Lonavala is a tourist destination that offers serenity to its tourists and is the perfect retreat from regular life. The destination lies in Maharashtra and is quite the opposite of what you would expect to see in metropolitans like Mumbai and Pune. There are a lot of best places to visit in Lonavala that will make your stay truly memorable.
Lonavala is a small town and hill station near Mumbai & Pune. It has quite a few natural spots to indulge in adrenaline rushing activities and peaceful getaways as well. Without a doubt, many tourist hotspots must be visited, but we have narrowed the list down to the absolute best of the best spots for sightseeing.
Most Popular Places To Visit in Lonavala
Best Places To Visit in Lonavala for History Buffs
The Karla Caves are a relic of an era long gone. The caves demonstrate the extraordinary skills of old masters and have very distinct architecture. They have carvings with inscriptions and stories which date back to the 2nd century BC. They represent the beliefs and scriptures of the Hinayana sect of Buddhism. The perfect use of wooden structures makes the caves even more admirable.
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The horseshoe-shaped entrance of the Bhaja caves is noteworthy and serves as the entrance to the Chaityagruha, which is the main hall of the caves. The Karla caves are a mix of Mahasamghika sect of Buddhism and Hinduism. The caves also have a temple of the Goddess Ekveera Devi. It is one of the best places to visit in Lonavala for all history buffs. The Karla caves are a historically rich place indeed and are one of the famous tourist attractions of Lonavala.
It is another excellent place to visit if you happen to visit Lonavala. The Lohagad Fort is just 10kms away from Lonavala and is located along the Sahyadri region which divides the Pavna basin and Indrayani basin. Also known as the Iron Fort, this site was built way back in 1564 to serve as a prison. Shivaji Maharaj, later on, captured it in 1670. The fort has three gates which are all connected to the main entrance gate, also known as Delhi Gate. There lies a small cave at the third gate which was used to store food material.
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All four gates of the fort are intact, and the fort is located at an altitude of more than 1050 meters. The hill fort bears the shape of fangs of a scorpion. Other structures such as the step well and big tank were added later on in the 18th century. The Lohagad Fort is an architectural, archeological and historical landmark which offers aerial views of the Karla and Bhaja caves. The fort can be easily reached by merely hopping onto a local train that operates between Pune and Lonavala.
The Bedse Caves are located at a distance of 26 km from Lonavala Railway Station. The caves are very ancient and date back to around 2300 years. These are Buddhist monuments and are one of the oldest caves in Maharashtra. The Bedse Caves are one of the major tourist attractions in Lonavala and complete the trio of caves along with the Karla and Bhaja caves.
The caves represent the Buddhist style of carvings, and the two main caves are the Chaitya and Vihara. There also lies a beautiful stupa in the Chaitya hall. The cave has four pillars which are 25 feet high and support a ribbed roof. The posts are embellished with carvings of elephants, horses, and bulls.
The caves are at a 30-minute walking distance from the Bedse village. The best time to visit the caves is during the rainy season as lush greenery can be seen around the hills during this time.
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This fort is situated at 24kms from Lonavala. The Tung Fort is an ancient hill fort which lies near the Pawna dam in Pune district. The fort lies at an altitude of 1075 meters and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Lonavala. The fort is also known as the Kathingad fort. The fortress is infamous for the challenge it offers to climbers while climbing up to it.
The conically shaped fort comprises of fortified walls, Ramparts, and several bastions. One can reach the base village Tungi from Pawna Dam by boat. The tourist will then have to climb 400 meters up to the fort which usually takes an hour to reach.
The Korigad Fort offers solitude to its visitors since it was constructed on an isolated hill in the Abavane village. The spot is located around 24 km away from Lonavala. There is archaeological evidence which suggests that Shivaji Maharaj built the fort in 1657. The fort is situated at the height of 3049 feet above sea level. A few freshwater ponds and caves can be found within the fort, and they showcase the lifestyle of the royals of the ancient era.
The Fort has two entrance gateways. The first one comprises of 100 steps which reach up to the Ganesh Temple and other small caves while leading to the top of the hill. The second entrance gateway offers the shortest route to climb the fort. The visitor has to walk through dense jungles, bamboo trees, and small steps.
The destination is ideal for trekking activities, and the top of the fort can be reached after an hour’s trekking. The head of the fort offers tourists an aerial view of the Nagphanj Point, Amby Valley and Tung Fort among other surrounding hilly terrains.
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Popular Places To Visit in Lonavala for All Nature Lovers
Tiger’s Leap/Tiger’s Point
Travelers who are into natural landscapes should visit the Tiger’s Leap. This tourist spot is located close to INS Shivaji. This point is at the height of over 650meters and resembles the form of a leaping tiger, therefore the name. There is a small waterfall close to the site, and it flows only during the monsoon months. Tourists come out here to undertake adventurous activities such as rafting and trekking. It is one of the best places to visit in Lonavala for all nature lovers.
