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What to See and Do in Lonavala - Rock-Cut Caves, Thrilling Treks, and Rejuvenating Retreats

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Lovers of natural beauty and trekking in scenic surroundings will enjoy visiting Lonavala. Exploring the area on foot gives you the opportunity to experience its lush green valleys, rolling hills, and crisp air, at a leisurely pace. You can finish your trek by visiting an ancient Buddhist cave, or by taking time to reflect at a world-class yoga institute and Ayurvedic healing center.

Karla and Bhaja Caves

 

Karla Caves are some of the largest chaitya (Buddhist cave temples) in India, where monks once stayed during intense periods of meditation. Built around the 3rd century BC, there are stupas (Buddhist shrines) and sacred inscriptions throughout the complex. Inside the Chaitya Hall here, you'll see many pillars, as well as teak-wood features, an impressive archway, and elephant statues adorned with jewels. Bhaja Caves, 24 km away, are a group of 22 caves built by Buddhist nuns around the 2nd century BC. Here you'll find more stupas and elaborately decorated ancient sculptures.

 

  • Karla Caves, Karla, Lonavala 410405, Pune, Maharashtra; Tel: +91 2114 282 230; Website: Karla Caves
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  • Bhaja Caves, Bhaja Caves road, Near Bhaja Village, Maval District, Pune 412106, Maharashtra; Website: Bhaja Caves

Majestic Bhushi Dam waterfalls

 

Bhushi Dam is a must-see during monsoon season, when heavy rainfall brings its gushing waterfalls to life. You may want to bring a picnic so you can take time to enjoy the idyllic landscape of emerald hills. The weather here is cool and although swimming isn't allowed, you'll walk away feeling refreshed and ready to continue trekking.

 

Ryewood Park and Shivaji Udyan

 

Ryewood Park's abundant gardens and ancient trees create a beautiful backdrop to wander through. There are also plenty of play areas for children, making it a popular destination for families. Plenty of fresh air, colorful flowers, and mature trees mean it's a great option for outdoor enthusiasts, too. In the center of the park you'll see Shivaji Udyan, a temple created for Lord Shiva, where Hindu devotees can stop to offer thanks and pray for blessings.

 

  • Ryewood Park, National Highway 4, Siddharth Nagar, Lonavala 410401, Maharashtra; Website: Ryewood Park

 

Lonavala Lake and River Indrayani

 

Lonavala Lake, also known as "Monsoon Lake," was built in 1876, and is surrounded by hills carpeted in green. Every winter the lake dries up, but during monsoon season it fills again and its banks become a popular spot for picnics. The holy River Indrayani runs through the lake and is associated with Saint Tukaram, a 17th-century spiritual poet, and Dnyaneshwar, a Marathi philosopher and yogi born in the 13th century.

 

Spa treatments and yoga

 

The opportunity to practice yoga and experience ancient Ayurvedic healing techniques is something you won't want to miss. Lonavala's clean air and tranquil surrounds make it ideal for learning yoga or deepening your existing practice. KaivalyaDhama is 1 of the oldest and most comprehensive yoga institutes in the world, offering several health and wellness programs. Its location within extensive parkland adds to its serene atmosphere. Nearby, The Shillim Spa has a meditation cave, a retreat center, a salon, and a yoga studio. You can choose between treatments to soothe your mind, body, and spirit.