Located between Mumbai and Pune and accessible through the expressway, Lonavala has always been a popular weekend retreat connecting Mumbai and Pune. The greenery, peace and the proximity this hill station enjoys, has made it a ‘sought-after’ escape.
It is among the most popular holiday and weekend destinations, says Om Ahuja, CEO – Residential Services, Jones Lang LaSalle India. He says, “Lonavala covers only about 38 kilometers, but as a weekend getaway hill resort and second home destination, it is a national byword. It’s 64 km from Pune and 96 km from Mumbai. Thanks to the excellent road and rail connectivity, it is often a default option. The second home market in Lonavala and Khandala is a boom story in its own right. It also has excellent boarding schools, corporate training centres, spiritual retreats, alternative medicine centres and old age homes, which is quite a package of offerings for such a small town.”
Shveta Jain – Director, Residential – Cushman & Wakefield says, “Hill stations, riversides, beaches and eco-friendly rural locations are some of the more popular destinations for the new crop of holiday homes that are being developed in the country, attracting national as well as local developers for building gated residential projects that are specifically marketed as second homes or holiday homes, and come with fully-furnished options, along with various entertainment and well-being facilities such as club houses, swimming pools, spas and yoga centres, landscaped areas, etc.”
Situated away from the bustle of the city, several developers are seen tapping the potential of the location. Ahuja says, “Lonavala is by far a favourite with Mumbai residents and there is a good supply in the pipeline of row-houses and bungalows by leading players. There is also a healthy demand for plots in Lonavala. The prices for row houses range from Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 2.5 crore, for bungalows from Rs. 1.5 crore to Rs. 4.5 crore and for plots from Rs. 25 lakh to Rs. 1 crore.”
Peninsula Land Ltd has their project Ashok Nirvaan at Lonavala. Spread over 17 acres, there are 51 villas of 4, 5 BHK. They are providing amenities like clubhouse with multipurpose lounges, Gymnasium, Spa and Jacuzzi, among other things, in the complex.
Kavya Buildcon Pvt Ltd has their second home project Asteria Lonavala here. Nimish Vora, Managing Director, Kavya Buildcon Pvt Ltd says, “The project consists of 17 boutique villas designed by Architect Sanjay Puri. There are amenities like plunge pool, modern security and modular kitchen, among others.” Talking about Lonavala, Vora says, “The drive to Lonavala is pleasant because of the Expressway, greenery and the ongoing monsoon. Being a hill station, there are varieties of food joints. Along with various points available for tourists, there are parks like Della Adventure Park for children. A second home is a blessing at a hill station like Lonavala considering the distance.”
Nanak Properties have their project Amarja Hills at Lonavala. Manoj Sainani, Director, Nanak Properties says, “Ours is a farmhouse project. We have provided windmills in every house as wind flow is good. The internal infrastructure is proper with roads and paver blocks.” He feels that the Expressway has made accessibility to Lonavala easy and hassle-free. The real estate potential for Lonavala is good as many people are looking at Lonavala as the destination for their second home.
Though the real estate market is good for Lonavala, the infrastructure needs to catch up as well. Sainani says, “Infrastructure is weak considering the development happening here. Once the Navi Mumbai airport comes up, Lonavala will be benefited as several corporate seminars take place here. If the Government plans properly, then this place can become the hottest destination.” According to Vora, boundaries of Lonavala will expand and growth will take place. The Municipality is trying to better the roads by providing street lights and water.”
The future real estate potential is bright for Lonavala. Sainani points out that if planned aptly, Lonavala will become the centre of Mumbai and Pune. The investment potential will be high for Lonavala as it assumes the character of a city. Offering some advice on buying a property in Lonavala, Ahuja says, “Keep in mind that Lonavala is an extremely popular second home destination, and calibrate your budget accordingly. Looking for the cheapest options may land you up in locations and projects that offer nothing in terms of natural beauty and access to entertainment. Lonavala is a hotbed for local brokers, but it is advisable to deal only with established and reputed real estate consultants as this will ensure that there is complete transparency in the transaction and that the buyer’s interests are kept paramount.”
For Mumbaikars, Lonavala is a quick escape into bliss. The place turns even more picturesque as the monsoon comes calling. A blanket of greenery covers the entire place with streams of waterfalls flowing everywhere, an enchanting sight indeed! Also, the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, which has made the place easily accessible, turns extremely scenic during the monsoons making the drive to Lonavala even more enjoyable.
While Lonavala is assuming a lot of importance as a second home destination, the place has lots to offer for an exciting weekend getaway. Lonavala is blessed with a number of forts and a trek down one of them is the best way to experience the beauty of the hilly terrain. Lohagad fort, Rajmachi fort, Tikona fort, Korigad fort are some the well-known forts in Lonavala and extremely popular with the trekking groups. Be it the flora or fauna, the running waterfalls or gorgeous top views, every trek is a discovery in itself. Especially when one reaches the top of the fort, you are engulfed in a blanket of clouds that leaves you in sheer delight. Every monsoon, thousands of groups throng to Lonavala to explore the beauty and joy of trekking in the lush mountains.
Bushy dam is another extremely popular hang-out spot at Lonavala. On weekends, the place is choc-a-bloc with visitors who turn up in huge numbers with their families and friends. Pavana dam too is fast catching attention with some water-sport activities that are drawing visitors here. Tungarli Dam built across the Tungarli Lake is also a famous weekend picnic spot nearby Rajmachi.
For a walk down memory lane, Lonavala has some ancient caves. In fact, the name Lonavala is derived from the Sanskrit work ‘lonavli’ which refers to a place surrounded by many caves. Karla caves, Bhaja caves and Bedsa caves are the prominent caves in Lonavala. For those interested in the historical signifcance of the place, a visit to these caves is an enriching source of information.
For those who want to enjoy the rain and a walk in the clouds, Tiger’s Leap, commonly known as the Tiger Point in Lonavala and Duke’s Nose in Khandala are the ideal hang-out spots. Popular with visitors, both points offer a scenic view of the hills over a sizzling treat of chai and pakoda.
Lonavala also has its own celebrity wax museum now, which is another added attraction. Wax figures of leading Bollywood actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan along with other well known social names like Hariharan, Baba Saheb Ambedkar, Mother Teresa, Sai Baba, AR Rahman, Balaji Tambe and Yesudas have been installed in the museum.
Another interesting place worth visiting for some adrenaline rush is the Della Adventure Park. Set amidst the natural backdrop of hills, one can indulge in a range of adventure activities at this place like ATV rides, Flying Fox, Zorbing, Paintball and much more. The place is also gaining popularity with companies for corporate training and workshops.
Lonavala is also seeing an increasing demand as a place to host wedding ceremonies. It is the ideal place to have a monsoon wedding. That apart, the pleasant climate and developing infrastructure makes it a favourable place to hold important events and many have started taking note of that as well.
Known for its green pastures, Lonavala has undergone a sea change in the last few years. Apart from its natural beauty that has regularly drawn visitors to this place, Lonavala has also seen several new developments for those on the look out for entertainment and adventure, making it a perfect combination. With lots to offer, there is no wonder that Lonavala is shaping out to be an ideal investment hot spot.
So, next time you go for a trip to Lonavala, it might be worth checking out the properties available – places that you could call your very own.
Content & Image Source- TOI