Lonavala, a popular hill station in Maharashtra, has many tourist places to visit – picturesque waterfalls, charming lakes, forts and lots more. In this article, we list some of the best tourist places to visit in Lonavala and things to do.
Often called the ‘Jewel of Sahyadri’, this hill station, along with its sister hill station, Khandala, attracts honeymoon couples, families and friends and adventure enthusiasts.
By Air: To reach Lonavala by air, you can get down at Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport and take a bus or a cab from here. Note that the Pune International Airport is also very close to Lonavala.
By Train: The nearest railway station to Lonavala is Pune railway station. You can also take a train from Mumbai city and reach Lonavala in approximately one and half hours.
By road: If you are in Mumbai or Pune, you can reach Lonavala by car or local transport like taxis, buses are accessible easily from anywhere to travel. When traveling from both cities, you will have to travel on the Mumbai-Pune expressway, which is an experience by itself.
Tiger Point or Tiger’s Leap in Lonavala is a 650-metre high hilltop with a panoramic view of the lush green valley, lakes and waterfalls. Tiger Point is a must-visit tourist place in Lonavala. With clouds soaring in the vicinity, the green views are blissful, especially during the monsoon. Tiger’s Leap, locally known as Waghdari, resembles the shape of a leaping tiger, thus, the name. It has spectacular views of sunrise and sunset. There is a small waterfall near this viewpoint, which flows only during the monsoon. This scenic destination is also a great vantage point to appreciate waterfalls and stunning valleys that make Tiger’s Leap worth visiting in Lonavala.
Karla and Bhaja Caves in Lonavala are the best places to visit for history lovers. These Buddhist rock-cut caves date back to the second century BC and are around 8 kms from each other. Karla Caves have the most impressive single cave and the largest and earliest chaitya (a shrine/prayer hall) in India, which includes a stupa at one end. Karla Caves are the largest Hinayana Buddhist chaitya (temple) in India built during Satvahana’s rule. Some of its 2,000-year-old wooden beams are still intact. It takes nearly 20 minutes to climb up the steep way to the Karla Caves. There is a sculpture of a preaching Buddha seated on a lion-supported throne with grand carvings of three elephants. Perched at a height of 400 ft above Bhaja village, the Bhaja Caves are an architectural marvel of 22 rock-cut caves. These caves are unique as they have more than one stupa. The design is almost similar to Karla’s chaitya griha, which has a horseshoe-shaped gateway and images and sculptures of Lord Buddha. A wall carving of a woman playing the tabla reveals the use of the instrument in India even 2,000 years ago. The Buddhists built these rock-cut caves with viharas, stupas and chaityas as a shelter for travellers.
Bhushi Dam is one of the most popular and picturesque tourist places in Lonavala with a beautiful waterfall in the vicinity. Surrounded by hills, the flowing water of the dam makes a huge natural water park that rejuvenates the tourists. The view of the Bhushi Dam water overflowing over the steps and passing through the rocky terrain is captivating. Chirping birds, lush greenery and chilly waters attract tourists. Built on the Indrayani River, Bhushi Dam stands behind the hilly terrain between Lonavala and INS Shivaji. The dam is surrounded by alluring landscapes and rocky terrains. Swimming here is prohibited.
Dukes Nose is one of the best places to visit in Lonavala. Duke’s Nose Point offers tourists breath-taking views of the Khandala Ghat. The place gets its name from the Duke of Wellington. The Duke’s Nose is locally called Naagphani, meaning cobra hood. Duke’s Nose is known for its picturesque location, serene ambience, beautiful valleys and lush greenery. The Shiva Temple at the top is the ideal place to offer prayers and enjoy the lovely views. It is a popular place in Lonavala for trekking, hiking and rock climbing, especially due to the rocky terrain and long, narrow trails meandering through the dense jungle.
Pawna Lake, an artificial water reservoir, is the most-visited camping location in Lonavala. A tourist can enjoy nature and soothing climate, here. There are various forts near Pawna Lake, including Lohagad Fort, Tikona Fort and Visapur Fort. Apart from sightseeing, a tourist can opt for canoeing and boating. Monsoon is the best time to visit Pawna and experience greenery all around. Camping is a popular activity here and several travel operators provide camping packages near Pawna Lake. The tranquil atmosphere and beautiful views of the sunset make the place special.
