Map of Lonavala

Below is the map of Lonavala, in Maharashtra. Use the scroller to zoom as per your preference.
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Videos of Lonavala

Fog

See the fog at Lonavala here.

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Waterfall

On the way to Rajmachi Fort, near Lonavala/Khandala/Karjat after 4th check point, we got to this spectacular view of this big waterfall on the other side of the valley (recorded using a Sony/P990i device)

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Chikki

A video on how chikki is made. In fact, this video claims that the word “chikki” was first coined here. There’s a story that relates back 120 years ago on how the grandfather of the current owner of Maganlal Industries accidentally made the first chikki. The video also shows the various phases of manufacturing chikki, step by step. Highly recommended watching!

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Blazed Lonavala Run

Enjoy the video with nice background music.

Rain in Lonavala

Its great to visit Lonavala during the monsoon. Watch this group of friends having fun in the rain at Lonavala!

Will add some more shortly… subscribe to be informed of updates!

Excursions at Lonavala

Bhairavanath Devasthan is temple resting on top of a mountain. This mountain is not easy to scale as one needs to traverse a meandering path which is hacked through the dense foliage. This temple cannot be approached by vehicle. One needs to face dense foliage, swift rivulets, deep valleys and eerie sounds coming from monkeys and peacocks. The stairs carved out of rock and covered with creepers make the climb slimy and pretty challenging.

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Man seems to always be in pursuit of happiness while it appears to dodge him from time to time. And yet when he has it he seems to lose it. The cause for this is his psychological limitation. Some years back a publication by the name of Manashakti Mansik Path was established. The Manashakti Kenra published it. The Manashakti Kendra is situated at Varsoli near Lonavala on the Mumbai Pune Highway.

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In the year 1966, an institute by the name of Antar Bhartiya Balgram was founded. The principle behind founding this institute was to provide equal opportunity at a chance to education for the intelligent but economically backward children.

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Late Swami Kuvalayanand established an institute called Kaivalya Dham Yoga Center to teach yoga. This institute can be located on a scenic hill quite close to Valvan Lake. Yoga has benefited man in more ways than one. It is vital for man’s spiritual, mental, physical and scientific growth.

While traveling from Mumbai to Lonavala, one will come across a place called Rajmachi Park at the beginning of the ghats. There is a charming garden here with a breathtaking view of the vicinity. On the one side you will catch a glimpse of two towers of the Rajmachi Fort and a huge valley on the other. A restaurant here serves you hot and delicious snacks while you enjoy the scenery. The children can take a break and run around before embarking on the ghats.

It would be a good idea to pick up some of the local delicacy called chikki. This is prepared by heating jaggery and adding nuts into it. Some of the more expensive ones contain dry fruits such as pistachios, almonds and cashew nuts. The cheaper ones will contain coconut, sesame seeds, peanuts and puffed rice.

Sight seeing in Lonavala

There are several lakes that one could visit here but the best time for it would be in the monsoons as that is when they fill up to the brim.

To see the Valvan Lake in all its splendor one needs to hike up to the dam built on it. It is a good place to spend the evening in the garden below the dam. The water from this dam is utilized by the Khopoli power station to generate electricity. Another lake worth checking out is the Lonavala Lake. You can spend some peaceful moments at this lake which is abounded by greenery. It is only about 1.6 kilometers from the town. Please take note that you won’t find any water here during the winter. The most popular and most visited spot is Bushi dam. During the monsoons you would need to elbow your way to find a small spot to bathe under the waterfall.

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Yet another lake is the Tungarli Lake. This lake also has a dam constructed on it. The young and old alike enjoy climbing up the mountain to arrive at the dam which surges with water during the monsoon season. Some of the celebrity homes and the Hotel Laguna are visible from atop. This makes a great place for camping. It is 3 kilometers from the station and you can get a taxi, bus or auto rickshaw to take you there. Lonavala’s water supply comes from Tungarli Lake.

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At some point between Bushi Dam and Amby Valley comes Lion’s Point. The panorama here will bring you back to this place. Another point is Tiger’s Leap. It is situated on top of a steep cliff with a drop of over 650 meters. You are sure to miss a heart beat at this vista. Be prepared to hoof it for the latter part of the way.

Looking for a pleasant place to bide your time? Head for the Ryewood Park and Shivaji Udyan. This is a huge garden with an abundance of trees with winds whispering through them. An old temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is situated within the confines of the Park. The children can run amok here as there is an ample amount of space for them to play without worrying about approaching vehicles.

