They say travelling opens your mind to different perspectives and to energize my soul, I decided to make a Lonavala trip and embrace its beauty. Nestled in the state of Maharashtra, the beautiful hill station of Lonavala is all about celebrating life with lush green hills, trekking expeditions, adventure sports and so much more. So, are you ready to embrace my Lonavala tour? Let’s go and check out everything that you need to know about this absolutely stunning destination.
How to reach the location?
You can take a flight to Pune and land at Lohegaon Airport, the nearest to Lonavala. It is 64 Km from here which you can either cover by car, bus or train.
Lonavala is reachable from the major cities of Mumbai, Pune, Nashik and others. It is always a great idea to take a train early in the morning so that you can manage your check-in to the hotel.
Lonavala is well connected through roadways, and you can either take a bus which takes around 4 hours or opt for a road trip with your friends or family.
For my Lonavala trip, I took Deccan Express from Dadar at 7:13 AM and thoroughly enjoyed the journey. While I didn’t opt for AC due to favourable weather, you may choose the AC coach for a more comfortable journey. Do not forget to try tempting hot Vada Pav from the hardworking vendors at the Kalyan Station.
I reached Lonavala by 10:10 AM to mark an exciting journey this time!
Some Leisure before the Day Begins!
I absolutely didn’t want to start the Lonavala trip as a hassle. Some holidays are not about running but rejuvenating. With such an amazing room that I found on Treebo hotels website, I was all set to enjoy my breakfast. As I entered the room, I took a nice nap because I just could not stop finding comfort in linen beds topped with the cleanliness of the room.
You know, the smell of hotel rooms hits the brain and you never really smell it elsewhere. It’s literally an emotion!
Satisfying Taste Buds at Buvanchi Misal
My Lonavala trip would have been incomplete if I did not live and eat like a local. It’s quite intriguing to know about the culture, practices and cuisines of any place so I didn’t hesitate to grab the moment by visiting a local cafe or an eatery. So, that’s what I did!
I got to know about Buvanchi Misal from the hotel staff and immediately called the auto driver. As I reached the place, I could see how it was filled with locals, tourists, families and people all around. To my discovery, the place was pretty famous and had been serving authentic misal pav for ages! I ordered it and oh! It was mouth-watering.
You might have eaten the spicy misal but trust me, this one was a soothing balance of crunch, smooth texture and fusion of spices. It is a must-try here! Apart from this, I tried their famous buttermilk, and it was mind-blowing to witness the pureness in preparation. The place also had other food items including Vada Pav, Sol Kadhi, Kanda Bhaji and more.
Time for Tips
- Sundays are super busy here, and you might feel rushed during the busy hours. Avoid them!
What a palatable Maharashtrian lunch with beautiful people preparing it! I headed to my hotel for some rest and to get ready for the next adventure.
Also, check out 15 BEST THINGS TO DO IN LONAVALA FOR AN ENTHRALLING TIME
Saying Hi to Mapro Garden
If you have ever stayed in one of the hotels in Mahabaleshwar, you cannot leave without experiencing deliciousness at the famous Mapro Garden. To give a wholesome experience to travellers, the brand has created yet another Mapro Garden in Lonavala. My visit here was worthy enough with so many things to do at one location.
Let’s say the Lonavala trip did all the justification here as Mapro Garden is located near a long-stretched road where I could easily catch a glimpse of lush green mountains. The sprawling area is huge enough to experience solace, do some shopping and dive into a world of tranquillity.
To begin with, Mapro Garden has an enclosed dedicated shopping area where I could find loads of varieties of Mapro syrups, slushes and special Mojito mixtures. To my surprise, they had live counters all around that let you try the drink before buying it. Who doesn’t love free stuff? I literally enjoyed every drink, chocolate and cookie from here.
Time for Tips!
- Backpacks are easier to carry as the place does not have any dedicated area to keep your shopping bags while you roam around.
- It is best to first explore the garden because you wouldn’t want to carry your shopping bags all around!
What Can You Buy?
