Those living in Mumbai or Pune consider it a blessing indeed that they have the twin hill stations of Lonavla and Khandala almost a hop, skip and jump away. Perched high on the hill ranges that separate the two metro cities, both these places are known for their salubrious climate and the beautiful green cover they flourish during the monsoon.
Lonavla is about 64 kilometers away from Pune and 96 kilometers from Mumbai. Well known for its ‘chikki’ and fudge, it is also an important rail head on the Pune-Mumbai railway line and easily connected by road too with an expressway running through it. Like other hill stations in Maharashtra, here too you will find ‘points’ that offer breathtaking sights of the valley and the hills with tiny villages tucked in the folds. One of the best points, about 6.5 kilometers from Lonavla, is Rajmachi Point which commands a view of Chhatrapati Shivaji’s famous fort, Rajmachi, and the surrounding valley.
For picnics, Ryewood Park is the best place in Lonavla. This is an extensive garden that covers a lot of ground and is full of tall trees. There is an old temple dedicated to Shiva in the park. Another hotspot with tourists is the Valvan Dam which has a garden at its foot. The dam supplies water to the Khopoli power station at the foothills of the Sahyadris for generating electricity. You can also visit Duke’s Nose which is about 12 kilometers from Lonavla. This is popular with hikers and the cliff owes its name to the Duke of Wellington, whose ample nose it resembles.
Tiger’s Leap, also known as Tiger’s Point, is a cliff-top with a sheer drop of over 650 meters, giving an extensive view. Buses are available up to INS Shivaji and the remaining distance of about 1.6 kilometers has to be covered on foot. Just around Tiger’s Leap is a small waterfall active only during the monsoon. It serves the purpose of relaxing in the water better than Bhushi Dam as the force of the fall is higher.