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Old 8th August 2006, 12:18   #1
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Default My take on Lonavala...just before the rains!


At a distance of just 120 kilometers from Mumbai is Lonavala – the much adored, abused, frequented, clichéd hill station since time immemorial. It is the place to chill out when you are at a loose end, not knowing what to do for the weekend or generally bored any time. Just hop on to either your vehicle or take a bus or train to ‘the’ destination. If you don’t have a booking to stay overnight, no problem. You can either spend the day and return in the night or spend the night in some place of your choice provided you are not very picky.
It was precisely such an occasion that I landed in Lonavala just before the onset of the monsoons. Had nothing to do and had no booking either.

Left the hot urban grime of Mumbai early Saturday morning and landed in Lonavala in an hour and a half. Loafed around generally, had a leisurely breakfast in ‘Ramakrishna’ and set about looking for a place to dump my overnighter as had decided to stay away from the city for a couple of days. All the hotels/motels along the Mumbai-Pune highway at Lonavala were full. So I ventured onto the other side across the bridge where you will find the famous ‘Cooper’s’ – the fudge people, very close to the Lonavala railway station.
Instead of going towards the railway station, I turned right at the small circle and moved on. Soon on the right-hand side, I spotted a few quaint cottages freshly painted in white with red arches. They looked very pretty in the wooded area with plenty of trees.

The ‘Shivshanti’ hotel turned out to be an MTDC (Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation) approved destination and they had cottages to spare! The rates were very competitive and the staff very friendly and cooperative. Without any further ado, I checked in and the rooms were very spacious and clean with fresh linen – worth every paisa that I had been charged. All the cottages had a small balcony with a view. After having refreshed myself, I plonked myself there to unwind the city clock and release the stress. There was plenty of greenery around and this at a time when monsoons were about to set in. So one can imagine how beautiful the view would be a few weeks into the monsoon. Had my lunch right there and a nap later, in the evening, drove towards ‘Bushi dam’ – another famous touristy place especially in the rains. But my destination was a few kilometers ahead of the dam. There is a slightly steep climb onto a hill and all of a sudden, this beautiful sight appears - it is heavenly.

There are hardly any people there, fortunately, and one can select the best spot on a cliff to sit and drink in a fabulous sunset! Apparently, this is called ‘Lion’s point’. This information was supplied to me by another spectator who too did not appear very sure about the name. However, if you wish to go there, just go a few kilometers beyond the crowded Bushi dam and you will find the heavenly sights unfolding right before your eyes. The name is immaterial.

This is a sight worth traveling all the way. It is guaranteed to de-stress, rejuvenate and maintain your mental hygiene!

Last edited by magiceye : 8th August 2006 at 12:22.
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