Mist - Khandala
Nagphani (Duke's Nose)
Khandala - beauty in the mansoon season
Scorpion's Sting (Vinchu Kata)
Welcome to Lonavala-Khandala Hill Station,
Lonawala and Khandala both are the hill station in Pune district in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Khandala is about three kilometres from Lonavala.
Lonavala is famous throughout India for the hard candy sweet known as chikki. Lonavala has been blessed with valleys, hills, Milky WaterFalls, Lush Greenery and pleasant cool winds. The morning sun rising over here appears as if it is sprinkling rose water all over. Chirping birds gently awaken oneself and all of this makes it a really Good Morning. The whole place is covered with a thick blanket of fog early in the morning; this is how the day begins here.
If you travel to the Khandala hill station, one thing is for sure - you will fall in love with it at the very first sight. Infact, most of the people who stay in Mumbai also visit this hill resort on weekends, to forget the daily tensions and let their body as well as their mind relax and rejuvenate. Khandala has been blessed with nature's beauty in abundance. The natural splendor, combined with peaceful surroundings, makes the hill station the perfect holiday spot. Today, Khandala is counted amongst one of the most visited tourist destinations in India.
Bhairavnath Devasthan is situated at a place called Dhak in Rajmachi. The primary deity of this grand old temple is Shiva in the form of Bhairav. The temple architecture is similar to Shiva temples else where in Konkan region. The temple is located in the backdrop of naturally thrilling forest regions. Soft breeze and cool ambience provide the premises of the temple a sacred atmosphere. The temple can be approached by a slippery path. Many small shrines for other Hindu gods and goddesses are also placed around the main sanctum sanctorum. Mahashivarathri is the famous festival here on which day hundreds of devotees visit this temple with many offerings.
Bhaja caves, second century old Buddhist caves, in Lonavala is rare Buddhist tourist destination. These caves encloses 18 rock cut caves constructed by Buddhist nuns and enshrines many sculptures like a prince in a chariot, a prince seated on an elephant, three armed warriors and dancing couples. All these sculptures are the specimen of Indian architectural age and the mastery in sculpturing.
The first cave is believed to be the residential place of the master of the caves, the next ten caves are Buddhist viharas with one cave contains the Chaitya hall. The rest seven caves are adorned with inscriptions including the details of the donor. A water fall is also located at the last of the caves.
Bushy Dam is one of the majestic picnic spots in Lonavala. The Dam is magnificent during the monsoons with water gushing out through the dam make exhilarating waterfalls. The Dam is located at the backdrop of scenic hilly terrains and lush green environments. This is a much sought weekend and vacation destination in Lonavala. Calm environment and cool atmosphere add the beauty of this site. Swimming is not allowed in this Dam.
Karla Caves are the largest cave temple (chaitya) in India and is located in Lonavala. These rock cut caves are assumed to be built around 100 AD by Buddhist nuns. The marvelous ancient Karla Caves are presently a popular tourist destination to have a close look at the ancient Buddhist architecture and culture. These caves exhibit Buddhist ideologies through inscriptions and stupas.
The Chaitya hall is spectacular with 37 octagonal pillars with a base structure of a water jar and it has a special feature of the fa?ade screen made out of teak wood. The entrance of the Chaitya hall is adorned with an arch in the shape of a horse shoe. Karla caves encloses Buddha viharas, where by the monks were stayed during their meditation period in the caves. The cave encloses sculptures of elephants adorned with metal jewelries and ivory tusks.
Koli temple, a temple of the Koli (fishermen) community in Lonavala, is located outside the main chaitya of Karla caves. The tribal Goddess Aai Ekvira is the main deity here. The Koli tribes throng to this temple during special occasions like navarathri and chaitra. One can see the koli fishermen community populaces walking all through the hilly terrains to reach the temple with festivities, Koli dances and folk music. Koli tribes offer animal sacrifices in this temple, they offer the sacrifice of goat or chickens and they believe that the tribal Goddess has majestic powers.
Koregad Fort is an individual fort in a hillock which is not connected to other hills in Lonavala Region. About one hour trekking expedition is required to reach the top. This hillock is credited with few ponds and magnificent picturesque landscapes. This fort stands alone with grandiose solitude. The fort is in ruins and most of the structures of the fort are not visible nowadays. One can get eye pleasing views of surrounding hilly terrains and other forts from the peak of this fort.
