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Travel Tips - Making the Most of Your Time in Lush Lonavala

Find a place to stay

Around 65 km from Pune, Lonavala is a peaceful and unspoiled hill station. Staying in 1 of the upscale villas or resorts dotted around the town and surrounding area makes for a truly memorable vacation experience. Misty waterfalls, cliff-top views, and picturesque hiking trails attract outdoor enthusiasts. Rock-cut Buddhist caves filled with ancient artifacts are fascinating to see up close.

Best time to travel

 

Lonavala is known for its temperate weather throughout the year and it remains relatively cool during the summer when much of India experiences scorching temperatures. But the heavy rains of monsoon season create rushing waterfalls, and turn hills and valleys deep shades of green. This is also the time of year when the town's lakes fill again and you can enjoy scenic picnics, fabulous trekking, or simply relax by the waterfront.

Not to miss

 

History buffs won't want to miss the ancient rock-cut Karla and Bhaja Caves, complete with elaborately adorned statues, and stupas (Buddhist shrines) created for monks who once meditated here. Tiger's Leap is a cliff with a 650-meter drop, where you'll see extensive views of the surrounding valley and a small waterfall. From the top of emerald-green Rajmachi Point you'll spot more waterfalls, as well as Tiger Valley, and Shivaji's fort. For anyone with a sweet tooth, a visit to Maganlal Chikki Factory's shop for traditional chikki (candy similar to nut brittle) is a must.

 

Getting around

 

The town of Lonavala is compact enough that most people choose to get around on foot, especially since it's a popular destination for trekking enthusiasts. But a bicycle or car comes in handy if you want to visit nearby sights that aren't within walking distance. You can hire inexpensive taxis to drive you places outside town: many hotels and resorts will be happy to assist with bookings. Regular rail services also connect Lonavala with Pune and Mumbai.

 

Cuisine

 

Local cuisine features rice, lentils, roti bread, and vegetables, with spicier options being the norm (although there are usually milder dishes on offer, too). Street food vendors offer delicious choices when you're out and about, such as bhel puri, puffed rice and crispy noodles smothered in chutney and yogurt. There are also restaurants offering not only Indian, but also Indian-Chinese fusion food, which blends flavours from Chinese dishes with vegetarian ingredients and Indian spices. Candies are also readily available, and Lonavala's popular varieties of fudge and chikki are treats you won't want to miss.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

In Lonavala, much like the rest of India, it's customary not to touch anyone using your left hand. Wearing tight clothing or showing shoulders, chest, cleavage, and legs isn't usually acceptable; looser fitting, full-coverage clothes are preferred. You should generally remove your shoes when entering someone's home or a temple. A simple way to know whether to take them off is to look for shoes lined up at entrances. It's typical for people in India to welcome someone by asking personal questions, even when first meeting. Asking questions in return is polite.

 

Fast facts

 

  • Population: 57698
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  • Spoken languages: Marathi, Hindi, and English
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  • Electrical: 230 volts, 50 Hz, plug type C, D, M
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  • Phone calling code: +91 2114
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  • Emergency number: Ambulance: 102; Fire: 101; Police: 100