovers, it’s bliss as the place is lush green with clouds all over and the cool breeze taking over you.5 km from here is the famous Khandala which is equally beautiful and filled with natural sceneries.

History of Lonavla

Lonavala

The term Lonavala is derived from Leni and avail in the Prakrit language which means a series of places carved out of stone. Lonavala has a history of the Yadava dynasty followed by the Mughal rule.The forts from the Maratha empire still stand firm testimony to a great history with rich and diverse culture.
The place Lonavala and Khandala were discovered together by the then governor of Bombay Presidency Lord Elphinstone.

How to reach Lonavala by Road and Train?

By Road
It is one of the most chosen ways to reach Lonavala as the route is quite beautiful and totally sets the mood for the destination.
From Mumbai(96KM): One can take the Mumbai-Pune expressway to reach here, you would have a toll of Rs 200 in between but the traffic is reduced to one third as two wheelers and three wheelers are not allowed.For people who want to skip the toll or two/three wheelers one can use the Old Mumbai Pune road NH4. It would take around 1 hour 40 minutes to reach Lonavala from Mumbai.
From Pune(65Km): You can use the NH4 and Mumbai Pune expressway combination to reach here .It would take around 1 hour 15 minutes to reach here.
By Train

It is one of the cheapest ways to reach Lonavala .There are direct trains , intercities.It would take an hour to reach from Pune, while from Mumbai it takes a little over 2 hours to reach Lonavala. There are plenty of trains from both the destinations and frequently available.
Local taxies ,cabs,busses and tour-operated booked cars are easily available to reach here as well.The average cost ranges around Rs1500 from Pune and around Rs 2200 to reach from Mumbai.
By Air
The closest airport is Pune International Airport at Lohegaon from where you can easily take a taxi to reach here.

What is Lonavala known for?

Lonavala chikki

Lonavala apart from its magnanimous beauty is also known for its production of chikki a sweet candy, confection made from jaggery, ground nuts and ghee originally known as Guddani.The story is that it was initially produced at a local shop by a person called Bhimraj Agarwal and around 100 years back when the railway lines were being laid across Lonavala’s mountainous terrain,he began selling it to the workers over there as a source of energy.This is how the age old chikki manufacturers were established.Later railway authorities started selling it to passengers traveling from Lonavala to Mumbai.
Mumbai is a major market for chikki with over 70% of the production being sold there.Keeping up with the Health trends that Mumbai is witnessing sugar-free chikki is the latest offering from the chikki vendors in Lonavala.

12 best places near Lonavala for a one day picnic

1. Tiger’s Leap Point/Lion’s point/Thumbs up point

Tiger point is mesmerizing sightseeing spot in Lonavala which offers beautiful views of hills and plateaus.Its a cliff top with a sheer drop of 650 m offering a wide-angle view of the hills
If you like exploring the hills check out my journey to Hartola,a small hill station in Uttrakhand
History
The place Tiger’s leap point comes under the naval command of INS SHIVAJI and is not open to civilians,but however the closer by place where usually tourist visits is Lion’s point or also known as the thumbs up point.
Location and timing
It is located at a distance of 12 km from the Lonavala railway station situated at Kurvande on the route towards Aamby Valley from Lonavala. You can get local busses till INS Shivaji from where it is a walk of around 1.6 Km.One can visit the scenic spot from 7a.m to 7p.m.
What is special /Why should you visit the place
The sight is known for some amazing sunrise and sunset views along with the whole panoramic splendid valley view. There are two geographically unique features about the place.
Thumbs up point:The hill resembles a human thumb in a thumbs up position,hence many also call it the thumbs up point.
Lions point: Opposite to the thumbs up point is the lion’s point, a hill that features a lion sitting in a sphinx position with the two paws below it.
Things to carry :One can take some snacks and water if you don’t want to purchase from local street sellers over there.
Best time to visit: Monsoons would be the best time to visit as the hills are swarmed with small clouds and you could see waterfalls at many places falling from the hills.
Entry fee:NA

