It was just another Sunday when I got a message from a colleague asking to pack a bag and meet him at a defined place. I reached the place in about half an hour to find an Innova waiting for me. The car was occupied by other office Junta (people) and there was one seat was left for me. And thus began a surprise road trip to Lonavala. So at 12 noon on Sunday we started our 90 KM trip. The agenda of this trip was to see the sun set at Tiger Point.
It was my first road trip to Lonavala (I had only traveled by train, before this). The route via Mumbai Pune Expressway is enchanting in itself. I recommend every traveler to try this drive at least once.
Our first destination was Bhushi Dam. As it was the month of October, the dam was completely dry with very few people around. If you manage to reach here by 3 the surprise you will get to see is the place is sunny & shady at the same time. You might have seen this combination millions of time but Bhushi Dam defines this beauty in its own way.
The second destination was Tiger Hill.Words can’t define the beauty of this place.The beauty will make you hush and just sit their calmly, taking in all that’s around. Your mind rejuvenates. It’s hard to believe that a place so close to nature exists so near to Mumbai. We waited for the sun to set. The color transition of the sky from white to orange to dark is still alive in my eyes. By evening it becomes chilly.
We left at around 7:30 and reached back around 10.
The locals sell Sweet Corn and its related dishes in abundance and its available through out the year. The other snacks available are Corn Pakoda, Onion Pakoda, Samosa, Vada Pav.
Lonavala is very near to Mumbai (90 KMs by road & 96 KMs by train) and one can reach their either by train or by booking a private car (both approximately takes 2 hrs). The fare by train varies from Rs.65 (General & 2nd Sitting) to Rs 260 (AC Sitting) per head. Hiring a car depends on the vehicle but one shouldn’t pay more than Rs.4000 for a round trip. From station to various points, auto’s are available, they charge from Rs.150 to Rs.700 based on the number of sites you want to visit.
I visited Lonavala during both Rainy & Autumn season and below are the differences I noticed:
1. Lonavala is extremely crowded during monsoons (Jun – August), however Bhushi dam remains a good visit for this season.
2. It rains almost 24×7 during the monsoons and every frame which you see is popped up in all shades of green. That is one side of Lonavala you might not want to miss.
3. Always opt for a train ride if you are visiting during monsoons. The scenery and the ride are quite the highlight.
4. Lonavala is extremely different in the two seasons, making you feel you visited two different places each time.
Lonavala definitely calls for a weekend one day trip. One barely needs to spend Rs.500 to enjoy such beauty. You can visit it any time of the year but to see its true beauty monsoons are the time to be at this hill station. Also never forget to buy Chikkis on your way back home.