Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Lonavala – A romantic break near Mumbai and Pune
On the western slope of Sahyadri hill at an altitude of 625 meters, former Lanavali in the district of Pune in Maharashtra is currently known popularly as Lonavala. In Sanskrit the meaning of Lonavala is a town surrounded by numerous caves. The small neat and clean Lonavala has a healthy climate. Except during 3 months monsoon period, tourists visit Lonavala round the year due to its unpolluted environment and refreshing climate. However people from Mumbai enjoy week end tours from October to May. The wealthy people from Mumbai have their holiday resorts or country houses here.
How to Reach Lonavala:
On Mumbai/ Neral-Pune railway route, 128 km to the South East of Mumbai CST is Lonavala. The distance of Pune from Lonavala is 64 Km. Lonavala may be reached from Matheran by train via Neral. From Lonavala one may arrive at district HQ Pune by train/bus or taxi in one and half hours and at the capital city Mumbai in three hours. At Khapoli along the Boreghat road share taxis are also available on NH-4. However, accommodation in bus or share taxi from Lonavala is difficult.This article is originally published in Travel India and India Study Channel
Local train services are also available between Lonavala & Pune. Prom Pune one may board 6-30/8-00 am local train or, Pune-Mumbai Decan Express at 7-15 am or Pragati Express of 7-50 am to arrive at Lonavala in about one and half hours. From Lonavala by a hired-auto, one may complete the tour of Karla/ Bhaja/ Lonavala/ Khandala in about 5 hours and at the end of day may return to Pune. Buses also leave from the Railway station every hour for Karla. You can also chose the option of spending the night at Lonavala and on the next day at 8-55 am boarding Sahyadri Express reach Nerla in one and half hours and from Nerla come to Matheran by narrow gauge trains.
What to see at Lonavala:
Pune-Mumbai National Highway is 1 km from railway station. Bus stand is on the National Highway. Most hotels are also around National Highway. Keeping Ryewood Park on the left a little ahead is lake and further ahead is Tiger's Lip hill. The surroundings of 1356.36 meter Vafvan Dam built in 1911- 13 on the right side is also a nice view. A park is also there near the dam, an ideal picnic spot. On the way to the dam see the Kaibalyadham Yoga Ashram. 3 km from the Railway station, there are Tungeriy Lake, Barometer Hill, Bushy Dam and Zoo. Chikki and Cluwda are added attraction of Lonavala. Enjoy the taste of toffee-type chikki sweetmeat made from molasses, sugar and nut from National or Maganlal or Kings outlets. There are also varieties of burfee (a kind of sweet meat) which are of beautiful taste and specialties of Lonavala.
Lonavala is also renowned as a connecting station of Karla.
Sahara India has taken initiative to develop a lake city on an area of 4500 acre here. Cruising 9 km long lake will be by speed boat and introduction of variety of sports entertainment facilities are planned. Sahara will also operate helicopter service from Mumbai to Lonawala.This article is originally published in Travel India and India Study Channel
Hotels at Lonavala:
Pin code-410401, STD code: 02114.
• Hotel Girikunj Ph: 272529
• Hotel Dinesh Plot-l2,C-Ward, Ph: 272561;
• Hotel Matruchhaxa, Ph: 272875,
• Shahani Health Home, Ph: 272784,
• Adarsh Hotel, behind Bus Stand, Ph: 272353
• Hotel Woodlands. Ph:272417
• Highlantl Resort, Mumbai-Pune Rd-I, Ph: 271191
• Hotel Shristi Ph: 24769931
• Fariyas Holiday Resort, Frichley Hill, Ph: 273852
• Hotel Tungarli, Lake Rd-410403, Ph: 272954
• Span Hill Resort. Tungarli, Ph: 273685
• Bifts Hill Retreat, Lonavala, Ph: 273023
• Bijis Kumar Resorts, Ph: 273091. Advance Booking : Pune Ph: 2648639, Mumbai Ph: 26483506
• Hotel Star Regency, Justice Telang Rd-1, Ph: 273331
• Savshanti Holiday Resorts, Ryewood Park, Ph: 21138
• Hotel Anwesa Ph: 25123723
• Hotel Chandralok, near bus stand-1, Ph: 272294
• Hotel Rajdhani, Hotel Dreamland, Hotel Rajkiran, for all these three call Shristi Ph: 24769931
• Valvan Village Resort, Ph: 274112
• Rainbow Retreat, opposite Valvan Dam, M-P Rd-3, Ph: 272128
• MTDC's, Ryewood Retreat, Ryewood Park Ph: 273524; Mumbai Booking Ph: 22870566
Other hotels in Lonavala are:
Hotel Shalunar, Hotel Checking, Hotel Dipak, Hotel Viswa Bharat, Kohinoor Holiday Home, Shamiana Lodge, Anuradha Lodge, Laxmi Lodge, Pintle Lodge. Hotel Regal, Hotel Dhiraj, Hotel Vallerira,Hotel Nagraj, Hotel Swiss Cottage, Lima Den Hotel, Hotel Annapuma. Gawli Wada, Hotel Hart International, Quality Inn, Municipal Rest House, PWD Inspection Bungalow & Siddheswar Dharamshala are also available at Lonavala. .
Food at Lonavala:
There are many hotels for food at Lonavala. On Mumbai—Pune Road for vegetarian dishes Kamath, Plaza Restaurant, Lonavala Restaurant, Gurukripa and in the market area, Plaza, Gulistan, Hotel Dhiraj are quite popular. Chandralok at Shivaji Road is renowned for Gujarati thali meal. Dhiraj is also well known for its fast food and icecream. Punjabi dishes are available in hotels adjoining Kamath. For Chinese, Mughlai. Continental dishes and Parsi menu Hotel New Taj is safe bet.
This article is originally published in Travel India and India Study Channel