Lonavala and Tung Fort — March 2017, Part 1

On my visit to India in March, 2017, I had the opportunity to stay overnight in Lonavla, a town just more than half way to Pune from Mumbai on the Mumbai / Pune Expressway. First a note on spelling and pronunciation. On many maps, including Google Maps, Lonavla shows as Lonavala. In other places, notably Wikipedia, looking for Lonavala immediately redirects you to the page for Lonavla. This had always confused me. This confusion was solved on this trip when I noticed that the Roman character rendering of the town name included both Lonavala and Lonavla. They are both correct and reflect a nuance in the pronunciation (at least as far as I can tell from the Wikipedia article). The town name is pronounced with a slight pause between the V and the second L, hence the longer phonetic spelling of Lonavala. I will use Lonavla in this post, the first of two posts on the weekend trip to Lonavla and Tung Fort.

Lonavla is on the edge of the Western Ghats, where the higher Deccan Plateau gives way to the coastal plain also known as the Konkan. In my post from a few months back on a trip to Bhandardara, there was a location called KonkanKada, which is an overlook to the Konkan. Lonavla is another such place. Being on the road between Mumbai and Pune, it is a quick drive for a pleasant weekend out of the city. There are many natural and historic sites to visit in the area.

Here is a two teaser image to get you to continue through the whole post, a sunset from Della Resort in Lonavla.

The Sun sets behind a fountain

We headed off from the TCS offices in Powai, in the Hiranandani Gardens development. The fancy tops of the buildings are an Hiranandani trademark style.

Our usual starting point, Powai

We had a good bus to take us on our “kruze.”

Our bus took us “kruzing” to our destination

We made our way out of Mumbai on a Saturday morning, heading through Navi Mumbai, onto the Mumbai-Pune Expressway to Lonavla.

Yes, there was traffic. It is Mumbai.

Lonavla sits on the edge of the Western Ghat, as described above. You can see how the plateau drops off sharply and the town neatly nestled on top of the plateau.

Lonavla sits perched on the edge of the Western Ghat

We arrived at Della Resort in time for lunch. The resort is quite nice. The grounds are beautiful and the facilities are all first class. A reminder to foreign visitors: Bring your passport.

Della Resort is a first class lodging

My room was very comfortable.

The rooms at Della are quite comfortable

The bathtub was extremely large. I did not use it.

The room comes with a very large bath

I did a bit of a double-take when I entered the Men’s room at the resort restaurant.

The men’s room at Della is quite unique

After lunch and a rest we headed out to see the sunset. Ironically, we parked next to Sunrise Point. This was actually a better view than Sunset Point, as the Sun illuminated the edge of the Ghat and there is a nice park area there. This is looking northwest.

Looking northwest down the mountain from Sunrise Point

Many people were enjoying the nice weather and view.

A family enjoying the evening

There was a playground with all iron climbing equipment over a dirt surface. Much the same way playgrounds were in the United States when I was a child. Now they are padded or plastic climbing equipment over a rubber and padded ground cover. We did fine without all the protection.

You’d never see a playground like this in the United States

The views were very nice from the edge of the park.

A bare tree

The tree in perspective

Some local vendors selling food and other goods.

Vendors hard at work

Per my discussion at the start of the post, one of the stores says “Lonavla” not “Lonavala.”

Note that the factory shop says “Lonavla” not “Lonavala”

I imagine that some of the local vendors live in this modest dwelling.

A modest dwelling by Sunrise Point

We walked down to Sunset Point, passing more vendors on the way. None of the sunset pictures taken from Sunset Point are worth sharing, and the picture of the Duke’s Nose had power lines in the way.

More vendors hard at work at Sunset Point

There are contrasts. This small house is just a quarter mile from Della Resort. Note the satellite dish on the roof. Progress moves at the pace the consumer wants it to move.

Near the posh Della Resort the village is still poor.

At our return to the resort, we went to the upper part of the resort to watch the sunset. Below us there was a game of cricket under way — a common site in any empty field in India. We need to play more cricket here in the United States.

Wherever there is an open field in India, you will find a cricket game

Lonavla is growing rapidly. As an easy destination from Mumbai and Pune, many people are building weekend houses. Many resorts and time shares are also build or under construction. It is a great place for a quick weekend getaway.

From the upper resort area at Della, you can see the development under way in Lonavla

The last three pictures are from the upper resort. The Sun is setting in the west over Mumbai.

The sunset from the upper resort area at Della

The Sun sets behind a fountain

Dusk has arrived

This is part one of a two-part series on the weekend in Lonavla. Next month I will publish the story of our trip to Tung Fort.