Lonavala is a land of contrasts, where ancient rock-cut caves and forts stand side by side with modern amusement parks and luxury villas. The town itself is a maze of winding streets lined with quaint cafes, souvenir shops, and roadside vendors selling piping hot vada pav and sweet chikki. Among the best summer vacation places in Maharashtra, Lonavala is a escape tucked away in the Sahyadri mountain range. As you wind your way up the mountain roads, you are transported to a world of misty valleys, cascading waterfalls, and lush greenery that stretches as far as the eye can see. Among the many places to visit in Lonavala, here are the 10 best things to do:
Visit Lonavala Lake
Lonavala Lake is a picturesque lake that is surrounded by lush greenery and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. It is a popular spot for a peaceful picnic, and you can hire a boat to take a ride on the tranquil waters of the lake. The lake is also a great spot for birdwatching and is home to several species of birds like Kingfishers, Egrets, and Herons.
Explore Bhaja Caves
Bhaja Caves are an ancient Buddhist rock-cut cave complex located in the hills of Lonavala. They are believed to date back to the 2nd century BCE and are one of the oldest Buddhist cave complexes in India. The caves are known for their intricate carvings, beautiful sculptures, and rock-cut architecture. The cave complex has several chaityas (prayer halls) and viharas (monasteries) that are worth exploring.
Trek to Lohagad Fort
Lohagad Fort is a historic fort located on a hilltop near Lonavala. The fort was built in the 18th century and has a rich history. The trek to the fort takes you through beautiful trails, lush greenery, and stunning views of the valley. The fort itself is a must-visit, and you can explore the various buildings, water tanks, and watchtowers inside the fort. The fort also offers stunning views of the surrounding hills and valleys.
Visit Karla Caves
The Karla Caves are a group of ancient rock-cut caves located near Lonavala. They are believed to date back to the 2nd century BCE and are a great example of ancient Buddhist rock-cut architecture. The caves are famous for their intricate carvings, beautiful sculptures, and rock-cut architecture. The caves also have several chaityas (prayer halls) and viharas (monasteries) that are worth exploring.
Admire Rajmachi Point
Rajmachi Point is a popular viewpoint located in Lonavala that offers panoramic views of the Sahyadri mountains and the surrounding valleys. The viewpoint is located at a height of 2,710 feet above sea level and is a popular spot for photography. The views of the sunset and sunrise from this point are particularly breathtaking.
Relax at Bushi Dam
Bushi Dam is a popular tourist spot in Lonavala that offers a picturesque waterfall and a serene lake. The dam is located on the Indrayani River and is surrounded by lush greenery. You can take a refreshing dip in the cool waters of the lake or simply relax by the banks and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
Visit Wax Museum
The Sunil’s Celebrity Wax Museum in Lonavala is a unique museum that houses wax statues of famous personalities from Bollywood, politics, and history. The museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in Indian cinema and culture. The museum has several wax statues of famous Indian celebrities like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, and Sachin Tendulkar.
Explore Tiger’s Leap
Tiger’s Leap is a scenic viewpoint in Lonavala that offers stunning views of the valley below. The viewpoint gets its name from the rock formation that resembles a leaping tiger. The viewpoint is located at a height of 650 meters above sea level and is a popular spot for photography. The viewpoint also offers stunning views of the sunset and sunrise.
Enjoy a scenic drive along Mumbai-Pune Expressway
The Mumbai-Pune Expressway is a beautiful stretch of road that offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. It is considered one of the most beautiful expressways in the world and is a must-visit for anyone who loves scenic drives. A great way to make the most of this drive is by enjoying its beautiful stopovers and make a one day trip near Mumbai with family and friends.
Indulge in local cuisine
Lonavala is famous for its chikki, a sweet made of jaggery and nuts, and vada pav, a popular Indian street food. Be sure to try these local delicacies during your visit. There are also several restaurants that offer delicious Maharashtrian cuisine that you should try. Some of the famous restaurants in Lonavala are Rama Krishna, Kinara, and Sunny Da Dhaba.
The big draw for Lonavala is the opportunity to offer a much-needed respite to families and groups alike. Take a look at the best villas in Lonavala for your next weekend getaway.