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Things To Do In Lonavala And Khandala
Lonavala and Khandala, two of the perfect vacation destinations of Maharashtra have an umpteen number of things to offer the eager tourist. There are picturesque view points, valleys covered with wildflowers and mist draped mountain peaks that snuggle forts and temples that speak volumes of the kings and warriors that trod their unhewn steps on the rocky mountain slopes. Grab a camera, pack yourself a picnic and saunter off to soak in the wonders of the quaint little towns.
We’ll tell you of the things that you can do in Lonavala and Khandala, the keepsakes that can be bought at the hill towns and the local cuisine that you can look forward to.
One of the most sought after adventure that tourists look forward to in Lonavala and Khandala is trekking. Some of the popular trekking trails of Lonavala and Khandala are the trails to Duke’s Nose, Lohagad Fort, Visapur Fort that offer a moderate trekking trail for beginners and the most spectacular Rajmachi trek. In monsoons and winters when the weather turns misty and cool, tourists go on a trekking and mountaineering trip up the mountain ranges.
One of the most popular and sought after trekking trail from Lonavala is the Bhimshankar trek. The trek goes past thick dense jungles and rivulets to the top of the peak where sits an 18th century temple for Shiva. Put on your trekking gear and warm winter clothes and march off on one of the most attractive things to do in Lonavala and Khandala.
Rent a tent and go off on a camping trip beside the rivers and streams of Lonavala and Khandala. Uksan Lake, Pawna Lake and Shirota Lake are apt places on whose banks you could pitch a tent. Camping trails are also arranged at Rajmachi fort base or Udhewadi.
Camping nights can be arranged in beautiful locales in and around Lonavala and Khandala. Enjoy a starry night out with family, friends or team mates, sitting by the river that ripples in the moonlight, watch the fireflies flitting by and swap adventure stories over a campfire. You could also hike to the villages closeby and spend a day out at the farms.
A visit to Pawna Lake is a preferred choice in the list of things to do in and about Lonavala and Khandala. The artificial reservoir presents a beautiful backdrop as the varied colours of the setting or rising sun falls on the waters. The lake gets pretty busy on holidays and weekends as it offers boating trips along the rippling waters.
The nearly picture postcard perfect lake is encircled by mountain ranges and far away you can spot the Lohagad, Tung, Tikona and Visapur forts on clear days. If you are ravenous after a boat ride, there are always the lakeside shacks selling fresh carrots and corn! An evening spent at the Pawna Lake is so mesmerising and worth a visit.
Once the summer has gone and the monsoon rings in over Lonavala, the dried up landscape perks up with gusto, unwraps a luxuriant green carpet with multitude of wildflowers underfoot and the streams and waterfalls get rain filled. Monsoons are the time for rappelling, a much sought after adventure sport in Lonavala and Khandala.
There are a number of places near Lonavala and Khandala where you can go rappelling with a rope and safety harness, grapelling against the gushing waters cascading down the slopes. Some of the best locations for rapelling and ziplining are Panshet, Bekre and Dudhiware Falls.
Come winter, the lakes and streams become home to a number of migratory birds. The dense forested regions and the mountain streams of the Western Ghats give shelter to several species of endemic bird species. Pawna lake and Singhad valley are some of the nature centric places where you can spot Large Green Barbets, Indian Great Horned Owls, Ashy Drongos, Spoonbills, Egrets etc.
Guided bird watching trips can be arranged for tourists who are keen on photographing wild species of birds. You could also trek off along untrodden paths, camera and binoculars in hand to watch the birds. The best times of the day to watch the birds are early mornings and sun set.
Go for a drive
Go for a long drive on a weekend getaway. Get to Kamshet, a small picturesque town about 16 km from Lonavala and Khandala. The Indrayani River runs along the town which has tiny villages, ancient hill fort and temples like the Sangameshwar, Wadeshwar and the enchanting Kondeshwar temple for Shiva. Surrounded by dense forested hills, the Kondeshwar is picturesque with a pond and a waterfall close by.
Visit the ancient Bedsa caves of Kamshet that is also popular for adventure tourism. If you are in Lonavala by October to May, and if you are interested in paragliding, visit Kamshet that has paragliding schools for beginners and celebrates a festival for paragliding, that's attended by adventure enthusiasts from the world over.
The mountain slopes of Lonavala and Khandala’s star attractions are their waterfalls, misty cascades that are a charmer! Lonavala’s Kune Waterfalls, the 14th highest in India, Reverse Waterfall where the air pressure pushes the water sprays upwards in a misty shower and Lonavala Waterfalls are exquisite masterpieces of nature.
If you would love an offbeat trekking trip to an amazing waterfall, then the Kataldhar Waterfall trek is just the thing to do. Pack up a picnic hamper and waterbottles, put on your trekking gear and follow a trekking trail through the aspalt road that leads down the valley and dense forests to the beautiful wild cascades of the Kataldhar or hidden waters that tumble down over the smooth sides of the cliff. It's lovely to just sit by the wet rocks and have a picnic, listening to the chirping of birds and the rush of the waters!
Lonavala and Khandala are offbeat tourist places where you would have plenty of exciting things to do, so shopping comes low on the list. But still there are things to buy and what comes foremost are the nutty crunchy chikkis and soft fudges of Lonavala.
Chikkis are a must buy and you would find a wide variety of them to choose from. You could also shop for Lonavala’s sev and fudge as well as wooden handicrafts and home decors. Key chairs made of wood, glass or crystal are another hot favorite, while sculptures and figurines, Kolhapuri slippers and locally designed garments can also be checked out.
Food in Lonavala and Khandala are quite cosmopolitan so you could get to eat South Indian meals, Maharashtrian thali meals as well as Chinese and Continental food. There are umpteen number of places in Lonavala and Khandala where you could get to eat the best cuisine that the hill station's got to offer.
Check out the restaurants for the local cuisine of Maharashtra and the shacks on the street sides that are dishing out the deliciously tempting hot corn, hot batata vada, samosas, varieties in vada pav, corn bhaji with pudina chutney, pitla bhakri, bhel Puri and gulab jamun. In summer check out Lonavala's mango lassi and fresh lime soda.