Lohagarh, literally means Iron fort, is an important hill fort used extensively by Chatrapati Shivaji. It has a long history and was used by all dynasties who ruled Vidharbha and Maratha kingdoms. The fort is placed at an altitude of more than 1050 meters. This fort is situated on the Sahyadri ranges and divides the Pavna basin and Indrayani basin.
The fort site is a fine destination for tourist with interests in architecture, archeology and history. The actual date of original fort is not clearly known but the known records points out some additional constructions such as a step well and big tank during eighteenth century. The ancient fort's four mammoth gates are still intact and are in good condition.
Lonavala Lake is also known as Monsoon Lake as it dries up during the winters and gets filled with gushing water during monsoons. This lake, built around 1876, is a picturesque picnic spot in Lonavala. This location is gorgeous with natural beauty and scenic surroundings. The source of the Lonavala Lake is the famous river Indrayani. This lake is a natural habitat of many water bodies. Many varieties of birds can be spotted over the lake.
West part of the Rajmachi fort is Manranjan Fort. Its construction was strong so that no enemy could destroy it easily. The fort was built to have a watch on the plateau down the Manranjan hills. The fort has three entrances and also has a water tank at the top of the peak. Presently the fort is in ruins and the government and local authorities are taking necessary steps to preserve this historical fort. The fort offers an excellent panoramic view of the plateau down. Fort is placed at the peak of the hill which is vibrant with thriving natural beauties.
Morvi Dongar is a fascinating hillock between Tung fort and Devgad. This is at one side of the Pawna Lake. There are many trekking routes from Morvi to Tung fort and other hilly ranges in Lonavala. Morvi Dongar is a jungle region with many varieties trees and flora. This is a natural habitat of various kinds of bird fauna. Bird watchers can enjoy the days here watching beautiful birds.
Nagphani, later known as Duke's Nose after Duke Wellington, is a cliff at Khandala near Lonavala. The Cliff is pointed like a snakes pointed head portion (hood) and hence the name Nagphani (Nag means snake and phani means hood). The name Dukes'nose is derived as the cliff looked like the shape of the Duke. This is a marvelous picnic spot nearby Lonavala. Adventurous trekking is highly essential to reach the Duke's nose and the view of the downhill plains from this point is mind boggling.
Pawna Lake (Pavna Lake) is an artificial lake formed by the Pawna Dam built across the Pawna River nearby Lonavala. The lake attracts many tourists due to its imposing natural ambience and cool climate. From the dam site one can view the majestic sights of Tungi, Logagarh and Tikona forts.
Rajmachi Point is located about 6.5 km from Lonavla. This point commands a view of Shivaji's famous fort, Rajmachi (Royal terrakouioce) and the surrounding valley. Regular State Transport buses ply between Rajmachi Point and Lonavla from the State Transport Bus Stand. The famous Vaghjai Dari is also located here.
The Rajmachi Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the picturesque locale surrounded by dense green forests. The wildlife sanctuary is on the foothills and hilly terrains of Western Ghat in Sahyadri ranges. The sanctuary offers the wildlife beauty in its pristine passion. This is a weekend destination for the nature loving tourists. The sanctuary encloses abundance of animals and birds. One major attraction here is the mammoth Indian squirrel. It is a rare place where one can spot the wild animals freely moving in their natural habitat. The landscape is enriched with rare species of herbs and plants. The location is very good for nature walks, trekking and bird watching.
Ryewood Park is a picturesque hang out in the hill station Lonavala and is located very close to Lonavala market. This Park has plenty of grounds with greenish lawns and playing grounds for children. The Park is blessed with many varieties of trees which are decades old. It was a botanical garden and later converted to a Park. The present day garden has many facilities for merry making and is thriving with many varieties of flowers. Ryewood Park is a weekend hang out for many families. Children enjoy the playing facilities in the Park. One can get the pure air in this park.
Sausage Hills is one of the best picnic spots in Lonavala. This pristine hill is covered with dense forests and is the natural habitat of many varieties of birds. The Sausage hill is the perfect place for hill climbing, bird watching and trekking. Many trekking trails originate from Sausage hills and leads to other hilly terrains, forts and lakes. From this hill one can get eye catching views of Pawna Lake and Tunga Fort.
Scorpion's Sting, also known as Vinchu Kata, is a long and narrow fortified spur in the region of the Lohagarh fort which extends westwards of the Lonawala. This is a finger styled projection of fissure of Lava and the name scorpion's sting due to its natural shape. The attractive beauty of the pinnacle of this hilly terrain is worth visiting.
