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Khandala, Lonavala and Karla

Khandala and Lonavala are two charming hill stations on the western slopes of the Sahyadris, 5 kms apart straddling the Mumbai-Pune highway at an altitude of 625 m. Very popular with Mumbaities, they also alternate as getaways and health resorts. Khandala is the smaller and calmer of the two, although browsing through Lonavala's bazaar could yield some wonderful surprises. Both towns offer some spectacular scenic views of the surrounding hills and in the monsoon, with a myraid waterfalls, the atmosphere is enchanting.

Karla about 12 kms from Lonavala, is the site of the largest chaitya Caves (shrines) in India, built in 80 BC. Amongst the best-preserved Buddhist temples in India, they represent the zenith, in terms of design purity, of this style of temple architecture. About 3 kms from the main road is the more peaceful setting of the Bhaja Caves. Thought to date from around 200 BC, 10 of the 18 Caves here are viharas (monasteries) while Cave 12 is an open chaitya earlier than Karla.

temperatures vary from 12 C in winter to around 36 C in the peak of summer. The annual rainfall, when the climate is very pleasant , is 450 cms. October to May is the best time to visit.

How to Go
Air:- Pune 66 kms away, is the nearest airport.

Train:- All trains from Mumbai to Pune and the South stop at Lonavala. Mumbai is 104 kms away by road, the last 20 kms of which wind up the ghats through grueling switchbacks.

Road:- Taxis and auto-rickshaws easily available in Lonavala and Khandala, are the best way of getting to and from Karla.
Where to Stay
Besides a number of luxury and budget hotels in both Khandala and Lonavala, the MTDC runs a resort at Karla and another at Rye Woods, Lonavala.

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