A hill station located between Mumbai and Pune, Lonavala has become a weekend picnic spot for large number of families from both these cities.
The attraction to Lonavala is both distance and climate. After construction of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, visit to Lonavala is 2-3 hours drive from Mumbai and 1 hour from Pune.
distance of 65 kms through Expressway or through Old Highway (NH 4).
distance of 84 kms. through Expressway or Old Highway ( NH 4).
Regular ST and private bus services are available both from Mumbai and from Pune.
Lonavala is the railway station where almost all the trains moving both ways halt.
Nearest airport is Pune (65 kms) or Mumbai (84 kms ).
Sea Plane service started from Mumbai to Lonavala on 25th August, 2014. The 25 minute first commercial seaplane flight with six passengers landed in Pavana Dam near Lonavala on 25th August, 2014 beginning the seaplane service between Mumbai (Juhu Aerodrome) to Pavana Dam (Lonavala).
The service is operated jointly by Maritime Energy Heli Air Services Pvt. Ltd (MEHAIR) and the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation. The service will utilise Cessna 208 (9-seater) and Cessna 206 (4-seater) amphibian aircraft.The commercial flights will be operated between Mumbai's Juhu Aerodrome and Pawna Dam in Lonavala.
The 100-km Mumbai-Lonavala flight would take around 25-28 minutes, or one-fourth of the time taken by road at present. From Monday to Thursday, there will be one flight and on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, there willbe two flights a day according to MEHAIR officials.
Large number of resorts and hotels are available between Khandala and Lonavala like Basilica Holiday Home, Strand Hotel, Kumar Resort, Retreat Heritage, Kailash Parbhat, Lagoona Resort, Biji's Resort etc.
Bushi Dam is the most visited site in Lonavala, particularly during rainy reason. The water overflowing the Bushi Dam on the steps built around it provides an ideal platform for tourists to get wet and enjoy the scenario. I could see a lot of plastic and other waste strewn around in the water and along the sides by the ever growing tourists. The local authorities also appear to have turned a blind eye to cleaning the environment, if required, by charging the visitors.
There is a warning board at the entrance to Bushi Dam prohibiting swimming in the Dam/Lake but who cares?. There are no life guards around nor any authority to supervise swimming in the prohibited area.
Although pay and park areas have increased over a period of time, the ever growing traffic of motor vehicles makes it a noisy environment. There are changing rooms on hire around the Bushy dam area. It is a frustrating experience to drive from Lonavala to Bushi Dam and back during week ends and holiday seasons. The roads are norrow and vehicle drivers are over enthusiastic resulting in traffic chaos.
Another prominent spot to be visited is the Wax Musuem. Located at 2 kms away from the Bus stand on the Pune-Lonavala (old highway), the Wax Museum started by Mr.Sunil Kandalloor, sculptor, boasts of wax models of 37 prominent personalities from Politicians to Bollywood stars, to Religious heads, activists, musicians, cricketers and other personalities. It also promises to introduce another 27 wax models of different personalities. The wax museum has an entry fee of Rs.100/- per head, which is subject to change.
Other attractions around Lonavala are Carla caves (at a distance of 8 kms from Lonavala).
Shopping in the market area is restricted to leather items, chikki made from gram flour, jiggery and cashiew nuts. Nariman Chikki Mart in the market area offers variety of chikkis including sugar-free.
Lonavala is the best hill station preferred by city folks from Mumbai and Pune to spend week-ends and also holidays.