Khandala is a hill station that is situated at a distance of 120 kms from Mumbai. The peaceful town of Khandala overlooks a picturesque valley and is surrounded by wet-season waterfalls. The timeless appeal of the hill resort is sure to bowl you over. Khandala is located a little lower on the slopes of the Sahyadris. The picturesque drive winding around the Western Ghats and the equally splendid train journey weaving through at least twenty tunnels cut into the basaltic rock before it ends at Khandala is some experience. Khandala will entice you to come back over and over again.
Photo Credit: Sarath Kuchi
Location: Maharashtra, Pune
Altitude: 559 Metres.
Temperature: (Summer 22 to 40°C) & (Winter 12 to 33°C)
Languages spoken: Marathi, Hindi & English.
Nearest Airports: The nearest international airport is Mumbai (110 km) and domestic airport is Pune (66km). From either of the city airports you would have to take a taxi or bus to Khandala.
Main Railway Station: Khandala lies along the Mumbai-Pune route. Many trains traveling between Mumbai and Pune stop here. Every train going towards South India from Bombay via Pune has to pass through Khandala.
Main Bus Station or Road: Khandala is well connected with Mumbai and Pune by road and the bus service for Pune (travel time 2½ hours) via Lonavala is good. However, it takes about four hours to reach Mumbai from Khandala. Buses shuttle between Khandala and Lonavala (15 minutes)
Distance of a few Major Towns from Khandala:
Lonavala - 4km, Khopoli - 8km, Karjat - 24km, Matheran - 61km, Panvel - 45km.
Like every tourist destination, Khandala also gives prime importance to food and fast food. If you feel like savoring local delicacies, then there are quite a number of local vendors who sell the perfect 'vada pav' all over the town. If you are a vegetarian, then this is truly a vegetarian's paradise! Gujarati cuisine is also available aplenty in Khandala.
Places of Tourist Interest:
This cliff is named after Duke Wellington. It is said that this cliff resembled his nose! One can visit the place by approaching from INS Shivaji and Kurwande Village. The spot is a vantage point for observing the scenic views around. This is also a great rock climbing area for the avid outdoor lover.
Dotted along the hillside are the famous caves and forts of Shivaji's Maratha kingdom. The imposing Rajmachi Fort can be approached only on foot as it sits surrounded by deep valleys on three sides and a thick forest on the fourth. Other equally impressive forts are the Manoranjan Fort, Shrivardhan fort, Visapur Fort, Lohagad Fort and the Tunga Fort with arsenals and guardhouses.
The Karla Caves:
These caves were made around 160 BC and are the biggest 'Chaitya Caves' (prayer halls) here. The caves with viharas (monasteries) were excavated for the Buddhist monks who came here during the monsoons. The interiors have lion pillars, huge elephant forms, carved representations of Gautam Buddha and dancing couples. The entrance gate is in the shape of a "Peepul" leaf through which one enters the huge Chaitya griha or hall. This large hall is full of smooth stone pillars, which are carved with elephant and human forms and the roof is high and semicircular.
Getting around the Destination:
Walking is a good way to get around, but having a vehicle (even a bicycle) is still better, as some points of interest are quite some distance from the main towns. Taxis and public conveyance are available.
Shopping Areas & Entertainment:
The different kinds of 'chikkis' you get here are delicious and no visitor should leave without carrying home a bagful of them! Lonavala and Khandala are also well known for their canned jams and snacks like 'chivda', wafers and 'sev', so be sure to buy several packets.
Best time to Visit:
October to April that is considered the best time to visit Khandala.
Holi, Ganesh Chaturthi, Diwali, Ekvira Devi festival are some of the festivals in Khandala that are celebrated with pomp and fanfare.
Additional Things to Do:
The hilly terrain of this hill station offers endless opportunities for adventure activities in Khandala. Adventure enthusiasts can go for hiking and trekking here. Most of the treks are quite tough with the most popular ones being to Duke's Nose and Kalri Hills. Make sure you start your trek early as it tends to get dark pretty early in these areas.