2.Duke’s Nose

 

At a distance of 12 Km from the Lonavala railway station Duke’s Nose sight point is situated.Also known as Naghphani by the locals, the cliff offers some spectacular views and is a great trekking and rappelling point.
History
Duke’s nose is named after the Duke of Wellington from the British rule owing to its resemblance to a nose in the standing position.Also the name Nagphani amongst the locals, comes from the same shape of a snake hood which it also resembles to.
Location and timings
It is located at a distance of 12km from Lonavala railway station and 10 km from Khandala railway stations closer to INS Shivaji. Timings are from morning 9 a.m to evening 5 p.m.
What is special /Why should you visit the place
The steep height of the cliff makes it a geographical wonder to watch,also at the same time the height makes it a perfect destination for trekking ,rappelling and rock climbing in Lonavala.For trekking you can either take a route from Khandala railway station which would take around 3-4 hours or there is an easy trek from Kuravande which is about two km is a little easy in nature.There is a temple at the top which has some amazing 360degree area views.
For Rappelling the length is around 300 ft and the approx. cost ranges around Rs1600 per adult.
Things to carry: You can carry an extra pair of clothing, sunglasses ,hat,some snacks ,water and camera,trekking shoes,raincover and umberellas.
Best time to visit: Although the place is open round the year but one should avoid in peak monsoon as it rains heavily and the rock becomes slippery.
Entry fee:No entry fee as such for the spot , you can have prebooking for Rapelling and rock climbing agencies.

3. Rajmachi Fort and Kondane Caves

Rajmachi(Udhewadi) a small village in the Sahyadri range of western ghats is famous for its forts and caves.The fort lies towards the top of the village, while one can witness the caves when coming down near the village Kondana.It is a one the famous trekking destinations near Lonavala.
History
Rajmachi fort played an important role in the first Anglo –Maratha war.It is strategically located overlooking the Borghat a historical trade route in Sahyadri mountains.The fort has been declared as a protected monument.
Kondvana caves have a group of 16 Buddhist caves which were excavated in the 16th century B.C.The wooden carvings on the caves are worth noticing.
Location and timings
Rajmachi fort is located near a village called Rajmachi and is around 15Km from Lonavala.Kondane caves are located near another small village called Kondane and are around 33Km from Lonavala towards its north.One can indulge in activities from 9a.m to 5p.m.
What is special /Why should you visit the place

The place consists of twin forts Shriwardhan and Manaranjan, with a wide plateau surrounding the two. It is one the famous trekking destinations near Lonavala.One of the popular and easy route being from Lonavala to Rajmachi is around 15 km mostly plain walk with scenic beauty and takes around 3 ½ hours to reach Rajmachi.The other route which is a little steep is from Kondhane village in Raigad district ,an experience trekker would take around 2 ½ hours to reach Rajmachi.
The caves on the other hand offer exclusive ancient architecture with a thick forest cover in front of them.
Things to carry:Bottle of Water (at least 2 litres),Ready to eat food like plum cakes, dry fruits etc,Cap, Camera,Good Trekking shoes, Rain coat/ Poncho / Windcheater please avoid umbrellas,Personal care stuff, ORS, medicines which you require usually,Put essentials like money, spare clothes in a polythene bag inside the bag
Best time to visit: Round the year
Entry fee:NA

4. Lohagad Fort

Lohagad which means an Iron fort ,is one the many hill forts of Maharastra located close to Lonavala along the Sahyadri mountain ranges.It is one of the world Heritage sites recognised by UNESCO.It is famous for its ancient architecture and one can find beautiful renaissance from the Maratha rule under the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj era.It’s a great amalgam of historic architecture and ancient grace.It also has a trekking route around this fort.
History