The site has safe spots for viewing the valley and its surrounding areas. To travel to Tiger’s Point, take a bus up to I.N.S. Shivaji base. The distance from the I.N.S. Shivaji base to the point is at a walking distance of 1.6km only.
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The Rajmachi Point lies on the way between Mumbai and Pune. It is situated before the starting point of the ghat which is 6.5kms from Lonavala. The Rajmachi Royal Terrace Fort lies opposite to the point, and the Vaghjai Dari is located near the site as well. Rajmachi Fort is located 10 km away from, and the tourist spot has deep valleys on three sides and dense jungle on the fourth side. Two other forts namely Shrivardhan and Manoranjan are located very close to Rajmachi Point.
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To reach Rajmachi Point, tourists can take a ride on any state transport bus which operates from the state transport bus stand in Lonavala. The distance between the Rajmachi Point and the Rajmachi Fort can be covered on foot.
Lonavala Lake is located 1.6kms away, in the outskirts of the town. It was constructed in the year 1876, and the water in the lake is sourced from the river Indrayani. It is popularly known as the monsoon lake since it is filled with fresh water during the monsoon months and dries up during the winter season.
A variety of species of birds and fauna can be spotted along the banks of the lake. Visitors come here to enjoy holidays and excursions and undertake activities such as swimming and nature viewing.
Lion’s Point is well known for being the most stunning sunset spot. The spot is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Lonavala. Since it is perched on a cliff, the place offers breathtaking sunset views. Lion’s Point is definitely on the list of places to visit in Lonavala during the rainy season.
The site provides activities such as evening and night trekking and is one of the best places for night adventure lovers. One can also enjoy the camel ride near Lion’s Point, and the location is ideal for nature seekers, mountaineers, photographers and friend’s groups.
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The lake is an artificial one which is surrounded by breathtaking beauty. It is formed by the dam built across the Pawna river. The spot is an excellent place for picnics and is ideal for photographers due to its scenic beauty and is also a perfect destination for shooting pre-wedding shots at low budget. The road leading to the lake offers a serene and joyful drive with greenery on both sides of the way.
Pawna Lake is located 11km away from Lonavala and is one of the most underrated tourist spots in and around the place. If you are a nature lover and want some peace for a day or two, then think no more because this spot awaits you. Pack a sumptuous lunch and carry a few books and board games and you are ready for a beautiful day ahead. Best time to visit Pawna Lake is during the winter or rainy season.
The Kune Falls fall from a height of 650 feet and are the 14th highest waterfall in India. It lies between the twin hills of Lonavala and Khandala and is a visual delight for its tourists. The abundant greenery that is found around the waterfall is nothing short of breathtaking.
The three-tiered Kune Falls is excellent all year round but the best time to visit the waterfall is during the monsoon season. It is in the monsoon when the fall’s scenic beauty truly blossoms.
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Other Popular Places To Visit in Lonavala
Narayani Dham Temple
The temple is located in Dhankawadi and is dedicated to Ma Narayani. It is a relatively new temple and was built in 2002. The shrine is constructed with white marble and is a sight to see.
It is quite a favorite tourist spot, and the four-storeyed temple houses idols of Hanuman, Ganpathi and many other deities who are decked up in dazzling ornaments and apparel.
Della Adventure Park is located between Mumbai and Pune and is spread across 36 acres of land. It is India’s largest adventure park and is also a corporate outbound training destination. The park has more than 86 adventure activities which include India’s most extensive Flying Fox zip line at 1,250 feet. The park also has the country’s highest Rocket Ejector at 4 ½ floors high.
People who are into dirt-bike racing can have a blast on the permanent public racing track. Each of the activities mentioned above is bound to give you and your family/friends adrenaline rush like never before. On the other hand, if you like more chilled out sports, then the adventure park has the most professional hardball bowling machine on an astroturf cricket pitch. People who love rappelling can enjoy the four-lane night rappelling as well.
Karnala Bird Sanctuary
The famous Karnala Bird Sanctuary is situated at 56 km from Lonavala. It lies in the Panvel Taluk of Rajgad district of Maharashtra and is a highlight destination for picnic spots near Lonavala. Karnala is the first ever bird sanctuary in Maharashtra. It spreads across 12.11sq. Km and is situated below the Karnala Fort. The refuge is paradise for true bird lovers and activities such as bird-watching and hiking can be performed out here.
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The sanctuary is home to more than 150 species of resident birds and 37 species of migratory birds. The best time to visit Karnala is in the monsoon season since this is when travelers can spot a wide variety of bird species. The sanctuary comprises of deciduous forests and is quite rich in flora and fauna. People can also head toward the Karnala Fort which is located within the protected region of Karnala Bird Sanctuary. It is one of the most popular places to visit in Lonavala for all wildlife lovers.
Each of the tourist destinations mentioned above has been carefully chosen to visit in and around Lonavala. The list includes a wide variety of places that cater to the interests of different people. The spots cover activities such as bird-watching, picnic spots, adventure activities and so on. So, if you are planning a trip with your loved ones, then make sure you choose one of the destinations mentioned above.
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