Lonavala-Lavasa Trip - I: Lonavala, Khandala

5:50 PM

Lonavala


It was end of June and still monsoons had not arrived, decided to tour on the Lavasa – Lonavala region in a single day from Pune. Saturday morning on 28th June 2014, time was about 6am when we left Pune. This time we took for the same cab service, TCabs, although we requested for the same driver who came the previous tour, but they sent another driver this time. However it never mattered, as new driver was also professional.
All these places fall under Pune district, and the top destinations in Pune district are listed below,

Top 10 attractions in Pune District (Lonavala-Lavasa):


1.       Lavasa
2.       Lonavala
3.       Lohgad Fort
4.       Khandala
5.       Karla Caves
6.       Sinhagad Fort
7.       Bhaja Caves
8.       Visapur Fort
9.       Rajgad Fort
10.   Panshet Dam


We had planned for a long trip, starting from Pune-Khandala-Karla Caves-Zenith waterfalls-Lonavala-Lavassa-Pune on the same day. Although the plan changed dynamically, thanks to the mobile internet which helped me change the plan right away.
Since we had visited Ajanta-Ellora caves recently, none of them were interested with Karla caves, except me. So we decided to go to Lonavala directly. This was my second visit to Lonavala.
Popular attractions in Lonavala include, Lion point, Tiger falls, Bhushi Dam and the Lonavala Lake.
Reached Lonavala town by 8am, we first drove towards the Lion point. We actually missed a road and drove in the wrong direction and finally got to know that it was the wrong route, and returned back to the town and took the correct diversion towards the Lion point. Was surprised to see the Lonavala Lake appearing as huge playgrounds in the absence of water.
In my earlier visit during the first week of August, had been to all four attractions in Lonavala. In my second visit, since the water was dried we ended up seeing only the Lion point.

August 2013 visit:

The first stopover was at the Lonavala Lake, it is actually not allowed to enter the waters, but we were a little curious and jumped the wall to enter the water and grasped some of the cool pics of the lake surrounded by mountains with greenery everywhere. After a while the security guard spotted us and we had to come back. This place is at its best during Aug-Oct, for the rest of the year, it is pretty dried up, with very less greenery.
Panoramic view of the Lonavla Lake
View of the surrounding hills and the waterfalls from Lonavla Lake
Next we stopped at Bhushi Dam, one have to pass by the small river flowing out of the dam to reach the dam, in the entrance they rent non slippery chappals, which is quite advisable as shoes will be soaked in the waters. The crowd at Bhushi dam is mostly youth and in high numbers, elderly and young are not advised to visit. Most of them come here to sit on the steps from where the water from the dam flows down to the stream below. But we never go by the crowds, instead decided to trek up the hill. The trek route is beside the dam waters and rises up to a platform on top of the hill. 
Bhushi Dam and the crowd as seen from the trek top
The view from here is mesmerizing with green beauty and waterfalls around the hills. The only bad thing about this place, was the beer bottles broken all around the place, making it unsafe and dirty to walk bare foot or with a thin sole foot wares. Lonavala is the best example of the nature beauty spoilt by Human intervention. Soon we climbed down the hill, and started towards the tiger falls.

 
Bhushi Dam trek - green all the way
View of the lake from the Bhushi Dam trek
Bhushi Dam trek
Tiger falls is very near to the Lion point, and can be accessed with a steep walkway down the hill, it was quite slippery and heavily crowded. One can actually take bath under the falls, as it is not a high running water. 
Tiger falls
Finally we stopped for the best for the day, the Lion point. The view from this point is amazing and vast with a complete panoramic view of the valley below and a beautiful waterfalls at a distance.
Throughout the stretch from the Lonavala Lake till the lion point, there are number of waterfalls descending from the hills.
The water stream near the Lion point which later descends into the valley
A small Waterfalls at the lion point ascending upwards due to the force of wind blowing from downwards, a rare view

Waterfalls at a distance as seen from the Lion point
Lion point
Mist covered hills at Lion point
Dead-Living

June 2014 visit:

Back to my second visit we stopped at the lion point and was pretty disappointed to see the dry valley and the sun was also raised up without any signs of clouds. Had some masala corn here and had a long walk around the fencing line before ending at the road. Not much exited after the recent visit to Mahabaleshwar, we headed towards Khandala. The total distance from the Lonavala town to Lion point is about 11km.
Lion point during June, the waterfalls here is dried up

Khandala

Khandala is another hill station just about 5km from Lonavala. The valley at Khandala are more complex and high in altitude.

The attractions in Khandala are quite confusing to be reached due to the Mumbai-Pune highway crossing the valley. Some of the popular ones include Rajmachi garden, Dukes nose, shooting point, and Kune falls.
We started towards Rajmachi garden and view point but ended up nowhere on the highway, and took the service road and headed back towards Lonavala. On the route had stopped for a view point, which had pretty much similar view as Rajmachi garden. The view from here was wonderful, with Kune falls at a distance and the river flowing below the Tiger Valley forest. Having had a decent view of the Khandala, we were feeling better to see greenery here with a waterfalls as compared to rather dry Lonavala. 
Khandala Valley
Kune Falls
On the way back to Lonavala, we stopped at Khandala lake, for some time. The water here was not clean, so didn’t spend much time over here and headed towards our next destination, chosen dynamically with the help of Google and mobile network, it was Lohgad Fort. 
Khandala Lake

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