Sunday, September 11, 2011

Long drive to hill resort - Lonavala

Lonavala - one of the twin hill station 100kms from Mumbai, weekend gateway, must see in rains for its waterfalls and scenic beauty, must visit in winters for chilling climate and quick vacation gateway in summers. Its a 365 days destination.

I have been to lonavala quite few times with friends and family. But couple of trips with Priyank and family to their weekend house in Lonavala have been most memorable times. Priyank a.k.a papaji or Sharmaji was getting bored at home on one Saturday with pressures at work taking its toll and same was the case with me. Again we took a spontaneous decision for long drive in his SUV to lonavala. We were on road to Lonavala by 11.00am. It was hot may summer. 


Whenever I and papaji are on our weekend trip, Its long ride in SUV and its always memorable be it our Shirdi trips or trips to Lonavala. Its one of those trips when we had decide to loosen our self. (of course this was till last year when I took a decision to drink only on social occasions and papaji also reducing the intake.) and since papaji's house in Lonavala is overnight stopover, so drink and drive does not come in picture. 

Our first stop is always at Panvel Mcdonalds for a quick burger and one bottle of beer each from the nearby restaurant. But during this trip, On our way we realised that it was a dry day !!!!! getting alcohol or beer is not big deal atleast in Mumbai on dry days as most of the famous bars in Mumbai have back door channel open for take home parcel. But this was one day when we realised it after we reached outskirts of Mumbai on expressway. 

By the time we reached Lonavala, it was already 2pm in afternoon. With quick freshen up at home, we were off to one joint or a very trendy place on the way to Lions point  - Lonavala,  Rivershack !!! Its a very trendy place with excellent location on the way to Lions point run by a young couple. From the joint you can sit and relax, sip beer or your drink with Italian menu cooked by the owner herself. The place is frequented through out the year by its loyal patrons and Papaji was one of them. As per owners words, Lonavala would be closed for alcohol but if you are loyal patron of rivershack, Its one place where you will get drinks for sure.

Sipping beer on hot summer afternoon with view of dry river banks and occasional cars passing by on the way to Amby valley is quite a sight. 

We relaxed for almost two hours sitting and sipping beer with the owner also joining us for a luncheon. With papaji getting a wild idea of driving the car on the dry river bank so we were off to Lonavala river's dry bank for a drive. Its unique experience which can be tried only on hot summers as rains would swell these rivers in Lonavala during monsoons and water levels only drying up by April / May summer time.


On our way back,Shopping for Lonavala chikki, Kokam sherbet can and variety of slush drinks from Maganlal chikki stores is a must from the main market on east side. Also worth trying and always on my buying list is Chocolate and walnut fudge and wide varieties of chocolates from Coopers (again in main lonavala market near the station on east side)

On one of my other trips with Papajis family in last week of December, we were joined my good friend & office colleague and papaji's family friend Janki with her kiddo and another common friend Jaycee. On this trip I and papaji on pretext of getting dinner went on long drive on the way to Amby valley at 11.00pm in wintery night ,The road leading to Amby valley is snake curve road with zero traffic in the night, It was one hell of a ride on the way passing by the navy training institute and on way back we stopping at Lions point for pegs of whiskey on SUV bonnet which was amazing experience while others waited for us to get dinner !!!! 

Our lunch in the afternoon is always either at Tony's or Sunny's dhaba on Karla caves road for some amazing food you could ever get in Lonavala. By the time we reach home around 9ish, We are dead tired but rejuvenated, back from amazing weekend trip and all set to take the pressures of work back on our shoulders till we again get bored in 3-4 months time for another hell of a trip.

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