The road from Pune to Mumbai is one of the most enthralling journeys in the state of Maharashtra. It includes some very beautiful stops, and travelers are accompanied by the dramatic scenery as they cruise on the expressway. A great way to enjoy this road trip is to rent a car and take some interesting detours on the way.
Pune to Mumbai is a 148km journey via the expressway. Here are some recommended stops on this trip.
The Lohagad Fort [Lohagad Fort Rd] was one of many strategic medieval fortifications in the Western Ghats. It is 63 km from Pune and makes for an interesting detour. Exploring the ramparts of the fort can take hours so travelers with less time can just find some vantage points to catch the splendid views of the surrounding mountains. The Pavna reservoir is one of the attractions that can be seen from the summit of this fort.
There is a lot of interesting history that adds to the attraction and allure of Lohagad Fort. It was one of the most strategic points for the Marathas and was also captured for a short period by the Mughals.
Just ahead of Lohagad Fort, Lonavala provides a good stop for refreshments and maybe some driving around. In the monsoons, the nearby Kune Falls [Khandala, Lonavala] provides a mesmerizing sight while the Karla Caves [Karla, Lonavala] and Bhaja Caves [Bhaje Caves Road, Near Bhaja Village Maval District, Lonavala] other popular attractions. The famous Bhaja caves are rock-cut structures that are more than 2000 years old, and they include intricately carved facades and pillared corridors. Highlights here include 14 stupas containing the relics of monks who had practiced their faith in these cave temples. While Karla caves are a complex of ancient Buddhist-Indian rock-cut caves built from 2nd century BC to 5th century AD.
The hill town of Lonavala is also famous for its chikki or hard peanut-based candy. The serene Lonavala Lake provides a mesmerizing backdrop for photography enthusiasts. One can enjoy a round of boating on the gentle currents. The Bhushi Dam and Reservoir is another scenic spot close to Lonavala.
While in Lonavala, one can also stop over at Pawna Lake [Lonavala], which can be seen from Lohagad Fort. The scenery of the Western Ghats is the main reason to make this detour. One can pack some food and enjoy an impromptu picnic on the banks of the lake. Jagged peaks provide a dramatic backdrop to the placid currents of the lake.
Khandala is another popular hill station further ahead of Lonavala. The Della Adventure Park [Lonavla, Kunegaon, Maharashtra] is a good spot for families to spend a day while the Narayani Dham Temple [Tungarli Road, Tungarli, Parsi Colony, Lonavala] is one of the famous cultural landmarks of Khandala. Tiger’s Leap [Gawliwada, Gavliwada, Lonavala] is another famous viewpoint.
Rajmachi Fort [Pune] is another historical landmark between Lonavala and Khandala.
As one reaches closer to Mumbai, another surprise springs. Matheran [Kasturba Road, Matheran] is the smallest hill station in India, famous for its many lookout points with their panoramic presentations of the surrounding landscape. Some of the popular spots to capture surrounding vistas include Porcupine Point, Echo Point, and Alexander Point. Close by attractions includes the Prabal Fort [Near Prabalgad Fort, Prabalmachi] and the Charlotte Lake [Matheran]. The hill town is also home to a large population of monkeys.
Matheran is a good stop for those who want to indulge in a bit of outdoor adventure. Apart from the invigorating hiking trails, one can also try waterfall rappelling at the Dodhani Waterfalls [Matheran] and ziplining in the nearby forests. The Chanderi Caves [Maldunge] are another natural landmark close to Matheran.
The new clusters of buildings in Panvel [Raigad] signal that one is within touching distance of Mumbai. However, there are still some primal attractions to enjoy before the plunge into the big city. The Karnala Bird Sanctuary [NH 66, Karnala] is home to more than 200 species of birds, some endemic and very rare. The ruins of the Karnala Fort are also located within this designated wilderness area, it’s top looking like a giant funnel that sticks out of the wild landscape.
The ruins of the Karnala Fort command a long history – it was believed to have been built in the 14th century and has exchanged hands between many dynasties – the Gujarat Sultanate, the Ahmednagar Sultanate, and the Portuguese. Not many Mumbai residents are aware of such a rich historical landmark so close to the Pune route.
Food stops between Pune and Mumbai
The route between Mumbai and Pune is also filled with many stops for food. Foodies will love the journey because of the sheer options available. The Rama Krishna Restaurant near Golwada is a perfect breakfast spot, especially for fans of idlis and other South Indian delicacies. Golden Wada Pav in Lonavala specializes in Maharashtra’s favorite snack while Maneklal in the same town is the place to go for delicious thalis.
Shree Datta Snacks near Panvel is known for its regional breakfast dishes like sabudana khichdi and kande pohe. There is nothing more heartwarming than a rustic and heavy dhaba meal with all the Punjabi favorites. Sunny da Dhaba is a famous Lonavala institution where people flock to taste the tandoori rotis and butter chicken.
Finally, it’s touchdown Mumbai. There are so many things to do in Mumbai, that I won’t go about in detail here. You can check out here if you’re curious to find out some interesting things to do in Mumbai.
Advantages of Self Drive Rentals
The advantages of traveling in a self-drive car are many. Total privacy is guaranteed and the extra space will always be welcome. Informed travelers can make stops and change routes as they wish – they have complete control over the pace of the journey. The app-based Zoomcar platform is the most popular Pune Mumbai car rental for many reasons. 24/7 on-road support ensures a hassle-free trip and travelers can choose from a wide range of hatchbacks, sedans, and SUVs. Those who enjoy long trips with impromptu detours prefer the comfort and space of a car rental over regular transport. Even car owners choose rentals for their long trips, especially when they are traveling in large groups.
The misty Western Ghats, their quaint hill stations, their gentle lakes, and their history-soaked forts await the enthusiastic traveler. Juxtaposed with mighty cities rising out of the landscape, the heritage corridors and the natural beauty provide a timeless identity to this region. The Mumbai to Pune route is just a winding gateway to many more treasures, some hidden. Hop into a self-drive rental and enjoy a journey with uncompromised freedom.
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