The fort has a rich history of many dynasties ruling it over the past from Satavahanas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Yadavas, Bahamanis, Nizams, Mughals and Marathas. The fort was built by Guru Govind Singh in 1564 CE to serve as a prison and later in 1670 AD Shivaji Maharaj captured the fort and used to keep his treasury in the fort.The fort also has many caves towards the south-facing the Lohagwadi region.Currently, the government has declared it as a protected document.
Location and timings
At an elevation of 1033m above the sea level ,Lohagad fort is located at around 11Km from Lonavala towards the northwest side of Pune.It is at a distance of 66 Km from Pune and 114 Km from Mumbai.The fort can be visited between 9a.m to 5 p.m on weekdays.
What is special /Why should you visit the place
The fort has a unique structure which resembles a scorpion’s tail from the top view.Along with this structural uniqueness, the ancient architecture will take you to the times of Maratha rule,it has giant 4 big gates viz Maha Darwaja, Ganesh Darwaja, Hanuman Darwaja and Narayan Darwaja all intact to date.

Trekking at the fort:The fort is also famous as a trekking destination due to its easy accessibility from Mumbai and Pune , the beautiful areal landscape along the trek and being an easy trek for all.Its a 7Km trek from Lohagad with Malavli as the base of the trek and can be covered around in 2 ½ hours.

Things to carry:Bottle of Water (at least 2 litres), dry fruits etc,Cap, Camera,Good Trekking shoes, Rain coat/ Poncho / Windcheater ,personal care stuff, ORS, medicines which you require usually,Put essentials like money, spare clothes in a polythene bag inside the bag
Best time to visit:Open round the year,monsoon season is not advisable for trek but it offers outstanding views.
Entry fee:Rs 40

5.Tikona Fort

Tikona fort also known as Vitandgad is another famous hill fort in Konkan’s Pawan Maval region.It is located in Kamshet around 25km from Lonavala.It is a popular destination among tourists for trekking and sightseeing for a day trip.The fort at an altitude of 3500ft lies on a hill whose shape is like a triangle ,hence the name Tikona fort.
History
The history goes back to the seventh-eight century A.D when Nizam Shahi dynasty conquered the fort and annexed it to the Nizam territory in 1585.Later in 1657 it was conquered by Shivaji Maharaj along with other forts of Karnala, Lohgad, Mahuli, Songad, Tala, and Visapur. This fort was a strategic nexus: the center of control for the entire Pawana Mawal region.

Location and timings
It is located at a distance of 25Km from Lonavala ,53Km from Pune, and 140 Km from Mumbai.
What is special /Why should you visit the place
The fort is beautifully built with large fortifications, seven water tanks filled with crystal clear water, large
doorways, and spectacular surrounding views from the fort .There is also the presence of Buddhist and Satavahana Caves within the fort.It offers an easy trek to the hilltop that takes around 1 ½ hour starting from the Tikona Peth village.It is a great destination to plan a one-day weekend getaway trip.

On the way to the top, there is a cave followed by a statue of lord hanuman. The path adjacent to the cave leads to the entrance to the bastion. One needs to climb 100 stairs to reach the top which are pretty steep from here. The steps are split into 2 sections. A rope with bolts is fixed which gives support while climbing. From top of the fort, one can have a view of adjacent Tung Fort, Pawna dam, Lohagad Fort and Visapur Fort.
Things to carry:Bottle of Water ,Good Trekking shoes, Rain coat/ Poncho / Windcheater ,some snacks
Best time to visit: Open round the year

6. Pawna Lake

Situated at the outskirts of Lonavala around 25km from there,it is an artificial lake formed by the water of Pawna Dam across the Pawna river.The dam is surrounded by hills and forts such as Lohagad, Tikona and Tung which offer spectacular views at the sunset and sunrise. Its popularity as a camping and picnic site is constantly growing.
History
Under the project Pavana Dam in Maval taluka this reservoir was developed.there was a good amount of backwaters collected from the Pavana dam which slowly developed into a reservoir and came to be known as Pawna lake.
Location and timings
It is located at a distance of 25 Km from Lonavala and in closeby proximity to forts such as Lohagad, Tikona and Tung.
What is special /Why should you visit the place