This trail is very fascinating for the nature lovers and trekkers. From this peak one can descend towards the Visapur fort. The peak offers long views of surrounding plains and lush green sceneries of the forests.
Another scenic point in the town of Khandala (Bazaar peth), which provides magnificent view of the Rajmachi Fort and the valley. Also the home for the St. Mary's villa.
Shreevardhan Fort, an ancient fort spotted with the history of Maratha rulers, is situated to the east region of Rajmachi town. The construction of the fort is in Martha style architecture and the imposing entrance of the Shreevardhan fort is in a semicircular shape. The fort is built at the pinnacle of one of the peaks in Rajamchi, so that one can view the movements of the downhill region. The view from the fort is breathtaking with wide greenish landscape and undulating hilly terrains. The fort encloses attractive Buddhist caves and two water tanks with plenty of water all through the year. Bhairavnath temple adds the attraction of the Shreevardhan fort.
Tiger's Leap is a cliff-top with a sheer drop of over 650 m, giving an extensive view. Buses are available up to I.N.S. Shivaji and the remaining distance of about 1.6 km has to be covered on foot.
Tikona Fort, also renowned as Vitandgad fort, is a major hill fort in Maval region near the Lonavala. Tikona fort, literally means triangle fort, had witnessed many dynasties ruled in the Maratha region. This was the nerve centre of the many activities of entire Malwan Pawna regions. The small hamlet close to the fort is Tikona peth. The fort's mammoth entrance is a special attraction.
The Tikona fort is a great trekking destination for the adventurous tourists. One can get the eye catching views of the Pawna Dam and the forts at Visaput, Tung and Lohagarh. The fort encloses a lake, Satvahan caves and the temple of 'Trimbakeshwar Mahadev'.
Rajamachi is a renowned trekking place in Maharashtra. The Western Ghats and Sahyadri ranges offers mild to hard trekking experiences to all adventure loving tourists. The area famed for its exotic natural attractions is really a breathtaking place to have trekking expeditions. Climbing the hilly terrains to reach the famous medieval forts is a real experience for lifelong memory. The trekking trails from Rajmachi to Khandala plateau, to Tungarli lake and also to Lonavala are challenging for amateur trekkers. One can trek form Rajmachi to Konadana caves or to Ulhas river shore. Many tourists to have nice experience of natural treks visit this unspoiled nature's gift.
Tung Fort, also known as Kathingad, is a fort in the peak (tung means peak) and is very difficult to approach. The fort is in the Mawal region which was ruled by Maratha kings. The fort is constructed at a height of 3500 feet and about 1200 feet hilly terrain are with steep ascents.
The Tung fort is a tough and rough adventurous trekking destination. One can start trekking to Tung fort from Phagne Dam in Pawna River. The tung fort has already ruined and only the structure left was a temple dedicated to Devi Tungai. There are a lake and a cave at the fort region. From the pinnacle of the hillock, one can enjoy the majestic views of Laghghar and Visapur forts.
Tungarli Lake is an artificial reservoir in Lonavala. This lake is the major source of water supply to Lonavala city. There is a dam across the Tungarli Lake. During monsoons the lake fills with water and during summer the scarcity of water is a common problem. The Lake is located at scenic surroundings and the well maintained lakeside add the beauty of the place. The garden near the dam site is a nice location for evening walks and hang outs.
Valavan Lake is one of the beautiful picnic spot in Lonavala. The Valvan Lake is an artificial lake created by the Valvan Dam built across the Kundali River. The Valvan dam is the source of water to the Khopali power station. By the side of the lake there is a beautiful garden with vast expanse of landscaped plains. The Valvan Lake and the surrounding dam sites and the garden are popular evening relaxation spots.
Visapur fort is located at an altitude of nearly 4,000 ft above sea level in Lonavala. One has to do a real trekking expedition to reach this historical fort. It is believed that the fort is built centuries back and was thriving with many activities during the rules of many Maratha dynasties. Chathrapthi Shivaji was using this as a place to watch the movements in the downhill and the plains.
Presently the fort is in ruins and there is not much structure left in the fort. The scenic surroundings and the majestic panoramic views of the plains are the best attraction here.
Lonaval and Khandala Hill Station are lushes with greenery and the natural beauty. In the season of mansoon(rainy season) one can see many waterfalls coming from the mountains.
- Lonavala : Fishing and Paragliding, Shivaji Udyan etc.
- Khandala : Shingroba Temple, Rajmachi Fort, Amrutanjan Point, Reversing Station etc.