Before I begin, here’s a powerful riddle for ya….
What does the solar power plant say to the hydroelectric power plant on a rainy day?
My sense of humour is truly damned.
Right, without further ado, let’s get on with the city tour of Lonavala. I’d written about the road journey to Lonavala in my previous post and here, I’ll be taking you lot on a flash trip through some of the sights of the town, all on a rainy day.
This was our first stop on entering the town of Lonavala which brings us to a tiny geography lesson on rivers. This here, is a small lawn on the banks of the Indrayani river which is a tributary of one of the major rivers of India, namely the Krishna river. The Indrayani river is seasonal or rain fed and it was rather swollen when we visited owing to the ongoing monsoon season. The river has a large variety of fresh water fishes and new species are frequently discovered. There’s also two dams, namely the Bhushi Dam and the Valvan Dam, which are built on this river, making it an important source of electricity. Both dams are also popular tourist spots but the they were closed due to the heavy rain and overcrowding restrictions the day we visited. It’s best to visit the dams during light rain as it’s more enjoyable and not dangerous. The dams have definitely made their way onto my bucket list for the next monsoon.
While we didn’t get to visit the dam itself, this is the wall of the Valvan Dam. It was quite a surprise landmark as no one in my family had ever seen the back wall of a dam before and seeing this gave me major Harry Potter cum Scotland vibes. This reminds me a lot of the Jacobite Express tracks aka the Hogwarts Express in Scotland and it was fun to relive those memories in a hill station town in India:) This wall is quite a popular place to click pictures and there were quite a lot of people lined up to get the perfect shot before a car passes in front of the camera.
Now you know what inspired the dam joke at the beginning of the post, hehe.
After exploring the river and the dam wall, we took a brief hiatus from nature views and entered the market area in the city centre of Lonavala.
This sign is at the entry of the town, complete with posters showing the various resorts, tourist attractions and viewing points across the hill station. The ‘I ♥’ signs are getting quite popular in Indian cities and towns and most places have them, either as fountains or in the centre of a park or at public attractions. My city of Pune has a similar ‘I ♥’ sign in a mall. These signs always make me smile as it shows a sense of belonging, homecoming and citizen love, connected to a city. The bond between humans and their home cities is truly unique and I feel that these ‘I ♥’ signs really sum up a local’s feelings towards the city and it’s especially refreshing when you enter a new city or when you come home to your city after a long trip.
This is the market road in Lonavala. I was very lucky to get an empty street on my side while taking this picture, considering we visited during the peak tourist season and the market is often crowded. I absolutely love the coloured windows on top of the shops. It looks straight out of a fairy tale and the contrast is lovely. The windows are generally homes above the shops or guest houses for tourists. In India, it’s pretty common for the shop keepers and their families to stay in a small flat above their shops. I always find it very fascinating that people have a whole shop right below their home and when I was a kid, I used to play imaginary games where I owned a candy shop and I lived in a room above it. If one of these rooms with coloured window walls opened up for sale, guess who’d be the first bidder. Hehe. One of these window walls belongs to an inn and it’s amazing how the town has accommodation for tourists in every nook and cranny.
The shops here sell certain eatables like fudge as well as stuff like swimming gear and clothing. This is one of the shops selling swimming accessories that I found very lively and colourful:)
I love the llama floatie here. I didn’t buy it cause there isn’t much of a use for it at the moment but it’s definitely on my shopping list for the next time. Hehe:)
After a brief heist in the markets of the city, we made our way to one of the viewing points to get a glimpse of the hills and waterfalls. On the way to the viewing point, we passed a line of food trucks and stalls, selling everything from chinese food to chips to pasta to shawarma to classic Indian food. I love how the stalls run along a narrow, busy road, without causing traffic trouble, especially during the rainy season when the tourism is at its peak. I also love how the stalls have a shelter or a cover, making them absolutely ready for the weather. The fun part of this picture was the little boy in the Fast Food truck. He noticed me clicking pictures of the street and decided that he wanted to be in one of the shots so he leaned back on the counter and even posed with a chill expression. I did smile at the kid after taking the pictures but I noticed his photobombing only when I was compiling the pictures in the car. I love it when the locals participate in my photographic pursuits:)
This is Khandala Lake, not far from the food stalls above. I noticed this lake peeking from behind the trees while I was walking back from the food truck and I told my mum to join me at its shore. It was a great decision as the view was stunning and the breeze was very refreshing, providing a good break from the road and the car ride. There’s a small temple on the opposite shore of the lake and the hills surrounding it remind me of the mythical Avalon. I wonder if there’s any elves lurking around hehe. The lake also provides water for washing and cleaning to some houses which border its shore. It’s also a fun place to play for the children living in these houses. The lake is also a popular place for families and couples who come to relax and simply take in the view. It’s quite a spot for setting up a romantic novel, nestled among the hills on a rainy day:)
This is a tiny shrine dedicated to a Hindu Goddess on my side of the lake shore. Shrines like these are quite popular in India and there’s always a small sit-out surrounding them, where old people gather and offer prayers or simply chat about their lives and homes. Often, you’d find stray kittens and puppies napping near the shrines, fed and tended by the locals who adopt them as a community. Shrines such as this one can well pass for a mini locality.
And that is a wrap.
In the next post which will be the conclusion of Monsoon Getaway, I will tell you all about the viewing points and food shops in Lonavala, complete with waterfalls, monkeys and the shopping haul.
Until Next Time,