If you are looking for a tranquil and mountainous weekend getaway near Mumbai or Pune, Khandala may be the kind of place you are looking for. Nestled at an elevation of around 625 meters on the foothills of Sahyadri, Khandala offers you a perfect respite amidst green valleys, composed lakes, misty knolls and lively waterfalls. Since the time when trendy Bollywood song “Aati Kya Khandala” was picturised here, Khandala has gained its popularity manifold amongst the weekenders and travel enthusiasts.
Akin to Lonavala, Khandala is also one of the frequently visited destinations in the state of Maharashtra, which witnesses a large number of footfalls all round the calendar. Besides its picturesque landscape, the place is equally a popular attraction for adventure buffs. Destinations like Karla Hills and Duke’s Nose peak are two key tourist pullers in Khandala, which are known for offering a spectacular rock climbing opportunity to the adventure lovers.
Culture and Food Habits:
Being perched in the state of Maharashtra, the traditional side of Khandala doesn’t pole apart from the people and cultural taste of Mumbai. By nature the inhabitants of Khandala are generous and religious. They pay deep reverence to their day-to-day religious practices. A majority of people here are Hindu and they speak predominantly Marathi. Besides, Hindi and English are also spoken here. The prime festival of Khandala is Ganesh Chaturthi, which is celebrated here with great enthusiasm.
In Khandala, you will find most of the popular Maharashtrian cuisines including vada pao, roasted corn, wafers and chikki. In addition, numbers of eateries are there where you can try variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods as well. You will also get to taste here some delicious Continental, Chinese and Gujrati cuisines.
The seasonal climate in Khandala is pleasing throughout the year. During summer, the maximum temperature could be felt here somewhere around 32°C. Because of its soothing summer, Khandala is visited by several tourists that time. Monsoon enters the region in the month of June, which lasts here till August. Intense rainfall makes the beautiful environs more appealing during monsoon. After monsoon, the hill station witnesses a comfy winter from October to February. During winter, you can feel here a minimum temperature of 12°C or less. For the residents from Mumbai and Pune, exploring Khandala during winter is an absolute delight.
Best time to visit:
Khandala can best be revealed during monsoon. This is the time when the natural exquisiteness of the place gets evolved the most. Alternatively, visiting Khandala in winter is also not a bad idea to implement. Breath-taking landscape and soothing weather makes your presence more blissful to this beautiful hill station in winter.
Places to See:
The beautiful hill station Khanadala has no dearth of attractions and activities for visitors. In its long lasting existence, the terra firma of Khanadala has witnessed the rise and fall of several Peshwa and Maratha realms. Till today, the natural splendour of this hill station allures plenty of visitors from all over the country. So, when in Khanadala, make sure you don’t skip some of the major attractions that include the following:
Midway between Lonavala and Khandala, Rajmachi Fort is perched on the hills of Shayadri. This is one of the major tourist pullers in Khandala hosting two fortified structures namely; Manranjan fort and Shrivardhan fort. It is said that these majestic forts were conquered here during 17th century by Great Shivaji. For adventure freaks, the site offers an exciting trekking trail towards the fort from Lonavala. Reaching atop the fort allows you an aerial panorama of adjoining lakes, river, caves and Duke’s Nose. For a true nature lover, Rajmachi Fort is a worth visiting destination in Khandala.
For a true adventure freak, leaving a hill station without experiencing a single trekking and climbing activity is like leaving an island without exploring any beach. Known for its astounding name, Duke’s Nose is an absolute paradise for trekkers and climbers. Because of its resemblances to the pointed nose of Wellington (an Anglo-Irish soldier and statesman), the site is popular as Duke’s Nose. Delimited by green valley, this site is an absolute paradise for trekking and mount climbing. Nearby people also flock here for delightful picnicking.
The steep and rocky outcrops offer you an overwhelming 800 ft. trekking opportunity from Khandala Railway Station. It takes around 2 hours time to complete the trekking. In addition, the elevated knolls and thick forest also offers you an absolute delight for valley-crossing activity. Besides, the site also has 300 ft. rappelling length catering an absolute paradise for adventure freaks. While climbing the abrupt hills, don’t forget to explore the Mahadeva temple at the pinnacle. This will certainly take your trip to a new height of excitement.
Situated adjacent to Kamshet on Mumbai Pune road, Bhedsa caves are believed to be the oldest caves of Maharashtra. The giant caves are known for their eye-catching carvings and 25 feet high pillars. The key attraction here is the ‘Chaitya’, which is the main cave in this site. Perched with lion shaped pillars, Bhedsa caves are as big as Karla Caves. Since these caves are situated aloof the main road, you won’t see much tourist traffic here. The overall serenity around the caves offers you an amazing ambience to experience.
How about picnicking at a site, which is surrounded by lush bush and free-flowing water from the knolls? It sounds thrilling, isn’t it? Kune Falls is one such site that you can’t skip in Khandala. The best time to reveal its spellbound splendour is during monsoon. Intense rainfall turns the environs here sheer green. On the other hand, the lively waterfalls appear milky white atop the hills. Thus, it can be said that heavy rains during monsoon add an absolute grandeur to this breathtaking Kune Falls. You can also spend some wonderful moments here by swimming and bathing in the fresh water. In Khandala, this is a must visit tourist spot for visitors.