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Hikers love to trudge up to the Duke’s Nose, which is at a distance of 12 kilometers from Lonavala in the direction of Mumbai. The cliff got its name from the massive nose of the Duke of Wellington.

Going towards Pune, you will come across Karla caves. The Buddhist monks sculpted this complex of cave shrines around 3rd Century to 2nd Century BC. You need to scale a multitude of steps to see the Karla caves.

One of Maharaja Shivaji’s forts has been built here. It is called Lohagad Fort, which literally means Iron Fort. You will be greeted with a commanding view of the surrounding hills and hamlets.

Information on Lonavala

God put his heart and soul in creating Lonavala hill station and ended up producing his magnum opus. The magnificence of this hill station will leave you stunned. With winds blowing over the lake that spray you with the cool waters that persistently cascade down the mountains in the contour of waterfalls with greenery all around, you will be transported into Eden. This arouses the sensation of people while rejuvenating them. With birds chirping to wake you up instead of an alarm clock, your day is sure to be delightful. The misty fogs that greet you when you arise will stimulate you into action.

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Though Lonavala is technically in Pune district of Maharashtra, it is a home away from home to the populace of Pune as well as Mumbai. Standing proud at an altitude of 622 meters in Sahyadri ranges, it extends over an area of 38 square kilometers. At a distance of approximately 96 kilometers from Mumbai city and 64 kilometers from Pune city, it is a favorite retreat for both. It falls in between Pune and Mumbai. Lonavala is one of the stations midway between Mumbai to Pune.

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If you plan of flying in, the nearest domestic airport would be Pune while the nearest International airport would be Mumbai. Lonavala is accessible by train, taxi and bus. There are two main highways that connect Lonavala to Pune and Mumbai, the Mumbai-Pune highway and the Mumbai-Pune expressway.

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In the year 1871, Sir Elphinston stumbled upon the twin hill stations of Lonavala and Khandala. The Karla caves, Bhaja caves and Bedsa, which are in the vicinity of Lonavala are referred to as Lonavli, a Sanskrit word, which lends us the name Lonavala. The weather here is pleasant. The winters are cool although the summers are mild. Between June and September Lonavala receives heavy southwestern monsoon rains.

The most pleasant time to visit Lonavala is from October to May, yet the monsoons attract the most visitors as the waterfalls and lakes become animated during this time. The climatic conditions of this place are good for the overall fitness. The main languages spoken here are Hindi, Marathi and English.

Map Of Matheran

Below is the map of Matheran. Use the scroller to zoom in / out.
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Matheran Videos

Matheran Toy Train 1:

Watch on as the toy train leaves Neral on its way to Matheran.

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Matheran Toy Train 2:

This video shows the arrival of Matheran station in the toy train.

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Matheran Scenery:

A short video with some nice scenes from a couple in Matheran.

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Matheran Trip:

Again, some nice scenes. This video is actually from a group of youngsters who went trekking in Matheran

Sight seeing in Matheran

There are several points to visit in Matheran. Most people prefer to walk to the points but for the one’s who tire easily or like riding horses, these could be hired anywhere. If you don’t like horses, you could hire a hand pulled rickshaw. Sometimes one could avail of them even midway. Although Porcupine point is a good enough place for catching the sunset, Panorama point at the extreme north has a much more impressive view. The view is spectacular and on a clear day it is said that one can see Mumbai city and even hear it from Louisa point or Porcupine point. You could also catch sight of the Ulhas River from here. Going West of Porcupine point one would come to Louisa point. This point is also called Cathedral Rocks. When you look down from here Neral is visible astride the central railway line. Another point here is ‘One tree hill’, so called for obvious reasons. This is to the South. Next to it is a trail down to the valley below. This is known as Shivaji’s ladder. It gets this name since the leader of the Marathas is known to have used it.

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There are other points such as the heart point where an adorable panorama of the valley is visible and the point looks like a heart. You could visit Garbut Point, Alexander Point, Malang Point, Artist’s Point, Honeymoon hill, the Charlotte Lake, Paymaster’s Park, Rambaug Point, Lord’s Point, Mount Barry, Chowk Point, Little Chowk Point, Khandala Point, Belvedere Point, Cecil Point, Echo Point and last but not the least, the Monkey Point, where one can spot monkeys in great numbers. The Olympia Race Course is another place worth visiting in Matheran.

