Escaping Mumbai Rains: A Weekend in Lonavala
The monsoon is undoubtedly the best season to experience in the city of Mumbai, especially after the long spell of heat from the negligible winter through the summer months. However, as much welcoming as the rains are, there aren’t many ways you can experience the real bliss of the season, holed up in your homes or wading through the water-logged city streets. Perhaps, that’s why nature balances itself in places like Lonavala.
Every Mumbaikar’s favorite monsoon getaway, Lonavala is one of the perfect escapes from the city, when you want to bask in the season but don’t have time, budget, or energy to take off to a faraway land. Come monsoon, this little town in the laps of the Sahyadri Mountains put on a rich cloak of greenery, with fringes of mist, and taking on its most gorgeous look. So, how can make every moment of your weekend in Lonavala count?
Here are top 5 ways to have an ultimate monsoon break in the Sahyadris.
Turn the drive into a delightful experience.
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Even the roads that lead to Lonavala from Mumbai are equally charming as the hill station itself. While you could surely drive, it often deprives you of the views en route or enjoying the ride. So, to make it a vacation by all definitions, take a break from driving and get a car rental from Mumbai to Lonavala. For a change, you can forget about the on-road fuss and sit back and watch the landscape pass by, absorb the misty weather, read, or listen to your favorite playlist, thus making every minute of your journey worthwhile.
Ditch the typical hotels and stay somewhere unique.
Why stay in a concrete structure, when the idea is to escape the same? There are many eco retreats and unique resorts developed in recent years in and around Lonavala, to give you an exclusive experience. The Machan is one such property that can give you the perfect natural ambiance and yet, the comfort of luxury. Highly popular among travelers today, the retreat boasts tree houses and cottages built amidst thick clusters of deciduous plants and wild berry trees. Their all-glass bedrooms are suspended to give you uninterrupted views of hills and the rains. You can also find a similar environment at the Amazi Resort, near Pawna Lake. The rustic-style cottages on the riverside offer sprawling views of the lake on one side and the mountains on the other.
Camp at the Pawna Lake.
Camping in the wet and wild weather can be an exciting and unique experience. And there is no better place in Lonavala than the banks of the Pawna Lake, provided they are not inundated by the overflowing lake. That’s why the best time to go camping in during the early weeks of monsoon, when the rains aren’t heavy, or right when it’s retreating, in August. Also, visiting post-monsoon will also let you witness the endless fireflies that illuminate the nights. Pawna Lake also is no short of a masterpiece of nature. The crystal clear water remains calm all through the year and is an ecological hotspot with forests of medicinal herbs and wildflowers, water birds nesting along the banks, and shoals of fishes that spawn in the lake during this season. When camping, you can go fishing, boating, kayaking on the lake or hike through the trails to the nearby villages.
Do the famous monsoon trek to Rajmachi.
If you are seeking an adventurous monsoon vacation, then a trek to Rajmachi Fort is exactly what you need to get your adrenaline rushing. It is the most popular destination in Lonavala district among regular trekkers. Although it is open for treks all year round, the rains bring out a different look to its rustic silhouette with luxuriant surroundings. While at some points the climb is steep and can be arduous during the rains, it feels worth the minute you reach the top and soak in the breathtaking views of the Bhimashanker and Ulhas Rivers on one side and cloud-crowned Sahyadri Mountains on the other.
Dine with a view of rains.
Imagine sitting on a patio, sipping on piping hot tea or savoring fresh-off-the-grill barbecues, while the rains splash on the tiled roof. Isn’t that how a monsoon vacation should be? If you want to experience just that, frame by frame, head to the Kinara Dhaba off the Lonavala- Pune Highway. One of the best diners in the town, the village-themed restaurant draws hungry travelers of all kinds, and some even stop by just to get an experience of the place. While the completely open outdoors are off-limits in monsoon, you can sit on the patio or their signature swinging seats and enjoy a meal with a view.
- If you are planning to do local tours or short trips around Lonavala, make sure to rent a car in Mumbai with an experienced driver, who knows the roads and can detour in case of blockades due to rains.
- Monsoon is the peak season in Lonavala, so book in advance to avoid high charges and unavailability of accommodation options.
For serious monsoon treks, always sign up with a professional trek group for a safer and better experience.