Lonavala, a peaceful getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city, is a highly sought-after tourist spot in Maharashtra. Known as both the ‘Jewel of Sahyadri’ and the ‘City of Caves’, this hill station offers breathtaking views with its verdant valleys, stunning waterfalls, tranquil lakes, and fascinating caves. Its plethora of attractions such as historical landmarks, natural wonders, and spiritual sites never fail to leave a lasting impression on visitors. Here are some must-visit destinations in Lonavala that should be on your vacation itinerary for an unforgettable experience in this charming town in 2023. We have also included location details, images, entry fees, and the best time to visit for your convenience.
Best Places to Visit in Lonavala
1. Tiger’s Leap | Best Places to Visit in Lonavala
At a height of 650 metres above sea level, Tiger’s Leap is a prime tourist attraction surrounded by nature. Because of its shape, which resembles a tiger taking a leap into the valley, this vantage point is called Tiger’s Leap and is often visited by hikers and trekkers.
You can always pack a picnic lunch and head here to spend some quality time with your loved ones, and this beautiful spot has an echo point and a stream nearby.
2. Bhaja Caves | Best Places to Visit in Lonavala
National monuments include the Bhaja Caves, a set of stunning rock-cut caves. It is believed to be one of the oldest caves in India, dating back to the 2nd to 1st century BCE, and the fine Buddhist excavations in these caves date back to the Hinayana phase of Buddhism.
As you explore these caves, which primarily include Chaityas and Viharas, you may also take a refreshing dip in the nearby waterfall and take a tour of the lush surroundings.
3. Karla Caves | Best Places to Visit in Lonavala
Another popular tourist attraction near Bhaja Caves is Karla Caves, which are home to the largest and best preserved Hinayana Buddhist Chaitya in the country. One of the oldest rock-cut caves in India, the oldest dating back to the 1st century BCE, belongs to the Mahasamghika sect of Buddhism.
At Karla Caves, you will be enthralled by the fine motifs, sculptures, inscriptions, stupas, pillars, and 37-pillar aisle that boasts over 2000-year-old beams, some of which are still alive. You will also find a temple that was recently built using pillars from the Buddhist period at the entrance.
4. Bhushi Dam | Best Places to Visit in Lonavala
Bhushi Dam forms the popular Bhushi Lake and is one of the best places to visit near me for picnics with friends and family. You can sit and soak up the warm sunlight and enjoy the stunning views of the surroundings from this masonry dam on the Indrayani River, which can be accessed by steps.
During weekends, especially during the monsoon season, you may have trouble finding a decent spot to sit on the steps. Due to inconsistent water flow, swimming is prohibited here.
5. Duke’s Nose | Best Places to Visit in Lonavala
Because Lonavala is a hill station, there are plenty of vantage points, including Duke’s Nose, which is named after the Duke of Wellington due to its similarity in shape. As it resembles a snake’s hood, Nagphani is also known as Nagphani, and its peak is home to the Mahadev Temple.
In addition to impressing nature lovers with its picturesque location, this place offers long trails and rocky outcrops that are perfect for trekking, rock climbing, rappelling, and hiking. You can also go there for a fun outing with your friends and family as a picnic spot.
6. Tikona Fort | Best Places to Visit in Lonavala
This popular historical site of the Maratha empire is called Tikona Fort because of its triangular shape and elevation of 1066 metres above sea level. In the 1670s, Shivaji Maharaj regained control of the fort after it was captured by the Mughals and continued to be ruled by the Marathas (referred to as Vitandgad) until Sambhaji’s reign.
There is a broken temple inside the fort, a massive stone wheel, and a Buddhist cave at the top of the fort. The entrance to the fort is through a small cave, which leads you through a guard tower and five caves.
7. Pawna Lake | Best Places to Visit in Lonavala
With its spectacular landscape, Pawna Lake is a popular picnic and camping spot in Lonavala. It is formed by the impounded water of Pawna Dam, a perfect escape into nature’s arms. Besides being surrounded by natural beauty, this place offers a spectacular view of Lohagad Fort, Tikona Fort, and Tunga Fort, making it a great place for capturing memorable memories. You can enjoy motor and rowing boating here while picnicking, which enhances its appeal.
Monsoon is the best time to visit this place that abounds with incredible sights, but you can also enjoy barbeques on the lake during the winter.
8. Lohagad Fort | Best Places to Visit in Lonavala
When in Lonavala, you should not miss the Lohagad Fort (Iron Fort), another architectural marvel of the Marathas. Due to its strategic location at a height of 1050 metres above sea level, the hill fort obtained its name as an impregnable edifice. Over the centuries, this historic site has witnessed the rise and fall of many dynasties, including the Nizams, Marathas, and Mughals.
In addition to history buffs and nature enthusiasts, it is also popular with adventure seekers because of the trek to reach the fort, where you can see the Vinchu Kata – the Capricorn Hills.
9. Park Ryewood | Best Places to Visit in Lonavala
Ryewood Park, surrounded by landscaped lawns, lush gardens and a children’s park, is one of Lonavala’s most popular picnic spots. Originally designed as a botanical garden, this park was converted into a park after renovations.
Located on 25 acres, the park is filled with old trees, ornamental plants, flowerbeds, and many other plants. In addition to the Shiva temple, there is also a children’s playground with swings that keeps young visitors entertained for hours. So pack your picnic basket and go to this park to spend some enjoyable time with your family and friends.
10. Valvan Dam | Best Places to Visit in Lonavala
Rajmachi Fort, also referred to as Manoranjan Balekilla, is undeniably the top must-visit destination in Lonavala. Constructed by the renowned Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji, this historical landmark consists of two fortresses – Shrivardhan and Manaranjan – positioned at an elevation of approximately 3000 feet on a rugged hill in the Sahyadri Range to closely monitor the surroundings. The fort boasts numerous ancient caves and temples, including Kal Bhairava Mandir, some of which existed even before its construction. With breathtaking views of the lush greenery, this place is highly favored by vacationers, particularly those who appreciate nature and enjoy trekking.
11. Valley of Canyons | Best Places to Visit in Lonavala
One of the most beautiful places in Lonavala is Canyon Valley, located along River Ulhas and dotted with flora and fauna. Due to its unique route, the valley is a popular one-day trip destination for trekkers from Mumbai and Pune. Instead of ascending from the starting point, you need to descend to the valley and then ascend to the top.
In addition to the beautiful waterfall at the end of the Canyon Valley trek, you can also take a rest here to admire the surroundings and feel water droplets on your skin. After you feel refreshed, you can start ascending the trail. The picturesque route serves as a motivational factor, even though the climb is steep and a little challenging. Kune Village is located between Lonavala and Khandala.
12. Fort Visapur | Best Places to Visit in Lonavala
Constructed by the initial Peshwa of the Maratha Empire, Balaji Vishwanath, Visapur Fort holds a special place as one of the top destinations in Lonavala. Situated at an altitude of 1084 metres above sea level on the same plateau as Lohagad Fort, this magnificent hill fort boasts breathtaking views and attracts both history enthusiasts and nature admirers. It is also a favored spot for trekkers seeking excitement in serene surroundings, with its rocky trekking trail providing an unforgettable adventure that truly enhances the overall visit.
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