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There is no dearth of hotels in Matheran but the beautiful resorts are spread further out at an approximately 20 minutes walk from the station. The resort hotels mostly only offer full board rates. A piece of advice: Find out the check out time before moving in as it could be as early as 7 am. Another important factor to remember would be the season. If you travel to Matheran during peak season the rooms could cost you more than double the non seasonal rates. The peak season is from November to January and mid April to mid June. We wouldn’t recommend a visit in the monsoons either. Very few hotels and restaurants are operational during the monsoons and the trails become pretty muddy and messy.

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There are some things we would recommend you follow. You should take a comfortable pair of shoes for walking. Feeding the monkeys could be hazardous to you so you should avoid it. It would be best to travel light since you would need someone to lug it around town till you find yourself a place to stay. The hotel you select could be at a distance, which would mean you would have to haul the heavy luggage around with you. You could find a coolie to carry it for you but some of them might overcharge you if you travel during the peak season.

Traveling to Matheran

The hip-hopping youngsters from Mumbai find Matheran a great hangout for weekends. Part of the fun is in traveling to Matheran. You need to take a tiny narrow gauge toy train from Neral up the 21 km route to this hill station. The journey takes 2 hours to ascend due to the winding way up the steep slopes. At one point it passes through ‘One kiss tunnel’. The Matheran Hill Railway was built in 1907 by Sir Adamjee Peerbhoy.

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One could also take a taxi or minibus from Neral to Dasturi point. The distance between Neral and Dasturi point is 11 kilometers. This route is comparatively swifter (1/2 hour). But it involves a 40 minute walk into Matheran. Alternatively you could hire a horse or cycle-rickshaw. Only the toy train takes you through the scenic route and lands you into the heart of the little town. More than a few people opt to hike it up along the railway tracks but there are other walking trails which lead to the Matheran Plateau. The local people use these trails for commuting to the hill station. You could also climb up from the Western side, which would mean you would be in the shade for most of the trek up. But for this you would have to start your climb pretty early in the day. If one decides to scramble up during the monsoons, it would be advisable to take the path from the Dudhoni village that would lead you directly to the Sunset point in Matheran. This route takes approximately two hours. If you wish to take this route you need to take an autorickshaw from Panvel to Dudhoni village.

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One has to pay a small fee to Matheran. This fee is collected when you exit the station at Matheran or at the taxi stand if you decide to travel by road. It would be advisable to carry a torch as the paths outside the town centre do not have lights. The Union Environment Ministry has declared Matheran an eco sensitive region. In fact one could say Matheran is a Health Sanitorium in itself.  A word of caution: You need to be wary of monkeys if you are carrying any food items, especially bananas and peanuts. Some of the kinds of monkeys found here are Hanuman Langurs and Bonnet Macaques.

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About Matheran

The hill station which is closest in proximity to Mumbai is Matheran. It is situated in the Sahyadri Hills in Raigad district and it is the smallest hill station in India. It is about 90 kilometers from Mumbai while it is at a distance of 120 kilometers from Pune. This makes it convenient for urbanites for a quick weekend getaway. The name Matheran literally means “forest top” or wooded head. This hill station became popular during the times of the Raj, since the plentiful shade and altitude (800 meters) made it cooler than the capital. Mostly it is pleasant throughout the year as it is a hill station, nevertheless in the winter the weather could get nippy. Although the summers could get as hot as 32 degrees Celsius and temperature could go as low as 16 degrees Celsius in the winter.

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After the monsoons would be the ideal time to visit Matheran. The verdant greenery, the full lakes and the waterfalls add to the charisma. Hugh Poyntz Malet was acknowledged as the discoverer of this hill station in the year 1850.  He was the district collector of Thane district. It was Lord Elphinstone who actually laid the foundations of its development. He was the Governor of Mumbai at that time. The USP of this hill station is the fact that it is free of all forms of motor vehicles. This makes the hill station extraordinarily serene. Matheran is one of the only three places in the world where motor vehicles are banned. Venice and the Prince’s Islands of Istanbul are the other two besides Matheran. The walking tracks are extensive, leading you to points that drop sheer to the plains.

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Folks in Matheran generally speak in English, Hindi and Marathi. Matheran is also well known for preserving some beautiful and historic British architecture. You will also find many Parsi bunglows, as Parsees are known for investing in land, here. Roads here are made of red laterite earth and not tar. The main bazaar also known as the market, is a great shoppers paradise. You can buy many varieties of chikki, locally made honey, ice golas, chocolate and fruit fudges, cane and leather articles, hats, chappals, etc.

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