#Celebrity Wax Museum
We often envy our mates seeing them posing with some of the legendary wax figures of Charlie Chaplin, Michael Jackson, Sachin Tendulkar or any other living legends of today. Keeping all such pensiveness in mind, the Celebrity Wax Museum was brought into practice by a wax artist from Kerala. Located nearly 6 Kms from Khandala, this museum hosts various wax structures of renowned personalities from different fields of interest like sports, politics, films and social activists. Some of the key wax figures at this museum include Chattrapati Shivaji, Hitler, Michael Jackson, Kapil Dev, AR Rahman, Pandit Nehru etc. Stepping into the Celebrity Wax Museum is all together an offbeat experience amidst the mounds. If you are in Khandala with your family, Celebrity Wax Museum is a must visit for you.
Located nearly 2Kms from Khandala, the seasonal Lonavala Lake is a worth visiting site during monsoon. During winter on the other hand, the lake water gets dried up. The breathtaking lake is surrounded by scenic beauty and rich variety of floral species. The lake is linked up by a very old dam of Indrayaani River. Apart from the seasonal lake and its surrounding beauty, this is also a popular picnic spot amongst visitors.
Well, these are the most popular and commonly explored sites in Khandala. If you plan to excurse some other sites around the hill station, you may also explore the places like Reversing Station, Bhaja Caves, Lion’s Point, Amrutanjan Point, Shrivardhan Fort, Karla and Bhaja Caves, Tungarli Lake, Tiger’s Leap etc.
How to Go:
Positioned in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra, the beautiful hill station of Khandala is an absolute delight for travellers. Situated far away from city’s hustle-bustle, the small hill station offers you a blend of adventure, time off and sightseeing. Hence, if you are planning for a weekend getaway near Mumbai or Pune, look no further.
Owing to its easy accessibility, Khandala has become one of the popular hill stations in Maharashtra. Let’s take a look on some of the important modes of commutation to reach Khandala:
By Air: There is no direct flight to Khandala, or you can say Khandala doesn’t have an individual airport. Hence, air travellers can fly till any of the nearest airports Pune or Mumbai, which are located around 66Kms and 110Kms from Khandala respectively. There are several carriers that ply to Mumbai and Pune from most of the major destinations in India. From airport, you can hire a cab or take a bus for Khandala.
By Train: If you are planning to visit Khandala by train, the nearest railhead is Lonavala, which is located nearly 5 Kms from the hill station. Lonavala Rilway Station carries a convenient connectivity from Mumbai and Pune. Some of the major trains on this route include Mumbai-Pune Deccan Express, Mumbai-Pune Sihangad Express, Mumbai-Pune Indryani Express, Mumbai-Pune Deccan Queen and Mumbai-Pune Pragati Express. Once you reach the railway station, get into a local mode of transport to travel further. From Lonavala Rilway Station, it consumes around 15 minutes to reach your weekend destination.
By Road: If you are planning a weekend trip to Khandala from Mumbai or Pune, nothing could be as charming as road journey through Mumbai-Pune Expressway or via NH4. The picturesque environs and well-maintained roadways will make your journey absolutely stunning like never before. There are regular buses that run from Mumbai and Pune for Khandala. From Mumbai, the travel time to reach Khandala by road is nearly 4 hours. On the other hand, from Pune the total travel time is nearly 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Places to Stay:
On enquiring the availability of accommodations amidst the hills, Khandala is laid out with several comfy options for you. Considering the mounting footfalls of visitors, most of the hotels are set up here covering the basic amenities for travellers. During peak season, it is advisable to book the hotel in advance. The reason being, crowd of visitors accelerate the hotel charges to a large extent.
During your trip to Khandala, you will come across variety of hotels with different price ranges. Depending on the type of hotel you stay and the amenities you avail, the charges may vary. Some of the hotels are listed here for your convenience:
#Hotel Royal Park
Old Mumbai-Pune Highway, Next To ICICI Training Centre,
Khandala, India 410301
Charges (approximately): INR 1100
Above Syndicate Bank, Shivaji Peth, Tal:-Maval,
Dist:-Pune, Khandala, India 410301
Charges (approximately): INR 1200
Near D. C. High School,
Khandala, India 410301
Charges (approximately): INR 3500
#Weekend Nursery and Cottages
Near Main Market, Next To Government Guest House,
Maharashtra, Khandala, India 401301
Charges (approximately): INR 5000
So, this summer if you are planning for a natural escape, Khandala is the place you should travel by. For the residents from some of the eventful cities like Mumbai and Pune, Khandala is undoubtedly a happening weekend destination in the state of Maharashtra. The densely packed hill station of Khandala caters you a perfect blend of lakes, waterfalls, caves, mountains and greeneries. Don’t forget to capture all your sensational moments atop the hill. No matter if you are visiting here for the first time or as a frequent traveller, the enchanting magnificence of Khandala will pull you amidst the hill over and over again.