Off late it has developed as great weekend getaway near Lonavala and a good amount of visitors pay visits during the weekends for picnic,camping and sight-seeing.The spectacular views of the forthills nearby enclosed with greenery around makes a scenic view during the sunset and sunrise.
Best time to visit:Open round the year
Entry fee:Rs 50

7.Bhusi dam

Bhusi dam is another famous water spot near Lonavala whose popularity make hundreds of visitors swarm its doorstep.It is a masonry dam(built from brick,stone and mortar) built on the Indrayani River in Lonavala, Maharashtra.Its a favorite tourist spot during the monsoon season and is flooded with visitors during the weekends.
History
The dam was built in the late 1860s for the Great Indian Peninsular Railway as a source of water for their steam engines.As of 2014 it is owned by the Central Railway zone of the Indian Railways. It is the source of water supply to Lonavala and Khandala . In 2014 Indian railways developed a plan to convert it to a tourist spot with participation from the private sectors.

Location and timings
Its at a distance of 6Km from Lonavala railway station on route to Tiger point .It is open to be visited during 9a.m to 3p.m.
What is special /Why should you visit the place
On the opposite side of the dam steps are created and when the dam water overflows it trickles down the stairs making it look like a waterfall.It is one of the most visited destinations during the monsoon season in Lonavala.As the water from the dam overflows huge amount of visitors crowd themselves on the stairs amidst the cool water flow from the dam.During weekends it sometimes becomes so crowded that is even difficult to find a good spot.The dam is used to generate power from suppliers like Tata power.
Things to carry:Spare clothing,towel,raincoat,water,safety bag to keep essential.
Best time to visit: Monsoon season
Entry fee:NA

8. Valvan Dam

Valvan Dam is another tourist place that provides lush green scenic beauty around the dam making it a perfect evening outing destination.At a distance of 5 Km from Lonavla railway station this dam is a gravity dam(the constituent material use their weight to resist water force)built on the river Indrayani.
History
The dam initially was built by Tata power with the motive to provide power supply to the nearby villages in Lonavala and Khandala.Slowly the water in the reservoir took shape of an artificial lake and came to be known as Valvan lake.The dam today supplies water to the nearby Khopoli Power Plant.
Location and timings
The valvan Dam is situated in a village called Valvan near Lonavala in Pune district of Maharastra.It is situated at a distance of 5 Km from Lonavala railway station.You can visit the location from 9a.m to 5p.m
What is special /Why should you visit the place


One can visit here for a peaceful evening or morning outing with a lush green garden surrounding amplifying the serenity of the place.Some often come to relish their Photography skills in the beautiful scenic views available here.The music from gentle waves combined with greenery from the well maintained garden around creates a perfect ecosystem for nature and peace lovers.
Things to carry:It’s a normal outing destination,no specific requirements( picnic or outing essentials)
Best time to visit:Round the year
Entry fee:NA

9.Kune Waterfalls

Located on old Pune Mumbai highway sandwiched between the valleys of Lonavala and Khandala,Kune Waterfall is a perfect retreat from nature one can’t miss to mention.It is 14th highest waterfall of India with a height of 200 metres (660 ft); the highest drop being 100 metres (330 ft).The monsoon season brings life to the waterfall and it becomes an inevitable stop for any Lonavala visitor.
Location and timings
Located at 3.5Km from Lonavala and 2 km from Khandala it is located in Kune village of Pune district.There’s a church called kune church close by to the waterfall which can be reached as a landmark from where it’s some minutes walk away.The waterfall is a natural one and open to visit anytime.
What is special /Why should you visit the place

