Travelogue #8 - Pune to Lonavala/Khandala

Its that time of the year when the monsoon casts its magical spell over the western part of India, ushering the mountains a heavenly 'green carpet' look. It is also the time in which people residing in the vicinity of Mumbai and Pune head out for their customary drive to the twin hill-stations of Lonavala and Khandala, nestled in the Sahyadhri ranges. Just type those names in google and you will know why we are relating the monsoon season with them. The search engine will throw up loads of pictures with the 'lush green' and 'wet' look that both these destinations are famous for. Very rarely do you get to see an image of these hill-stations when they are dry. We being who we are set out to do just that. We ventured out of Pune on a hot and sunny afternoon last December just to find out what Lonavala and Khandala have on offer when its not raining. And we waited until the next rains to bring out this travelogue. We are crazy, we know!

Though there are quite a few specific tourist spots and view points around, we chose not to do run-of-the-mill stuff and stopped at will wherever we wanted to. And, to our surprise, each of those places offered us magnificent views of the valley in-between. Yes, we have seen them wet and green virtually, but it was a visual treat to see them hot and dry as well. Apart from the magnificent natural beauty, it is also astonishing to see the engineering marvels in the form of expressway and railway lines, that kind of symbolizes the giant leap taken by man-kind. We are told that traveling through them would be a truly cherishable experience but we haven't done that yet and are saving it for a later day. Remember, we spent only an evening there and just couldn't do all these this time. It has to be said that the views from certain points in the Khandala ghat section on the old Mumbai-Pune highway are nothing short of exceptional.

Our next stop after Khandala was Lonavala. The main town is actually a bit of a mess with long traffic jams spoiling the ambiance. But, once you are past the center of the town, Lonavala proves why it is so popular. The atmosphere is serene, the climate is relatively cool (even on a hot and sunny day) and the views on offer are again excellent. If you have been stressing out with work and badly need a break, there isn't a more ideal destination to think of. Go take a break, munch a chikki for which Lonavala is very famous for, do a bit of shopping in any of the numerous shops along the road and just admire the view of the valleys deep below from the top. For those who seek a bit of an adventure, Lonavala and its surroundings are a paradise for trekking and rock-climbing. So, buckle up and start your ascent.

Whatever you do, do not forget to drive up to Aamby Valley from Lonavala and back. We have observed that the automotive media loves to test the super-cars in this stretch and used to wonder what gets them all heading towards this particular stretch. Its only after driving through this road and experiencing the fun in a humble Alto K10 that we realize how much fun it would be piloting the Porsches, Lamborghinis and Ferraris here. If your pockets are as deep as the Pacific Ocean, we have an even better suggestion than just driving through the road. Just go ahead and invest in a property in the posh Aamby Valley City, a megapolis being developed by Sahara India Parivar. Life wouldn't get any better than that.



* Total No of Days: 1 (04.12.2011)
* Vehicle Make & Model: Maruti-Suzuki Alto K10

* Odometer Start Reading: 11065 km
* Odometer End Reading: 11233 km
* Total Distance traveled: 168 km
* No of Toll Booths: 2
* Money spent on Toll: Rs. 42

* Total Quantity of Fuel filled: 11.85 l
* Average Fuel Consumption: 14.18 km/l
* Money spent on Fuel: Rs. 841.11

* Destinations Covered: Lonavala / Khandala
* Route Followed: Pune-Lonavala-Khandala-Lonavala-Aamby Valley



Forget the monsoons, Lonavala and Khandala make for great weekend getaways even without the clouds bursting. But, we admit that a fresh spell of rain does make both these places exponentially more beautiful than what they are. Based out of Chennai, we wish that there was something similar and as fun to drive this close, making for an ideal weekend drive. Trust us, we are already on the job of finding some great destinations in and around Chennai for a good drive over the weekend. Stay glued to Anything On Wheels, more so if you happen to be residing in Chennai!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Arvi;
    Really Nice Inforamtion.
    Just want to chk the K10 Fuel Economy Figures are they so low?
    The roads were really Good & Wish the Milage should have been better.
    Pics are Really Awesome.
    Pls add few line for the WAX Meuseum on the way to Lonavala.
    We must respect the Great Man Mr.Sunil Kandalloor to Bring this to India.

    Keep Going Aravind.
    Hope we have one More Travellouge in the same route in the Rainy Season