While quite a few times I have been to Mumbai and Pune, I never got a chance to visit this in-between heavenly place called “Lonavala”, but always remained in my to-visit list. As an exciting traveler and based in Chennai, I always wanted to escape the heat and humidity and experience the natural beauty of Lonavala. Finally, 2 weeks back I had a business meet in Mumbai and greatly I managed to grab a day from my busy schedule to explore 625 meters above sea level, Lonavala with few of my friends. Thanks to monsoon that arrived late this year, it was just the right time for us get started. Otherwise, the ideal time to visit Lonavala is between June-September, when the rain hardly agrees to stop. Since we were in a leisure mood, didn’t want to explore all places notably in Lonavala but our target was just to hang around and have good time.
The day started at 5am for us as we head into the cab to reach the destination. This is place is located 96 KM away from Mumbai (accessible from express highway) and I must say the travel itself looked like the destination. The greenery, blooming picturesque view, wonderful tunnels and occasional rain droplets made our entire drive extremely pleasant. We reached around 8am and decided to quit cab, as trek was more fun to choose. Our first point was “Bushy Dam” which is the most sought after place for visitors. You have to climb a little to reach the dam (without footwear and rent cost for footwear is 20rs) and this view was breathtaking. The entire place looked snowy with the white water dashing on each steps. It started raining as we stepped on the flowing chill water and this made the experience really enjoyable. After splashing and playing like kids in waterfalls for long time we decided to munch a little. We found mind-blowing hot vada-pav and chai (not so expensive) that just went perfect with the flow.
Moving ahead, it was already 11am and planned to trek till tiger’s leap which is about 4-5 km from bushy dam. Trekking was the most enjoyable part of the journey; the climate was superb to walk with rain showering once in a while with cool wind making the atmosphere so charming. The juicy sweet corn (maize) served with chili powder, lemon and salt is not something to be ignored. It was almost a challenge to trek around this mountain region; however, being an experienced trekker this was not scary at all. Finally upon reaching Tiger’s leap also called as Tiger Point the view was simply stunning. We saw the entire view of Lonavala, and huge mountains covering them. It was a perfect blend of cool breeze and mist which made us stay there for long time. We then had a chance to have hot ginger tea and bajia’s in foggy weather, never will I forget!
We came down pretty fast and stopped near the bus stop to find a good pure vegetarian hotel in Lonavala. And we found hotel Chandralok (located near the bus stop), one of the best budget hotels I would say in Lonavala. I had lip smacking pure veg thali that included Roti, Sabji, Dal, Rice, Raita, Sweet Dish and lot more, served with upmost love and respect by waiters that most other hotels fail to offer. Rates were reasonable, but most importantly the food was awesome! On our way back we managed to shop for Lonavala’s famous Maganlan chikki and popular ready-to-make juices! Although there are many other places to visit in Lonavala like Wax museum, Rajmachi Point, Lohagard Fort etc, that I will probably visit next time! Rest, I was relaxed and refreshed being at this Nature’s Paradise, loved it totally!