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Places to Visit Around Pune
Places to visit Pune

Places to Visit Around Pune

khandala in monsoonKhandala

Perched on the western slope of the Sahyadri mountain range, is the exotic hill station of Khandala. Only at 69km from Pune and 100km from Mumbai it is a hot tourist attraction that pulls a large city-dwelling crowd. Endowed with lush landscapes, meandering waterfalls and glittering lakes Khandala is the right pick for enjoyment and relaxation.

A witness to the Maratha, Peshwa and British rule this place is historically imminent as well. Stunning spots and viewing points equally enjoyable by the young and old has made Khandala one of the most popular stop for an enchanting escapade.

Best season to visit- October to May. Though in the monsoons, the landscape completely changes and is blanketed by freshness.

Durshet

Durshet, untouched by civilization, lies in the Raigad district 121km from Pune. Durshet has the Sarasgad fort on one side and the Amba river on the other which provides a breathtaking view of the majestic Sahyadri range. Boasting of calm river water,a dense forest cover and a tranquil atmosphere, this is the perfect place to find solace. With the onset of the monsoon, huge waterfalls sprout along the Amba river. A true delight for trekking! Apart from the adventure lovers, Durshet is a wildlife photographer’s paradise with its rare species of birds and butterflies. This unexplored destination is at its full bloom during the monsoons making it a romantic getaway for peace-seeking folks.

Apart from the challenging treks in the Ghat, rappelling and river crossing (February-March), river crossing( April- May) and rock climbing ( September to January) are some adrenaline boosting activities for the enthusiasts.

Along with the picturesque scenery, do visit the ancient temples of Shri Varad Vinayak and Shri Ballaleshwar Ashtavinayaka. Durshet is the perfect blend of serenity and spirituality.


Lonavala

lonavalaLonavala is a lovely hill station primly located on the Pune-Mumbai expressway which blooms into a magnificent lush green landscape during the monsoons. At 64km from Pune, it also well-known for its ‘chikki’. Lonavala got its name from the Sanskrit word Lonavli which means caves due to its proximity to ancient Budddhist caves.

Lonavala and Khandala, the twin hill stations nestled in the Western Sahyadris were discovered by Sir Elphinstone. Both these places held importance in the Mughal and Peshwa period and today are one of the most sought after picnic spots in the State. Together with the Karla, Bhaja and Bedsa caves, the Lohgad and Visapur forts, Lonavala comes in an adventurous and scenic package. Packed with people during the monsoons, is it ideal for a one day trip.

Unpolluted and serene, it is a romantic getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. Cool climate throughout the year and panoramic views of the Deccan plateau on one side and the Konkan on the other makes it an unforgettable visit.


Bhaja caves near Malavali Village, Lonavala

bhaja cavesThe buddhist excavations at Bhaja, also known as Bhaja caves, date almost to the 1st century AD and are believed to be one of the oldest buddhist religious centres in this area. it is also a big tourist draw as it is near Lonavala, but thankfully, because of its classification as a national monument, it is relatively well maintained compared to many other tourist attractions here.

 

 

 

Karla Caves near Lonavala

Karla and Bhaja caves are kind of sister caves, as in most tourists visit both of them in a single day as they are less than 10 kms apart. Karla caves are also of Buddhist origin and look similar to the excavations at Bhaja.
How to go to Karla Caves from Pune: Take the old Mumbai-Pune Highway (NH4) from Pune. Around 6 kms before Lonavala, you will come to a junction where right turn will take you to Karla and a left will take you to Bhaje. Few kms from this junction, you will climb up a small hill and come to the official parking at Karla caves.


Bhimashankar

bhimashankar templeBhimashankar is 110 kms away from Pune. The route to Bhimashankar is via Manchar. One can go to this place, full of natural beauty and lovely scenery, and be back to Pune in one day. Bhimashankar is a good paradise for nature lovers, trekkers, jungle lovers and bird watchers. It is recommended to visit the place for at least 2/3 days. The best seasons to go to Bhimashankar are monsoon and winter. There is a beautiful temple of Lord Shiva which is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in India. Lord Shankara after getting angry, killed Rakshas Tripurasura. The heat generated from their war caused the origin of river Bhima. That is why it is called Bhimashankar.

There are Buddha style carvings of Amba-Ambika, Bhootling and Bhimashankar in the hills of Manmod near Bhimashankar. This is at the height of 1034 mtrs. A big size bell in Hemadpanthi structure built by Nana Phadanavis is also a feature of Bhimashankar. Various places that could be visited in Bhimashankar are Hanuman Lake, Gupt Bhimashankar, Origin of River Bhima, Nag Phani, Bombay Point, Sakshi Vinayak and lot more. Bhimashankar is conserve red forest area and wildlife sanctuary where a variety of birds, animals, flowers, plants can be seen. A rare animal "Shekru" can be found in deep woods. Bhimashankar is worth visited for jungle lovers and trekkers as well as for pilgrims.


Lohagad

lohgadThis has got be the “Monsoon Trekker’s” favorite destination. Lohagad fort situated just 52 kms from Pune and is at an elevation of 1052 meters. It is a fort that is extremely easy to climb. This fort is the perfect destination for those who want to experience the natural beauty of the Sahyadris yet are not keen on going in for hardcore trekking.

The best part about Lohagad is that can be reached not only by a motorable road via the Mumbai - Pune highway but also by a local train. Take a local train fro Pune to Malavli station. The fort is situated at a distance of about 8kms from the station and takes two to two and a half hours to cover by foot. On the way to the fort you can take a diversion and visit ‘Bhaje Caves’. These are a group of caves that are a popular attraction amongst trekkers. The village of Lohagadwadi is at the base of the fort. Though there are no shops on the fort, shops selling snacks, tea, coffee etc can be found in this village.

The way to the top of the fort is via stone steps that are approximately 500 in number. The climb is easy and takes about an hour to complete. The view en route and on the top is spectacular. The nearby Visapur fort can be seen from here. The Monsoons especially turn this place into a nature lovers paradise. The whole fort turns a shade of bright green with waterfalls and streams at every nook and corner. The constant fog and mist add to the beauty.

There are several historic structures on Lohagad including the stone steps that are still intact and worth observing when on a trip here. These also include four large gates that are at various intervals on the fort. You will also find big tanks and step wells built during the Peshwa period. On the west side is a narrow wall like fortified spur known as “Vinchukata”. This portion of the fort derives this name because of its peculiar shape which resembles a scorpion’s tail. A further walk down this portion is a thrilling experience.

The best time to visit Lohagad is during the rainy season. But this fort makes for a good climb all around the year. It is a destination that is easily accessible yet free from the crowd and commercialized environment one often experiences in popular places like Sinhagad.

 

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