Hotels in Lonavala (Maharashtra, India)
Hotels in Lonavala
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Discover the luscious hillsides around Lonavala
The renowned hill station of Lonavala is less than three hour’s drive from Mumbai on the main highway to Pune, enabling quick access to the mountains from two of India’s largest metropolitan areas. In close proximity to an array of stunning nature, Lonavala offers the perfect spot for escaping the city heat and enjoying the tranquillity of the surrounding hills. For many visitors Lonavala is just the gateway to the nature beyond, however there are ample sights and cultural highlights in the city itself. Lonavala therefore has a wide appeal and sees many demographics of tourist passing through.
Perfectly positioned between Mumbai and Pune
The Mumbai-Pune highway runs directly past Lonavala and as a result it is one of the most accessible hill stations in the entire country. Consequently, the city has a larger population than other hill stations and there is certainly a feeling of Lonavala being a small city rather than a large town. However, Lonavala should not be overlooked as a peaceful destination; within a few minutes’ drive up into the hillsides it is possible to feel like you are the only visitor in the area. Many visitors arrive by train as the city is positioned on the main line between Mumbai and Pune, this ensures there are plenty of daily arrivals and departures at Lonavala’s central train station. Conveniently the station is in the heart of the city and the majority of the central hotels at Lonavala are within walking distance of this. The bulk of commercial activity is surrounded along the strip that built up along the site of the old Mumbai to Pune Highway, this includes many of the modern hotels in Lonavala.
Plenty to see within the city limits
Although many of the reasons to visit the Lonavala area lie beyond the urban centre, there are also a range of cultural delights that can be found within the city limits. Firstly, the city is predominantly a domestic tourist destination and thus it presents a great chance to understand how Indians enjoy their vacations. The main commercial strip is filled with attractions and entertainment options such as the wax museum, plus there are endless stalls selling the local delicacy of Chikki. A rock-hard sweet made locally, Chikki provides a particular focus and memory of Lonavala for many visitors. Much of this central area is easily discoverable on foot or via a quick rickshaw ride from any of the central Lonavala hotels, ensuring it is possible to enjoy a day without venturing too far. Additionally, there are a scattering of local religious structures across the city, for instance the Church of St Joseph opposite the train station, or the Shree Narayani Temple to the north. For a glimpse of everyday life, the Lonavala Bazaar is a great spot to browse local market stalls, or simply step back and people watch.
Surrounding hills provide a tranquil retreat
The hillsides and nature surrounding Lonavala contain enough wonders, attractions and adventure activities to keep any visitor entertained for weeks. Thus, using Lonavala as a base can be a great way to explore whilst having the conveniences the urban city provides. That said, it is certainly possible to stay in a Lonavala hotel or homestay closer to the countryside and enjoy the tranquillity and peace. One of the most significant spots to visit is Rajmachi Point, a few kilometres back in the direction of Mumbai. Here visitors can witness panoramic views of the valley below as well as an overview of the historic Rajmachi Fort. It is possible to trek to many of the surrounding highlights but the city’s bus network can provide cheap and exciting ways to get out of Lonavala and begin exploring the forests, caves and wildlife on offer. Buses for instance head to Tiger’s Leap, another must-visit viewpoint which overlooks a sharp six hundred metre cliff edge. From here it is possible to trek into the fields and forest around to embrace the serenity and feeling of rural India.
Iconic cave complexes nearby
Two of the most famous attractions in the Lonavala and the number one reason many visitors come through the city, are the Karla and Bhaja caves. Both are located around ten kilometres west of the city in the hills on either side of the valley. The Karla Caves sit to the north of the highway and are considered the more impressive of the two. This complex contains a Buddhist temple of Goddess Ekvira Devi as well as multiple carvings and shrines throughout, all of which ensure that tourists and pilgrims alike come from across the state and beyond to witness their beauty. The Bhaja caves are also spiritual Buddhist sites with an array of attractive cultural and natural scenes, plus being significantly less visited, can also provide an air of peace and tranquillity for guests. It is possible to visit the caves independently, however there are plenty of tour operators offering transportation directly from any hotel in Lonavala for extra convenience.