Lonavla-Khandala evokes the memory of eating sweet hard candy chikkis, especially the ones made of groundnuts. A short drive from Mumbai or Pune, city dwellers visits this famous hill station, enjoying the drive, views and sweet chikkis.
Lonavla played a key strategic role for various dynasties in the past which is seen in the form of temples, cave carvings and forts. However, it was lost to the surrounding forests and time. During colonial rule, the governor of the Bombay Presidency, Lord Elphinstone, discovered Lonavla and Khandala in 1871. They were shortly declared as hill stations, an escape from the hot Indian summers. That’s why, today we find several colonial-style bungalows when we walk the streets of Lonavala.
Lonavala is a calling and we are coming
Today, Lonavla-Khandala is frequented by weekend vacationers and has become a popular getaway. The beautiful vistas of the Western Ghats and the cool weather are so welcoming. The yummy chikkis are synonymous with Lonavala and are immortalised in a popular Bollywood song. And much more.
Here are a few activities you can enjoy in the wonderful escape that is Lonavala-Khandala.
- Camp on the banks of the shimmering Pawna Lake or go for a relaxing boat ride on the calm waters.
- Hike to Rajmachi Fort, a key landmark between Lonavala and Khandala to enjoy an exhilarating experience and breathtaking views.
- Marvel at the Maharashtrian architecture of Lohagad, one of the many forts of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. A favourite among visitors.
- Indulge in thrilling water sports at Maval Lake or picnic by the Lonavala Lake that’s on the outskirts of town.
- Explore Karla Caves, the ancient Buddhist cave shrine that houses one of India’s largest Chaityas. The Ekvira Temple is also located within the cave.
- When visiting the Karla Caves, a visit to the Bhaja Caves is also combined. This is a network of 22 rock-cut Buddhist caves with 14 majestic stupas. The Bhaja Caves’ existence is traced to the 2nd century BC.
- Take in the sunset and the view from various points like Tiger Leap, Amrutanjan Point, Lion’s Point and Duke’s Nose
- Explore nature as you undertake the Bhimashankar trek or the Canyon Valley trek
- Picnic at Bushi Dam or the soothing Ryewood Park that’s close to the Lonavala market. A great way to enjoy some local shopping as well.
- A must try: Cooper’s fudge, chocolates and chikkis, something that’s available only in Lonavala.
- Feeling devotional? There are many temples you can visit like the Bhairavnath Temple, Narayani Dham Temple, Ekvira Devi Temple or the Shri Durga Parmeshwari Temple.
- The wax museum is really good, with amazing craftsmanship and such a likeness to the celebrities. All the wax statues will make one feel like they are in the presence of famous personalities. In other words, you will be star-struck.
Lonavala-Khandala offers so many fun activities to do, views to enjoy, selfies to take, chikkis to consume and feel-good memories to make. Plan your summer weekend getaway and escape to the wonderful Jewel of the Sahyadri.