I love flowers. In all colours, in all shapes, in all sizes, in all genres. No matter where they carry their beautiful existence, in a perfectly manicured garden or over the stretches of mountains or by the river bank or hidden in some wild shrubs around an unnoticed corner. The vibrance, the charm always heal my scars. The colourful radiation comforts my burning heartache.I always surrender to the 'Flower Power'.
Credit: Saheli Bera
Mostly all flower lovers strive to visit the enchanting valley of flower in Uttarakhand at least once in their lifetime. Every year from June to October this placid lap of Himalaya gets flooded with non stop flow of trekkers, nature lovers and travel enthusiasts. But I believe, most of you would second me unapologetically; nothing spoils the magic of a scenically beautiful place like rush of unruly tourists does. But last monsoon I explored a hidden gem in Lonavala. The Western Ghat of Maharashtra possesses its own valley of flower that can compete the same of Uttarakhand in every bit. No, it's not Kaas Plateau.
So before unfolding the secret, let me summarise some basic tips.
How to Reach Lonavala:
By Air: The nearest airport from Lonavala is Lohegaon airport in Pune, just 53 Km away from this hill station. The other option is Mumbai airport which is 63 Km away from Lonavala.
By Train: Lonavala (LNL) is well connected to all major cities in India through train route.
By Road: If you are fan of impromptu road trip, you must plan for this picturesque journey to Lonavala from Pune or Mumbai. There is sufficient bus services are available for this journey that costs in the range 250-1000 INR/-. Or else you can hire private cab to reach Lonavala. The price may vary but you should go for a smart negotiation before booking.
Mark your Calendar: Though many suggest the Monsoon season, June-August to visit Lonavala and Khandala. As monsoon rain makes the mountain slopes fresh and green. The rolling layers of grey clouds would definitely save you from the beating sun. But I would advise schedule your trip in early to mid September. Firstly, because you can ditch the crowd of tourists flocking from Mumbai, Pune and surroundings for weekend escape. Secondly, Lonavala and Khandala are home to some amazing trekking trails with spectacular view at the top. Heavy rain often makes the trekking paths slippery, dirty and sometimes way too dangerous. From early to mid September the temperature remains pleasant with occasional rain shower and the valley remains adorned with full blooming. The scenic beauty of Sahyadri Ghat won't diminish even slightly.
I started from Mumbai around 12 pm and reached Lonavala in the afternoon. When I was nearing this hill station, it was impossible to get my eyes off the majestic green Western ghat with its unique table top structure on both sides of roads. It was undoubtedly the most picturesque road trips I have ever had.