Here is a 24 hours itinerary for a quick getaway to Lonavala. This isn’t going to be a ‘visit all attractions and be everywhere’ kind of schedule. I just thought of sharing this plan because it turned out very well for me and my friends. Our aim was to go for small hikes, indulge in a beautiful rainy day in Lonavala, discover some of its tranquil places and spend time with each other. And we did just that without rushing into anything. If you are looking for a weekend getaway with friends or family, you can definitely use this itinerary.
What keeps bringing me to Mumbai?
Despite having visited Mumbai more than ten times, I had not been to Khandala and Lonavala before. Some how they were never on my agenda but I am glad I could make it there this time. Lonavala is beautiful. I think some trips don’t need much planning. They just happen when they have to. For the major chunk of the year, my husband has been in Mumbai for his official assignment and I have been joining him on and off. This is actually my fifth trip to Mumbai this year and I am not complaining because there is still a lot to explore in the city as well as in the neighborhood. The good part is that I have a cool gang of friends in here and that makes my work all the more exciting. Some one or the other is always up for trying something new. My sis-in-law who lives in Mumbai is shifting to Vizag and this Lonavala trip was our way of giving a farewell to her. We wanted to have a staycation and spend the whole day with her.
On Saturday evening, we thought of making a random trip to Lonavala, also called city of cave and a beautiful hill station of Pune, in Maharashtra. We had no pre-booking and no clue about where we were going to stay till few hours before the trip. It actually turned out more thrilling than we had thought. A friend used his contacts and we learned about some villas in Darshan valley. Saturday night was a tough call but thankfully, a villa with two bedrooms was available and he was ready to accommodate our late check-in and check out. Our excitement level knew no bounds. In no time, we packed our bags, pulled in knick-knacks, ordered a cake and stuffed ourselves in two cars. This was going to be one of the most memorable road trip.
Mumbai to Lonavala – All that we did!
I had heard a lot about the Mumbai–Pune Expressway, India’s first six-lane concrete, high-speed, access controlled tolled expressway and how it makes an amazing driving route in Maharastra. This was the time to experience it. In the night, I could not see much but the drive was straight and quick. It just took three hours for us to reach Lonavala. We started at 9 p.m. from Ghatkopar West and reached Sheetal Dhaba by 12 p.m, despite the heavy rains and choking at few points.
We ate our heart full and hung around till 2:30 a.m. at the dhaba which isn’t anything like a dhaba. Its a huge open air as well as closed restaurant. They have everything on their menu you can enjoy live singing and hookah as well.
From there, we went directly to our villa. It was a good buy at last minute. The ground floor had a living and dining room with kitchen. The top floor had two bedrooms. Everything was spic and span. The washrooms were equipped with basics. We really liked it and I would recommend Darshan Valley. This was a sober place to crash after some gossip and games with friends. And we played UNO for next few hours.
Next morning, it kept raining and we all got up late. After a poha and upma breakfast, we went around clicking pictures of the property and our gang. We really dint want to leave the place but I wanted to check out Tungarli lake and Valvan reservoir. The villa was closely placed and we just had to drive for 5 kms.
Tungarli is located on the trek to Rajmachi Village
Tungarli looked beautiful. There was greenery and clouds all around. It was very peaceful with hardly 10 people and few kids around. These kids run kiosks and quickly offered to make some maggi, tea, pakodas for us. It was raining on and off and we took shelter in one of the shops. Next we walked around to the view point from where we could see the city in the valley. No doubt, everything conspired to make it a serene atmosphere in monsoon. It was awesome place to visit with a beautiful view of Lonavala. The kids guided us to head further and check for a local temple and a waterfall on the Rajmachi village trek route. The surroundings of the temple were pictureque and a few meters away, the top view of Valvan lake looked surreal. It started to rain else I would have loved to sit around for some time. The views were not just photogenic but absolutely pleasing to the eyes and soul. Located 2 km from the center of the city, this Valvan Lake turned out to be a great find in Lonavala. It literally spells serenity and peace. The artificial lake was created by the Valvan Dam.
After basking in the beauty of the place and posing for some pictures, we drove down towards the city to took a break at much talked about German bakery in Lonavala. I had heard a lot about the different kinds of chikki and stopped at the famous Magan lal shop to indulge in some sweetness. Some coffee, muffins and pasta at the bakery rejuvenated us for the next run. We started to drive back towards Mumbai. The weather was just perfect for this picturesque long drive. We started at 5:30 from Lonavala and were home by 9 p.m. after taking a stopover at a friend’s place in Vashi. It had been a day of laughter, smiles and happiness in the lap of nature.
Photos of Darshan Valley, Tungarli Lake, Vanavan lake and Mumbai Pune Expressway
Let me take you on a photographic journey….
Tungarli lake makes a great background for pictures.
Do comment below if you do visit Lonavala soon and this itinerary turns out to be helpful.
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