You can buy from a range of Mapro’s Falero jellies, candies, Mapro Syrups and the brand’s stuffed toys. You can also find products from other brands that include dark chocolate, white chocolate, a variety of cookies, nacho chips and a lot more.
My favourite ones are Mazzana Almond Dark Chocolate, Kiwi Syrup and a cute strawberry plush toy.
Oh, the story doesn’t end here! After a great shopping experience, I moved ahead to find a stunning view of a man-made waterfall with some colourful fishes swimming in the pond. If you are here, make sure to explore all the green surroundings and take a picture with the waterfall too!
The Lonavala trip simply got better with a huge space dedicated to delicious food. The food area is quite hyped due to the famous Strawberry cream. It was all flooded with cream and juicy strawberries, so I obviously could not resist. The cafeteria also has some great varieties of pizzas and sandwiches to choose from! You need to buy coupons first and might have to wait longer in queues during the peak season.
Food and drinks take time for preparation so it is best to visit the cafe when your hunger levels are not at peak.
Additionally, Mapro Garden also has a clothing shop where you can collect souvenirs or buy unique women’s wear for yourself. I did check it out, however, I found it a bit pricey. At last, I said goodbye to this beautiful place and headed for a comfortable rest at the hotel.
Time for Tips!
- You can easily find auto rickshaws from the gate itself so you needn’t worry about transportation.
- It is ideal to pay a fixed amount to and fro to avoid getting looted.
Enjoying a Relaxing Stroll
Day 1 of my Lonavala Trip was crazy enough with shopping, photography and scrumptious food. After a hearty meal at a local eatery, I went around the hotel for a walk. It was surprisingly amazing to find the hotel staff being responsible for my safety while I was out.
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Witnessing Serenity at Tungarli Lake
Tungarli Lake is a popular serene point in Lonavala, and since I didn’t go trekking, I really wanted to explore this place. It was a long walk from my hotel and so I opted for an auto-rickshaw early in the morning. What a beautiful lake it was!
After sitting here for a while, I tried some corn bhajjis and chai from the local stalls with really sweet vendors. It is recommended to visit this place in groups as it gets crowded with locals and the way to get here is also quite. I soaked in nature here and headed back to the hotel.
With all my hunger, I went to local restaurants and enjoyed a delicious meal compromising authentic Maharashtrian varieties. A heavy meal only inspired me to rest for a while in my oh-so comfy bed for a power-packed evening.
Baar Baar Dhaba
Old Mumbai – Pune Hwy, near manshakti kendra, Varsoli, Lonavala, Maharashtra 410401
Pune Near Jai Mataji hotel, Varsoli, Lonavala – 410401, Maharashtra 410405
Seeking Blessings at Narayani Dham
The Lonavala tour is specifically highlighted in my memories because of the Shree Narayani Dham. After the evening tea, I straightaway headed here. It is a divine temple with a beautiful statue of Goddess Narayani studded with glorious diamond-like shining jewels.
The temple is spread across a huge area where my eyes simply could not stop witnessing the open skies and abundantly sprawling gardens. The 4.5-acre land was decorated for a grand wedding in the presence of Gods and Goddesses here during my visit. My Lonavala trip was elevated as I stepped inside to ring the giant bell which is considered quite auspicious.
Time for Tips!
- It is believed that you should stand in the centre of the bell and just after you ring it, you can feel all the vibrations within you.
- I tried, and it worked, I felt different. It’s your turn now!
The temple has basic stay options. However, you can look for budget-friendly hotels in Lonavala for a comfortable stay. There’s a huge area to sit and immerse yourself in nature, and that’s what I did. Also, it is one of the best spots for photography on your Lonavala tour.
It was a fusion of mesmerising fountains, divine prasad and spirituality in the air. The experience was topped with helpful locals and calmness here. I then moved towards the right to find a cowshed where I fed grass to cows at a minimal amount of INR 50. You can do it too!
As I moved out, I could not stop myself from enjoying the hot Vada Pav and Chai from a local stall right opposite the temple. Also, it is the best spot to witness the Rajasthani architecture of the temple from a faraway angle.
I was done for the day and headed to the hotel for a scrumptious dinner and rest.
