Nestled amidst the pristine Sahyadri Hills, Lonavala is a popular hill station in the Indian state of Maharashtra. With abundant waterfalls, lakes, and hills around, Lonavala is a perfect weekend getaway for tourists, especially hikers and trekkers. Offering an alluring and bewitching experience of nature’s most gifted region, Lonavala is a great destination to visit during monsoon.
How to reach:
By Air: Chhatrapati Shivaji Airport, Mumbai is the nearest international airport to Lonavala, at a distance of 63 km.
By Rail: Regular trains are available to Lonavala Railway Station from major cities across the country.
By Road: Lonavala is well connected by express highways with major cities across the state, like Pune, Mumbai, and Nagpur.
Around 8 km from Lonavala, Tiger’s Leap is a prominent tourist attraction of the place. It is a clifftop with a sheer drop of over 650m, offering a comprehensive view of the encompassing hills and the Western Ghats. It owes the name, Tiger’s Leap, from its resemblance to the shape of a tiger leaping into the valley below. During monsoon, a small waterfall comes to life near the viewpoint, alluring many visitors to enjoy the chilled waters of the stream. A great vantage point for admiring serene vistas of the encompassing valley, it is also a perfect destination for a short trek. Eco Point is another major attraction nearby, which is popular for camping and trekking.
One of the oldest cave shrines in the country, Karla Caves are at a distance of 11 km from Lonavala. Karla Caves is a complex of ancient Indian Buddhist rock-cut temples excavated nearly 100 m on a high spur of the chain of hills on the northern flank of the Indrayani valley. Carved between the 2ndcentury BC and 5th century AD, the Karla complex consists of 16 rock-cut excavations. This place constitutes an extensive collection of beautiful Chaityas (halls) and Viharas (monasteries), reflecting upon a journey of the past and narrating some amusing stories. The entrance of the caves features a recently built temple out of the remains of ancient pillars of the Buddhist period. Karla Caves is a treasure house for history buffs.
Located 6 km away from Lonavala, Bushi Dam is a masonry dam built on the Indrayani river. Nestled amidst the backdrop of scenic hilly terrains, it is a popular weekend getaway. The Bushi Dam overflows during monsoon season, making the water flow over a series of concrete steps and then through some easily accessible rocky terrain. It forms a small waterfall and hordes of visitors throng to enjoy the mesmerizing view. Due to the unpredictable flow of water, swimming in Bushi Dam is restricted during monsoons. The serenity of the dam makes it a perfect spot for outdoor camping.
Rajmachi Fort, a historical fort amidst the rugged hills of the Sahyadri mountain range, is located at a distance of 15 km from Lonavala. Originally constructed by the Satavahanas rulers, it was captured by Maharaja Shivaji in 1657. The fort’s ownership passed on further to the Mughal emperor Aurangazeb and eventually to the British. Consisting of two citadels, namely Shrivardhan and Manaranjan Forts, it overlooks the Bor Ghat — a historic trading route. The fort complex consists of huge ramparts, massive gateways, strong walls, water reservoirs, residential units and secret gates for exits.
During monsoon, the beauty of the place multiplies with numerous waterfalls, streams gushing down the plateau. Rajmachi Fort is a perfect destination for trekkers and campers. Rajmachi Fort can be accessed by two routes; one, a roughly 15 km flat walk and the other, a gradual climb of around 5 km. Camping in Rajamachi is a great idea, especially because of the long trek. Amidst the lush greenery and scenic vistas, camping is the best way to relish the beauty of Rajamachi.
Located on the outskirts of the city, Lonavala Lake is popular for its mesmerizing sunrise views. Also known as Monsoon Lake, it dries up completely during the summer months and springs to life during monsoon only. The tranquility around the lake makes it perfect for a lazy evening stroll. Visitors can indulge in swimming, angling, and boating in the lake, or simply sit back and relax dipping feet in the cold water. Lakeside camping is another popular outdoor activity in the lake.