Monday, May 16, 2011

Lavasa - A Fine Place to Visit

Visited Lavasa, a township being developed in the Sahyadris deep inside the hills near the Warasgaon lake by HCC, and being touted as a planned city, today. I had heard much about Lavasa from those of my friends who live in Pune. It had also been in the news for having been on the wrong side of the environment ministry. So when Sanjay, my old friend, was keen on visiting the place we took off at 830 in the morning.
Lavasa - as we go down to the city

From Chandni Chowk we took the road that goes to Paud village and travelled upto Pirangut, an industrialised town, where we took a left turn from the chowk to Lavasa (there are several boards indicating the turn). The entire distance to Lavasa is about 42 kms and it is quite scenic. There is a ghat at the end which peaks at Lavasa's entrance. Entry is free and the guards just asked a couple of questions about why we were there. Then the road descends into the city which is still being developed through a long winding road. Takes about an hour and half from Pune city to reach Lavasa.
A closer view of the town around the lake

At the bottom is a lake that has been made by cutting off the Warasgaon lake and it is around this lake that much of Lavasa City is located. The Town Hall, the Convention Centre, the Promenade with the shops, hotels, watersports, villas and apartments. We went around for a while trying to figure out what to do and then headed to the Information Centre where they showed a short movie (13 minutes) on Lavasa and its plans and how it was built followed by a 3D movie (7 minutes) which was equally good fun. From the Information centre we gathered that four hotels were operational, the water sports were operational and so we headed to the water sports part where the had stuff like boating, water scooter etc. We opted for a quiet ride in a boat and the adventurous ones went for a ride on the water scooter.
Views from the Information centre

On the way out we stopped at the Ekaant resort which is beautifully designed and had lunch at its fine restaurant. I liked everything - the view, the food, the service. We took a small nature trail from Ekaant which was suggested by the young lady at the Information Centre and really enjoyed it. It has some fine views, some play stuff at the top.
Ekaant Lodge

Lavasa is an ambitious plan which is built on the ideas of New Urbanism. Built of an area of 25,000 acres Lavasa promises its inhabitants a land where they can live, work, learn and play. It has all amenities, a fine design and is supposedly for people of all economic strata. It has plans of a film studio, a film school, a place where they wish to integrate and promote culture and arts, business and fun. There are villas and apartments on the lake front, hotels and convention centres, water and hills, greenery. An 18 hole golf course is being developed, office spaces, a hospital by Apollo, games and water sports by other organisations etc. Lavasa promises to be a self  contained township. It looks impressive for its scale and location, and one must wait to see if it delivers all that it promises.
Water sports area

Much of it is under construction. But for a weekend getaway Ekaant looked like a great place to go to with its wonderful views from atop the hill, its fine design and quiet. Once developed Lavasa should be a treat to the eyes with its European style buildings - it almost looks like a film setting. If in Pune, certainly worth a visit if you have a day to spare or maybe even an overnight stay at Ekaant or any of the other hotels.        


Anonymous said...

just wanted to know the approx amount that one would need to shell out to have some good time at lavasa...

Harimohan said...

Hi Anon,
Entry is free so all you spend is on the stay, food and sports etc. Stay ranges between Rs. 4000 to 6000 a day in some really nice lodges on the hill (Rkaant) and hotels on the lake front in the valley. There are some service apartments also at the waterfront which could be cheaper. Both places have lovely views. Sharper details can be had by calling up the hotels and perhaps one may get a good deal on off days. Water sports range from a couple of hundred to 900 for the boat ride, 500 for water scooter and in that range. I found the food at Ekaant excellent and very reasonably priced at Rs. 200 for a veg buffet and Es. 250 for a non veg buffet. A night stay is advisable since Lavasa is a bit of a drive and one can let the atmosphere really seep in, so perhaps in 6-7 K, a family could have a great time with a one night stay at Lavasa with the current facilities. Else in 2-3k a family of 4 could have a good time.