We started from Vasai at 0630 AM, that is turning out to be an auspicious time for all our drives. The drive was expected to be about 3 hours long and we hoped to beat the traffic with our early morning start. How wrong we were! The drive from Vasai to Ghodbunder was packed with trucks, a few fast moving and many slowly chugging along.
During our drive we came across this car, for a long time, we were trying to figure out its number plate. How can one report or write down a number plate number when such unrecognisable fonts are used! When will we even bring some sort of uniformity in size and fonts of number plates?
The Mumbai- Pune expressway, clearly is not meant for two wheeler vehicles and bullock carts; clearly banned for safety reasons. This rider though did not feel safety was a priority for him or for fellow travellers.
We had a late breakfast at Hotel Kailash Parbat besides NH4 at Lonavala. Aari ordered a 'Paper Dosa', little realising how small it would turn out to be!!!
I had a Veg sandwich; overall, the breakfast was tasty, we sure won't mind visiting the place again.
We drove around Lonavala, exploring the little town. The roads are narrow, has quite some chaotic traffic and we also had the misfortune of getting stuck in some religious procession.
Later, we checked in at Sunny's Retreat, which we had booked earlier and headed out for lunch. During our drive, we saw Hotel Mulaqaat, and for nostalgic reasons had our lunch here. The place has remained exactly the same since our last visit in 2006, the days Aari and I were enjoying our courtship days together!
Restaurants in Lonavala are quite expensive, even the mediocre ones charge quite heavily, after all. its a tourist hub!
Lonavala, today, is not only an over rated tourist destination, but an over priced one too. The most frequented places in Lonavala are its points, from where, one can get a picturesque view of the canyon and lakes flanking the town (best viewed during monsoons). One such place is the 'Lion's point', one has to pay Rs.50/- as entry fees for a four wheeler. The place is not maintained and we could see garbage strewn around, making the ledges of the mountain quite a dirty site.
Above, is the photograph of the place with litter all around the ground. Even the board, requesting people not to litter is facing the valley instead of the entrance ( It's the small green board that you can see at the top right corner, in the photograph above)!
As you can see in the photograph below, another hideous looking board is placed in such a location, so as to block an otherwise lovely view.
There is also a camel for "joy rides" and the place is sheer torture for the poor creature! We request people not to take animal rides and torture the creature any more. A camel belongs to the desert and not to a hill station in the Western Ghats!
The beautiful view from Lion's point.
Later, we returned to Sunny's retreat after enjoying some lovely breeze and called it a day!