The Rajmachi Fort is one of the top tourist places in Lonavala. The fort stands at a height of 2,710 ft above sea level and offers an amazing view of the Sahyadri Hills and the backwaters of the Shirota Dam. The Rajmachi Fort has witnessed several empires, including Shivaji Maharaj, Emperor Aurangzeb, Shahu Maharaj and the British regime. The fort has two Balekillas (twin fortresses) – Shrivardhan and Manaranjan – which were made to keep an eye on the surroundings and are the main attraction points. The fort has many ancient caves and temples, such as the Kal Bhairava Mandir, with few of them dating back to before the fort was built. This place offers soothing green views and is extremely popular among tourists, especially nature lovers and trekkers. Rajmachi Trek is nestled amid Lonavala and Karjat. There are two ways to reach the Rajmachi Fort. The trek from Lonavala is a 15-km flat walk (approximately) and the one from Karjat is a gradual climb of around 5 kms. The Karjat route has a steeper climb through a forest section and adjoins the Udhewadi village.
Situated in the centre of Lonavala, the Narayani Dham Temple is one of the most popular Lonavala tourist places. The beautiful white marble temple was constructed in 2002. The main deity of the temple is Maa Narayani with shrines dedicated to Ganapati, Hanuman and other Hindu deities. The entrance is a four-storeyed structure with fountains lining the pathway from the entrance to the temple. This stunning temple complex is spread over 4.5 acres and has a beautiful and well-maintained garden.
Sunil’s celebrity wax museum is one of the tourist attractions in Lonavala. The wax museum has around 100 life-size statues of national and international celebrities. The wax museum is just 3 kms away from the Varsoli railway station near the toll plaza. Sunil’s Celebrity Wax Museum is named after Sunil Kandalloor, an artist who specialises in wax sculptures. There are wax sculptures of people from fields of social service, history, art, literature and pop music. The statues include those of Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, BR Ambedkar, Kapil Dev, Charlie Chaplin, Narendra Modi, Saddam Hussein, Chhatrapati Shivaji and Shirdi Sai Baba.
Kune waterfalls are one of the most majestic forms of natural beauty in Lonavala for tourists. The falls are situated at an altitude of 622 metres against the Sahyadri Hills. It is a three-tiered waterfall pouring down from a height of 200 metres. The place is surrounded by lush green forests and provides a mesmerising experience in the lap of nature. Kune waterfalls attract tourists in large numbers during the monsoon when the waterfall is at its peak form and flows down with a huge gush. Apart from a refreshing dip in the cool water, you can enjoy a picnic with your loved ones and try adventure activities like ziplining and rappelling.
Tungarli Lake is one of the best places for tourists to relax and enjoy nature. The main water source of the lake is the Tungarli Dam of the 1930s, which is also a water source for the nearby hill stations. Tungarli Dam is a famous weekend spot. The lake provides a lovely view of Rajmachi and the Lohagad Fort. The lake has numerous resorts and attracts tourists for picnics and day excursions. Ideal for a monsoon trip, this tourist place has a breath-taking view of the lake and a garden, ideal for a walk. Those who love trekking and camping must visit Tungarli Lake.
At a height of approximately 26.4 metres and spreading over 1356 metre, the Valvan Dam also known as the gravity dam is built across Kundali river. The stored water makes up as the artificial Valvan lake. The Valvan Dam is the source for Tata Power’s Khopoli Power station. Note that entry to the Valvan Dam is restricted.
Ryewood Park is a favourite location among tourists, and has landscaped lawns, beautiful gardens and a children’s park. It is located in Siddharth Nagar near Lonavala market and was originally designed as a botanical garden but later converted it into a park after renovations. Spanning 25 acres, the attractions in the park include old tree species, flower beds, ornamental plants, a children park and a shiva temple. The park timings are from 8 am to 7 pm.
Nestled along River Ulhas, the Canyon Valley is among Lonavala’s famous tourist places. Rich in flora and fauna, the place is preferred by trekkers in Mumbai and Pune looking for a day trip nearby. Trekkers must walk down the valley and then ascend to return instead of ascending from the starting point. A waterfall at the end of the descent makes the location picturesque. The Canyon valley is located at Kune Village between Lonavala and Khandala.