Kune waterfall is a three-tiered waterfall with a stunning picturesque setting .The lush greenery around the fall is brought to life during the monsoon season when the waterfall gushes in full might and the buzz is enchanting to the ears.One can enjoy the refreshingly cool fall by bathing and swimming in the pool below.
Apart from this there are opportunities for many other adventure activities like rappelling ,trekking,camping in the vicinity.Rappelling length is available for 80meters and one can choose to trek nearby place which provides many beautiful trails that can be completed in 2 to 3 hours of time.
Things to carry:swimming essentials,good shoes,snacks,drinking water
Best time to visit:Monsoon season(October to May)
Entry fee:NA
The waterfall is visible from quite a distance in the area and one can find the waterfall running even after a month of last rain period.

10.Canyon Valley Waterfall trek

Canyon Valley is the perfect destination for a one day trip lying between Lonavala and Khandala.It is valley from Khandala to Karjat and is built on the Ulhas river.The waterfalls here are one of the best in the Sahyadri range hills.The height of the waterfall is about 320ft.Its is a highly popular destination among adventure enthusiasts and trekkers
Location
The valley starts from Khandala all the way to Karjat.You will have to reach to Ambethan ,park your vehicle (no official parking)and take a road to reach Social Welfare centre which is the starting point of the trek.
What is special /Why should you visit the place
The special part of the trek is that it is not a regular trek unlike other trek the trek would start with a descend and towards the end you would need to climb.The trek is completely adventurous as it will take you through forest, rocky hills,you’ll find small ponds in between and finally, the trek ends at the waterfall.You would get glimpses of the whole valley in between of the trek.
Note:Though it’s a moderate level trek it would require good amount of energy due to its terrain and the return of the trek is also not easy.
Things to carry:swimming essentials,good shoes,snacks,drinking water(2ltr), Electoral / Energy powder, 2 lemons, some snacks,lunch,torch with extra batteries, Odomos or any skin suitable ointment to save from insects,personal medicines

Best time to visit:Nov to Feb,you can also go in summers but it is vey hot and you would hydrate a lot,rainy season is not advisable.

11.Bhaja Caves

Located at a distance of 15 Km from Lonavala, Bhaja caves are one of the popular Buddhist caves of Hinayana faith in Maharashtra. It is a collection of 22 rock-cut Hinayana Buddhist caves that were built in the second century BC.It takes you to a antient period witnessing its architecture,making,material,sculpture, inscription and much more.
History

Bhaja caves are a group of 22 caves dating back to 2nd century B.C.Lying above the Bhaja village these caves fall on an important ancient trade route running from the Arabian Sea eastward into the Deccan Plateau.The stupas are an important feature of ancient architecture that attracts many tourists.
Location and timing

It is located at a distance of 15 Km Lonavala ,70 Km from Pune.These caves are located 400 ft above the village Bhaja.It can be visited from 9a.m to 5p.m
What is special /Why should you visit the place

These caves are majestic ,quiet filled with ancient architecture and inscriptions that will make you stare at them for long.Big doorways,pillars,halls, descriptions of gods on the wall and the stupas will take you to the ancient era.Cave vi,ix,xii and xiii are must-visits famous for their vihara houses, animal structures,prayer halls etc.
Things to carry: drinking water, some snacks,shops are there closeby which offer eateries.
Best time to visit :Round the year
Entry fee:Rs15 per person.

12.Kalra caves

Kalra caves also known as Karli Caves,Karle Caves they are part of complex Buddhist Indian rock-cut caves at Karli near Lonavala, Maharashtra.It is another famous tourist destination that visitor club with Bhaja caves ,Bedse caves as they fall in proximity.
History

These caves were developed from 2nd century BC to 5th century BC.Many traders and rulers from that period made contributions for its construction.These caves falling between trade routes of the Arabian sea and Deccan had important significance amongst traders of that time and often provided accommodation to fellow traders.
Location
Located at around11 Km from Lonavala and 60Km from Pune these caves have been excavated from the Sahyadri hills and the route goes through rocky hills .
What is special /Why should you visit the place
The caves have unique ancient architecture and formation.One of the caves which is the most famous here is the “Grand Chaitya” (Cave 8), which is the largest and most completely preserved chaitya hall of the period, as well as containing amazing quantities of fine sculpture, mostly large in scale.
Things to carry: drinking water, some snacks,shops are there closeby which offer eateries.
Best time to visit :Round the year
Entry fee:Rs15 per person.

