The Land Of Forts & Hills
Lonavala is a hill station surrounded by green valleys in western India near Mumbai. In 1871, the Lonavla hill station was discovered by Lord Elphinstone, who was the Governor of Bombay Presidency at the time. The forts in the region played an important role in the history of the Maratha and Peshwa empires. The Maratha Empire was an Indian power that existed from 1647 to 1818. The Marathas are credited to a large extent for ending the Mughal rule in India.
After a few days of planning, I decided to visit the land of Forts and the monsoon is the best time to visit Lonavala. It was 26th July’2017 when I started my journey from my hometown Guwahati to Pune by evening 5 pm. As there was a halt of 2.5 hrs. at Bengaluru airport, I arrived at Pune at around 12 am on 27th July. I hired a taxi to reach my next destination (My friend’s* apartment) where I spent the night.
I woke up in the early morning, and it was raining outside which made the weather perfect for the trip. I spent the whole day roaming in the streets of Pune having Chai, Poha in roadside stalls. Rain did not want to stop, which made me wear a raincoat all the time. My 3rd trip partner* arrived at 9 pm And very next day morning I left for the 1st location. On the way, I picked up my 4th trip partner.
The Karla Caves, are a complex of ancient Buddhist Indian rock-cut caves at Karli near Lonavala.
After exploring the inside out of Karla Caves, I headed towards my next location Pawna Lake. I arrived at Pawna lake at around 6 pm and since it was raining, also roads were getting darker I booked a room in the Lake View Resort. The resort was a very beautiful place to stay and the view of the lake from there was just mesmerizing. After having some really good food, decided to take some sleep as the next day is going to be full of trekking.
This lake is one of the most attractive places in Lonavala. One should experience monsoon here if he/she ever visits Maharastra. The cold wind of the morning really blew my mind, beautiful memories came alive while sitting alone by the lake.
By around 11 am I left for the great Lohagad Fort, which is approx. 1.5 hrs. journey from the lake.
Lohagad is part of the Western Ghats. The best season to visit here is the monsoon. It rises to an elevation of 1,033 m (3,389 ft) above sea level. Lohagad has a long history with several dynasties occupying it at different periods of time. Shivaji Maharaj captured it in 1648 CE, but he was forced to surrender it to the Mughals in 1665 CE. Shivaji recaptured the fort in 1670 CE and used it for keeping his treasury. Later in Peshwa time Nana Phadnavis used this fort for living for some time and built several structures in the fort such as a big tank and a step-well.
The best part was trekking to the top of Fort. I enjoyed it and took 1 hr to reach the top. The steps were slippery due to continuous rain. Water flowing down through the steps making it more slippery. When I reached the top, I was in between the clouds. View from the top was breathtaking. The step well, The Mandir made by rulers many years ago were appreciable. The tunnels were astonishing. I spent almost 3 hrs. at Lohagad fort top and then decided for descending. At some turnings descending was a bit difficult as water continuously flowing through the steps.
After completely descending from the fort, I took a small food dish and take rest for a few minutes. I did not have much time to visit other Forts, so leaving memories behind I left for my next destination which was far from the fort. Nearby beautiful places to visit in Lonavala :
– Visapur Fort
– Tikona Fort
– Korigad Fort
– Bhaja Caves
– Tung Fort
– Scorpion’s Sting
and many more…
Matheran is a hill station, in the west Indian state of Maharashtra. Motor vehicles are banned, and many visitors arrive by narrow-gauge railway on the 1907 Neral–Matheran Toy Train. it is located on the Western Ghats range at an elevation of around 800 m (2,625 feet) above sea level. It is about 90 km from Mumbai, and 120 km from Pune. It is Asia’s only automobile-free hill station. Almost 3 hrs of the road trip, then I arrived at Matheran base. As already said, cars are not allowed to go to the market area, so the car was parked in the parking area. To reach main market, either you have to walk or you can rent a horse for the ride. I took the horse ride, as that was for the first time in my life I got an opportunity to ride a horse and I did not want to lose it at all. I felt like a King (King of the West). After 30 mins of riding, I stopped at a resort and booked a room for two days. The resort was surrounded by trees, only two small paths connect it to the main market. And the night became darker, and I fell asleep after having some food.
Day 4: 2nd Aug
Next day after taking a cup of chai with toast, I headed for the first location Charlotte Lake. This Lake is a source of water supply in the village. Whenever the lake overflows a waterfall start flowing through the clouds.
Echo point, Louisa point and all viewpoints were incredibly beautiful. I had continuously trekked for almost 4 hr. In between I took some Maggi, it was available in roadside small food stalls. I was so tired that after trekking I came back to resort and take some rest then again visited the main marketplace from where I bought some local traditional bags for my loved ones. And as my time for returning was not so far, I enjoyed the evening with 3 partners and on very next day morning I left Matheran.
Without any stoppage, I reached Pune and started packing. Sitting inside the cab, I was thinking of last 4 days of my life which would not be the same after a few hours. The trip was awesome, places, foods, road everything was perfect. Goodbye Pune.
If you love to travel in the rainy season, then Maharastra is one of the best places in India to be visited.
Do & Don’ts during trekking (Especially in monsoon) :
– Must wear trekking boots as steps or ground become more slippery.
– Raincoats should be available for both you and your camera.
– Do not take heavy items as it makes you more tired.
– Small halts are very necessary.
– The water bottle is a must to carry.