Imagica Adlabs is an expansive theme park on Khopoli-Pali Road near Lonavala. Located over 130 acres, the entertainment park includes a snow park, a theme park and a water park, and offers ample entertainment options for all age groups. There are also themed restaurants, lounge areas, bars, and accommodations available.
- Starting from Rs 1,699 per person for theme park
- Starting from Rs 1,399 per person for water park
- Snow Park Rs 499 per person, Rs 399 as Theme Park or Water Park add-on
- Theme park open from 10:30 am to 7:30 pm
- Rides from 11:00 am to 6:30 pm
You can enjoy many outdoor activities in Lonavala. For those who love nature, there is a lot to do here. It has many options for boating, camping, adventure sports and trekking trails.
Lonavala, the enchanting hill station, is a favourite amongst adventure enthusiasts. Bhima Shankar Trek and Lohagad Fort Trek are the two most popular and beautiful treks in Lonavala, surrounded by meadows, valleys and mountain passes. The Lohagad Fort stands at an altitude of 1,033 metres above sea level and is popular for night treks. You can also plan treks to Rajmachi, which is ideal for both beginners and pro trekkers. While beginners can reach Rajmachi village and complete a half-an-hour trek to the fort, experts can begin near Karjat and complete the 3-4-hour trek to the peak, which is about 2,000 ft above sea level. Tikona Fort, also known as the Triangle Fort, is noted for its adventurous trail and spectacular views. Visitors can catch a glimpse of the Pawna Dam, Tung Fort, Lohagad Fort and Visapur Fort.
Rides at Della Adventure Park
Della Adventure Park is the most popular adventure park in Lonavala, surrounded by a gorgeous mountain valley. At the adventure park and resort, tourists can enjoy archery, rocket ejector, swoop swing (about 100 ft high), zorbing, flying fox, motocross, dirt bike riding, buggy ride, paintball and rappelling.
Shopping in Lonavala is synonymous with chikkis and fudges. Lonavala is famous for its delectable chikki, a traditional Indian sweet made from nuts and jaggery or sugar. There are chikki shops on every corner in Lonavala. The mind-boggling variety of chikki includes peanuts, rose petals, sesame, cashews, amaranth, chocolate and coconut. Cooper’s is the oldest shop in Lonavala for chikkis and fudge. Maganlal’s is another popular shop to buy chikkis in Lonavala. Chocolate-flavoured fudge is equally popular. You can also buy jams, jellies and syrups. Lonavala’s markets are full of shops selling colourful handicrafts, wooden figurines, trinkets, cane products, sweets and Kolhapuri chappals.
Besides yummy chikkis and chocolate fudge, there is a lot more to indulge in Lonavala. Tourists can eat in dhabas, restaurants and street food stalls. Chinese, north Indian and south Indian food are easily available. Gujarati and Maharashtrian thalis are equally popular. Apart from hot and spicy vada pav and roasted corn, you must also try Maharashtrian usal pav, made with sprouted lentils and beans in spicy gravy and corn and onion bhajiyas.
What is the best time to visit Lonavala?
Lonavala has pleasant weather all year round. However, the best time is during the monsoon (July to September) to experience the greenery and waterfalls. The climate ranges from 21-23 degrees Celsius.
Which are the best places to visit near Lonavala?
Karnala is known for its bird sanctuary that has more than 150 species of birds and an ancient fort constructed under the Devagiri Yadavas and Tughlaqs in 1400 BCE. Kamshet, 17 km from Lonavala, is a plateau atop the Sahyadri Hills. It is famous as a paragliding destination. Another place to visit near Lonavala is Aamby Valley City. About 25 km from Lonavala, this is an independently-planned hill station with lakes, luxury villas, adventure options and an 18-hole golf course.
Is 1 day enough for Lonavala?
While 1 day is fine if you just want to get away from the nearby Mumbai or Pune city, two days are needed for sightseeing in Lonavala and exploring scenic points, ancient forts, stunning waterfalls and lakes.