Lonavala & Khandala

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Sightseeing in Lonavala & Khandala

Lonavala :

Bushy Dam about 6kms from Lonavala is favoured tourist spot. When the water levels of the dam rises the water spills over and manifests into a small waterfall and picnickers like to sit on the steps and feel the cool water gushing over them. One word of caution though, be careful as the force of water tends to increase suddenly.

Tiger's Leap near INS Shivaji is a curiously shaped cliff - a sheer 650 m drop into the valley. From the top one gets sweeping views of the sylvan landscape around.

Other than the scenic beauty of the area, the precincts of Lonavala and Khandala are liberally strewn with places of historical importance. Ryewood is a beautifully laid out garden interspersed with trees that soar to touch the sky it seems. Today the gardens are looked after by the State government but at one time this was where an Englishman Mr Rye lived and hence the name. Visit the Christian Cemetery which was the burial place of the British – unfortunately most of the old tombstones have been vandalized now.

Khandala :

The Duke's Nose is a cliff named after Duke Wellington - it is said that this cliff resembled his nose! One can visit the place by approaching from INS Shivaji and Kurwande Village. The spot is a vantage point for observing the scenic views around. This is also a great rock climbing area for the avid outdoor lover.

Dotted along the hillside are the famous caves and forts of Shivaji's Maratha kingdom. The imposing Rajmachi Fort can be approached only on foot as it sits surrounded by deep valleys on three sides and a thick forest on the fourth. Other equally impressive forts are the Manoranjan Fort, Shrivardhan fort, Visapur Fort, Lohagad Fort and the Tunga Fort with arsenals and guardhouses.

The three ancient caves found in this region date back to the early years of the first millennium. The Karla Caves were made in or around 160 BC and are the biggest ‘Chaitya Caves’ (prayer halls) here. The caves with viharas (monasteries) were excavated for the Buddhist monks who came here during the monsoons. The interiors have lion pillars, huge elephant forms, carved representations of Gautam Buddha and dancing couples. The entrance gate is in the shape of a "Peepul" leaf through which one enters the huge Chaitya griha or hall. This large hall is full of smooth stone pillars, which are carved with elephant and human forms and the roof is high and semicircular.

The Bedsa Caves are close to the Mumbai Pune Road near Kamshet between the towns of Kadde and Bedsa. Huge pillars, lions and humans forms and a large Chaitya hall with resting rooms is a speciality of these caves. A vaulted roof supported by 2,000-year-old woodwork and a big skylight provides lighting for the entire cave with the sun's rays falling straight on the inner sanctum.

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