Most popular things to visit in Lonavala with kids

There are many great places where you can be with your kids around Lonavala and they are gonna surely have an amazing outing and experience.

1.Sunil’s Celebrity Wax Museum


At a distance of 1 km from Lonavala this is a great option to be with kids .It has wax statues of many national and international celebrities.
Entry Fee: Rs. 100 for Adults and Rs. 75 for Children above 5 years.
Timings: 9 AM to 9 PM, closed on National Holidays

2.Dinosaurs Park


Activity Location: Aundholi, Lonavala.
Entry Fee: Rs. 250 per head
Activity Timings: 9 hours; Open from 10:00 A.M. – 7:00 P.M.

3.Della Adventure Park


Activities:India’s longest Flying fox,dirt biking,Rocket ejector,Swoop swing,over 50 adventure activities
Complete accomadation,recreation,restaurants,shopping facility available
Entry Fee: There are passess ranging from Rs1500 to Rs5500
Timings: 10a.m to 9p.m

4.Wet N Joy Water Park



There are a variety of family thrill rides and high thrill rides one can take
Activity Location: Old Pune Mumbai Highway NH-4
Entry Fee: Rs. 899- Rs1099
Activity Timings: Open from 10:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.
If you are a water sports enthusiasts read about Underwater Sea walking,a water activity u wouldn’t have heard of

5.Magic Mountain(Amusement Park)


Activity Location: Located from 12Km from Lonavala
Entry Fee: Rs. 899- Rs1099
Activity Timings: Open from 10:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.

6.Miniature World Museum


Activity Location: Old Mumbai-Pune Highway, Near Mansakti Kendra, Varsoli
Entry Fee: Rs 100 per person
Activity Timings: 10 am to 8 pm

What is the best route to go to Lonavala on a bike?

From Pune
Two wheelers are not allowed on the Mumbai Pune expressway,hence one has to take Old Pune Mumbai Highway NH-4
From Mumbai
Mumbai – Panvel – Khopoli – Khandala Ghat – Lonavala.
From both the places ride is amazingly beautiful with splendid views along the route

Best places to eat lunch in Lonavala

1.German Bakery


Location:Wunderbar
2.Golden Wada Pav


Location: Gawliwada, Rao Colony,
3.The Oven


Location: Aundholi
4.Buchi Misal


Location: behind Fariya’s Resort, Arsiwalla Villa, Lonavla
5.The Kinara Village Dhaba


Location: Old Mumbai-Pune Highway

Some famous Nightclubs and bars in Lonavala


1.Silver Lining
2.High Point Bar
3.Scream Nightclub
4.Volcano Club
5.Tavern Bar

Best shopping destinaions in Lonavala

1.Lonavala Square Mall


Location:Old Mumbai – Pune Hwy, Gautam Park Society, Lonavala
2.National Chikki Mart Pvt Ltd


Location:Siddharth Nagar, Lonavala
3.Lonavala Bazaar


Location:Nangargaon, Lonavala
4.Triose Plaza


Location:Shivaji Road, Ryewoods, Lonavala
5.Gugale Purse Factory


Location: Ajubaba Colony, St.Stanislaus Villa, Khandala, Lonavala


Hope you found the information insightful. Do leave your comments below on how you found 12 Must see places to visit in Lonavala for a one day trip:Complete tour guide”

Also would love to know what excites you more an informational place like A)Historical forts or a fun place like B)dams & lakes? let me know in the comments section 🙂 .

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