Away from the crowd and hustle bustle of metropolitan cities, Lonavala is a serene and charming destination for a peaceful holiday retreat. It is dotted with dense forests, waterfalls, dams and lakes, picturesque surroundings and beautiful hills. The name Lonavala comes from the Sanskrit words Len and Avali which mean a stone carved resting place. In the olden days, Lonavala was a historically important city during the reign of the Yadavas dynasty. The Mughals took over Lonavala when they realized its strategic importance. Then it came under the control of Marathas and Peshwas which led to the establishment of several forts in this area. Finally, the British rulers took over the control of Lonavala from the Maratha rulers. Blessed with natural beauty and several historically important forts Lonavala is a place that is worth exploring.
Karla caves are one of the most famous early rock-cut architecture in India. The caves are on a chain of hills on the Indrayani Valley and they are a perfect example of architectural brilliance. These caves were developed over two periods - 2 BC to 2 AD and 5 AD - 10 AD. There are 16 rock-cut caves and a Buddhist monastery. The 8th cave is the grandest and largest chaitya Griha in India.
Bhaja caves are popular Buddhist caves of Hinayana faith. These caves are very popular and they are protected by the Archaeological Survey of India. Bhaja caves are a group of 22 rock-cut caves dating back to 2 BC. These caves are situated at a height of 400 feet above the Bhaja village and they are similar to Karla caves in style and architecture. The 14 stupas are found here which are considered to be the relics of the monks who were the resident of the caves and died at Bhaja.
Lohagad Fort, also known as Iron Fort, is a historical fort situated alongside the Sahyadri Hills. It is not just historically important but also one of the most popular and most visited spots in the Lonavala tour package. It is perched on top of a hillock at a height of 1050 meters and it separates the Indrayani Basin from Pana Basin. This fort was built in 1564 to serve as a prison and Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji captured it in 1648. But he was forced to surrender it to the Mughals in 1665 and then he recaptured it in 1670. The fort is in the shape of a scorpion's tail with four entrances and the main entrance has exquisite sculptures. The fort offers a bird’s eye view of Karla Caves, Bhaja Caves, and Pawna Lake.
Visapur Fort was built to guard the Lohagad Fort and has an impressive fortification. This fort is famous for its protective walls and intricate designs. It houses several structures like caves, cisterns of water and ruins of a large house built of stone known as the Peshwa's Palace. It has several temples scattered all over and a huge carving of Hanuman. The fort was built by Balaji Vishwanath, the first Peshwa of the Maratha Empire. In 1818 British captured this fort along with Lohagad Fort.
Tung Fort, also known as Kathingad Fort is also a hill fort. Kathin in Marathi means difficult and it is very challenging and difficult to climb the hill and reach the fort. This fort was built by the rulers of the Adil Shahi dynasty before 1600 and later captured by Chhatrapati Shivaji. It served as a watchtower and distracted the enemy before attacking Lohagad and Visapur Forts. It is a conical fort with fortified walls, ramparts, and bastions
Rajmachi Fort which overlooks Bor Ghat was a strategic fort to control Bor Ghat. The fort was built by Satavahanas and Chhatrapati Shivaji captured it in 1657. Aurangzeb captured it in 1704 but the Marathas regained control of the fort in 1705. Finally the British took over the fort in 1818. The fort complex consists of two citadels, Shrivardhan and Manranjan forts. It has huge ramparts, strong walls, massive gateways, residential units, water reservoirs, administrative centers and secret gates for the exit. Kaal Bhairav Temple is situated in the gorge between Shrivardhan and Manranjan Forts. The entire region looks beautiful in the rainy season with several waterfalls, lush green forests, and meadows. The Rajmachi Point lies opposite the Rajmachi Fort and it offers spectacular views of Rajmachi Fort, the surrounding valleys and waterfalls.
Tikona Fort, also known as Triangle Fort, is a dominant hill fort built in a triangle shape. This is a small fort found near the Pawna Dam. This fort was under Chatrapati Shivaji's control from 1657 - 1670. This fort has many lakes and tanks which served as the main source of water. Tikona Fort houses the famous Trimbakeshwar Mahadev Temple along with Buddhist and Satavahana caves. Tung Fort, Pawna Dam, Lohagad Fort, and Visapur Fort can be viewed from this fort.
Korigad Fort is another fort which was under the control of Chhatrapati Shivaji and later went into the hands of the British. This is still in good condition and it is well maintained. There are many temples, cannons and small caves in the fort. The Korai Devi temple in the fort complex has been renovated recently. There are lakes and bastions inside the fort.
A visit to the scenic Bhushi Dam is included in the Lonavala package. Bhushi dam was built in the late 1860s on the Indrayani River for the Great Indian Peninsular Railway as a source of water for their steam engines. In the rainy season, the dam overflows over a series of steps and then over some rocky terrain. It is a picturesque location that looks stunning in monsoon and attracts a large number of tourists.
Lonavala Lake was built in 1876 and it is sourced by Indrayani River. This lake mesmerizes the visitors with its simple and charming beauty. It is popularly known as Monsoon Lake as it is brimming with water during monsoon and dries up during winter. Kune Falls is a scenic waterfall against the stunning backdrop of the Sahyadri Mountains. It is a three-tiered waterfall with water cascading from a height of 200 meters. The place is surrounded by lush green vegetation and attracts tourists in the monsoon season when the waterfall is at its peak and it flows down with a huge gush.
Ryewood Park in Lonavala was once a Botanical Garden created by Mr.Rye, an English officer. Now it has been converted into a park of over 25 acres of manicured lands with sprawling lush green lawns, tall trees, and flowering plants. Lonavala holiday package is a perfect option for a weekend getaway and it will be enjoyed by people of all age groups. Lion's Point is a popular viewpoint among tourists. The picturesque view from this point displays dozens of small waterfalls, lush green hills and lakes during the monsoon season. The sunrise and sunset views from this point are just mesmerizing. The Duke's Nose is another place from where you can have a panoramic view of the beautiful Sahyadri ranges, splendid valleys and dense forests that cover the Sahyadri. Duke's Nose can be seen from the Lion's Point. The name Duke's Nose is from the Duke of Wellington, whose nose resembled the shape of the cliff. The locals call it as Nagphani or the Cobra's Hood.
As Lonavala is filled with picturesque landscapes, majestic mountains, low lying clouds, scenic waterfalls and fabulous greenery it has become a perfect place for honeymooners. Lonavala package for couples have become very popular as this serene and mesmerizing location is ideal for the couples to relax and enjoy. Lonavala is the best destination for adventure lovers as well as for couples who enjoy trekking and history lovers who enjoy visiting historical forts. To experience the beauty of Lonavala and relax in this picturesque location contact Indian Visit to help you plan a trip.