Altitude : 625 mts
Languages : Marathi, Hindi and English
Best time to visit : October. May
Climate : climate in Khandala is pleasant. Summers (April-June) are mild, while winters are cool (November-February). It experiences heavy southwestern monsoon rains between June and September.
Khandala - Introduction
Lonaval and Khandala are two charming little hill stations on the western slopes of the Sahyadris, 5 kms. apart, that straddle the Mumbai-Pune highway at an altitude of 625 m.Quite popular as health resort, there are a number of sanatoria dotting the hills in the towns.Khandala is smaller and calmer of the two, though browsing through Lonavala's bazaar could yield some wonderfull surprises. Both towns offer scenic views of the surrounding and in the monsoon, with a myriad waterfalls, it can be enchanting.Karla about 12 kms. from Lonavala, is the site of the largest Chaitya caves in India, built in 89 B.C. Amongst the best-preserved Buddhist temples in India, they represent the zenith, in terms of design purity, of this style of temple architecture.
History of Khandala
The origin of Khandala is shrouded in obscurity. The hill resort formed part of the territory of the great Maratha leader Chattrapati Shivaji, who is credited with organizing the Maratha into a military power. Later it came under the rule of the Peshwa, during whole reign Maratha power reached its zenith. Khandala was taken by the British from the hands of the Peshwas who subsequently lost power to the British.
By Air : Pune, 66 kms. away from Lonavala, is the nearest airport.
By Rail : All trains from Mumbai to Pune and the South stop at Lonavala.
By Bus : Mumbai is 104 kms. away by road, the last 20 kms. of which wind up the ghats through gruelling switchbacks. State Transport buses regularly ply from Mumbai and Pune.
Places to Visit
The Rajmachi Park is located on the way to Mumbai from Lonavala. This is a beautiful garden situated before the beginning of the ghat at Khandala. It offers a spectacular view of the surroundings. Towards the east of this garden, two towers of the Rajmachi Fort can be seen. There is also a huge valley here.
Ryewod is a big and beautiful garden situated near Lonavala. It is spread over a huge area and is covered with majestic tall trees. offering plenty of place for children to play, the park also has an old Mahadeo temple. Ryewood is named after an English officer Mr. Rye, who stayed in this place for quite some time. It is also said that name may also have been derived from the Marathi words "Rai" which means thick forest.
The Duke's Nose is an important travel attraction at Khandala famous for rock climbing. It has been named after Duke Wellington, it is said that his nose resembled this cliff. It also looks like a hood of a snake, which is why it is also called as "Nagfani" (Hood of Snake). Duke's point is accessible from INS Shivaji and Kurwande Village. The nature's beauty is at its best here.
The Shivaji Park was earlier a playground which was later converted into a garden in 1956. There is a statue of Shri Shivaji Maharaj in this park. Since it is located near the city, a good number of people travel to this park.
Khandala's Kune water fall is situated between Lonavala and Khandala. It falls from a height of more than 100 feet. It provides a majestic view and an enjoyable opportunity to bathe in the water that flows through the valley. This fall can be seen in Khandala Ghat while coming from Mumbai.
The Tiger's leap is a special spot in this area. It is named Tiger's Leap because when you look carefully at the valley form this spot it appears as if a tiger is leaping into the valley. It is just a furlong away from INS Shivaji, providing an engrossing view of the valley. One should view the valley from the safe confines of a big hole.
Every train that comes down from Khandala halt at Monkey hill for brake testing. Monkey Hill is exactly above Khopoli town and can be accessible Khopoli as well as Borghat reversing station. It is a favorite picnic spot.
The Reversing Station, once belonged to the railways and now remains unused. This spot is outside tunnel no. 26. The division of Lonavala and Raigad District starts from here. One can see Khopoli and the surrounding regions at the bottom. During the night, this place is illuminated with hundreds of lights, which offers an enthralling view.
Karla and Bhaja Caves
Karla and Bhaja Caves are located in the hills at a distance of 16 km from Khandala. These are rock-cut cave temples as old as 2nd century BC. The caves are one of the oldest and finest examples of Buddhist rock-cut temple art in India, belonging to the Hinayana sect of Buddhism.
Adventure In Khandala
Khandala travel can be an ultimate adventure destination. Tourists coming to this hill station can try their hands at rock climbing at the Duke's Nose peak and other locations in the Karla hills, near Khandala. The Duke's Nose peak can be viewed while coming from Mumbai to Khandala via the Mumbai-Pune highway.