Exploring the Local Market for Shopping
It was time to say goodbye to this awe-inspiring hill station. However, I was taking home memories of an amazing travel experience. I checked out from the hotel and headed for a crazy shopping time during the last day of my Lonavala trip. I took an auto and headed to the main market near the station.
Your eyes are sure to be startled by the amount of chikki shops you will find here. Maganlal Chikki is the brand which set Lonavala to be the hub for chikkis; however, it is now difficult to identify the real legacy store.
Every store offers you a huge variety of chikkis, fudges and other snacks. However, my personal favourite is the scrumptious Chocolate Walnut Fudge, Mix Chikki and Sweet Jellies. I also tried the Rose Fudge and Mango Fudge and absolutely fell in love with them! Here are some of the best shops to start your shopping.
1/2, Markar Manzil, MG Rd, near Mavla Statue, Lonavala, Maharashtra 410401
Cooper’s Fudge And Chikkis
Coopers, opposite Viner Resort, near Laal Taki Ryewoods, Lonavala
Purohit’s Chikki & Sweets
Shop No.A1 To A4, Kumar Resorts, Old Mumbai – Pune Hwy, Takve Kurth, Rao Colony, Lonavala, Maharashtra 410401
Time for Tips!
- The auto drivers might try to take you to manufacturing units where you can get a discount; however, the taste is not upto the mark.
- Do not fall for discount traps without knowing the quality of fudges sold at these units.
Heading Back to Home
I literally wish I had a huge bank balance to literally buy so many nostalgic and international chocolate bars from here. However, I controlled my impulses and headed straightaway to the station. I took the train – Deccan Express at 4:25 PM for yet another scenic journey to home.
As I bid goodbye to my Lonavala tour, I promised myself to keep coming back for the thrilling adventures, soothing greenery and many unexplored destinations to visit!
- Auto-rickshaws are available for local travelling in Lonavala but fares are not decided by meter; you need to negotiate with the driver before heading to any location
- The basic cost starts with INR 100 and can go up to INR 350 – 400 if you travel to the market in between your journey
- You can explore places via walking however, it is difficult to navigate through maps and you might lose your way
- Always know if your hotel is near the East or West as the auto fare changes to a great extent if you step on the wrong side
- Always ask the auto driver to leave you near the market area for the station as you need to climb a lot from the other side
- Take the contact details of the auto driver and fix a good price for travelling throughout your Lonavala trip; it avoids too much negotiation with different drivers
- It is good to buy Mapro products from the original store for genuine quality
- Always ask the hotel if they offer a private cab facility to roam around in the city
- Always keep your maps on while travelling to be on track
- Don’t take any auto-rickshaw right outside the station; they are sure to charge higher than others. Get out of the station premises to find a reasonable price
- Auto drivers might offer to be your tour guide for a Lonavala tour covering different points but don’t fall for it before checking reviews and availability of the place
- Don’t roam alone after 8 PM as some parts of the hill station become quiet without locals on the road; it is all safe if you are in a group
Where did I Stay?
If I had to do a Lonavala trip, I was pretty sure of opting for a hygienic property. My second priority was to enjoy an outdoor swimming pool. So, I booked the hotel called Treebo Trend Five Elements through the Treebo website. I also got an amazing discount upto 5% and that literally made the day!
I took a standard room which was quite spacious for 2 people. Felt like I instantly dived into a world of tranquility and luxury, all away from everyday hustling life. The staff was courteous enough to help me with laundry and iron board service.
Let’s not forget the huge swimming pool which was all clean. I really didn’t expect that sort of cleanliness considering the number of guests the hotel had! The hotel simply exceeded my expectations and bang on, I am always booking this one. If you are planning for a Lonavala tour, this hotel serves delicious complimentary breakfast which you cannot miss.
I found it a bit lazy to go out and eat however, it was yet another way to explore like tourists so yeah, that’s a win-win deal.
Now that you have all the routes, hotel details and places to explore, go and enrich your holidays with a great Lonavala trip. Sometimes, all you need is a little time away from your occupied self.