Lonavla (near Mumbai, India) is famed for it's Chikki, a rockhard workout for the jaws, made of gur (unrefined sugar made from canee juice) and nuts. Lonavala was so named because of the word 'lenya' which means caves in Marathi. There are many rock-cut caves, which surround Lonavala - Karla, Bhaje and Bedse caves.
Chikki is a traditional ready-to-eat Indian sweet made usually from groundnuts and jaggery. There are several different varieties of chikki in addition to the most common groundnut chikki. Each chikki is named depending upon the ingredients used. Usually ingredients such as puffed/roasted bengal gram, sesame, puffed rice, beaten rice, and Kopra (desiccated coconut) used. Some chikkis are made using a combination of these ingredients. Special chikkis are made out of cashews, almonds, and pistachios.
Though jaggery is the usual used as the sweetener material, sugar is used as the base in certain types of chikkis. It is a very popular sweet item in both rural and urban India. Some people also add glucose to the chikkis, and "glucose chikkis" are very famous in India.
The preparation of chikkis is very simple and consists of first preparing the hot jaggery syrup with minimum water, adding nuts to the syrup to get coated (with syrup) and then transferring to a wooden mould, rolling into thickness of about 6-8 mm with wooden roller, cutting into slabs, and packing. At homes smaller quantities are hand rolled with wooden rollers.
The most popular place for chikkis in India is Lonavala, near Mumbai.
Chikki are available in more than 35 varieties. They have cashew, groundnut (crushed and whole), chana, kesar pista, badam, coconut, rajgira, kurmura, til, dry fruits mixed and permutations and combination of all these.
The price per kilo starts at Rs 80 for groundnut, til, chana chikki to Rs 520 for Kesar pista. Chocolate walnut fudge comes at a princely sum of Rs 600 a kilo. There are around 35-40 brands of chikki sold in Lonavala of which Manganlal, A-1 and National Chikki are best in quality.
Groundnut Chikki preparation
Groundnut Chikki recipes
500 gram groundnut,
200 gram brown sugar,
100 gram sugar,
2-3 tbsp. Ghee.
Roast groundnut and remove its skin.
Take brown sugar and mix sugar in a frying pan. Add a little water and boil the mixture. When it attains chikki like consistency, put a drop of consistency in water and check, if it is hard. Mix groundnut. Mix well and pour in a greased thali. Cut into pieces and fill in the container.
Tourist places in and around Lonavla
Tourist places in and around Lonavla
Lccation : 60 km from Pune on the Mumbai road, Mahatrashtra in India.
It is a hill station at a height of 640 m ASL.
About 4.5 km from Lonavla town, on the way to I.N.S. Shivaji, there is a beautiful water overflow during monsoon season only. Season : June to Sept.
About 6 km from Lonavla. This point commands magnificent view of Shivaji's fort Rajmachi (also known as Royal Terrace) and the surrounding valley. Regular buses ply between Rajmachi point and Lonavla bus stand.
One can make a day trek to Rajmachi fort too.
This lovely lake supplies water to Lonavla town. There are no buses, only auto rickshaws are available from Lonavla station (3 km from lonavla station). A route leads to Rajmachi fort.
The dam with a beautiful garden at its foot is a popular evening spot 1.6 km from the town. This lovely dam supplies water to Khopoli powerhouse.
A thickly wooded park in the vicinity of the Lonavla station.
A picturesque spot surrounded by natural scenery 1.6 km from the town, in summer however the lake dries up.
Halfway between Lonavla and Khandala of Bombay - Pune highway. This point is well known for scenic beauty.
The finest landmark of Khandala is 5 km from Lonavla. It is the summit of hills owing to its resemblance in shape with nose of Iron Dukes the - Duke of Wellington. Good for hiking via Kuruwande village.
The captivating name is given to a tip of a cliff from where there is a sheer drop of more than 650 meter. Please watch your step. Besides the soaring height the magnificent view from Tiger's Leap is enthralling. Buses are available.
It is a prime naval training centre with Naval Collge of Engineering, Nuclear Biological and Chemical warfare school, Damage Control Simulator (Akshat) and other training wings (visitors allowed only on Navy Day - Dec 4).
REVERSING STATION POINT
It is near Rajmachi point (Khandala) 7 km from lonavla. Famous for the panoramic view of the railway line going through tunnels on one side and the Duke's Nose on the other.
An arduous climb of about 8 km from Malavali station takes you to the "Iron fort" once a formidable fort of Chatrapati Shivaji. The fort commands an exhilarating view of the surrounding hills and dales.
The famous Yoga institute known as 'Kaivalyadhama' is near Valvan Lake. The institute imparts training in yoga and carries out research in various aspects of yoga. The institute also runs a hospital where diseases are treated by yogic exercises.
KARLA AND BHAJA CAVES
The Karla caves are about 10 km from Lonavla. The Karla caves are the largest Chaitya caves in the country dating back to 160 B.C. The Chaitya hall is about 45 meter long and 15 meter high and is well preserved. The arched ceiling of the hall has wooden rafters, which have remained intact through centuries.
At the entrance of the cave there is a pillar with three lions on it. On the other side of it there must have been a symmetrical pillar but now the temple of 'Goddess Ekveera' has taken its place. The donor couple and Mithuna panels on the pillar are famous.
After climbing another two hundred feets above Karla caves we can observe wonderful sight of Shirota Dam.
The Bhaja caves are about 3 km from Malavali station. There is a motor able road upto the foot of the caves and the remaining distance of about 1.6 km is to be covered on foot.
The Bhaja caves lesser known than Karla caves are as old as the later. There are in all 18 caves of which cave no. 12 is the finest. Some sculptures and ornamental designs in the caves are worth seeing.
SAHARA LAKE CITY (AMBY VALLEY)
It is a beautiful city developed by Sahara India 21 km from Lonavla in the hilly areas. However you require prior permission to view this breath - taking city.
Koregad fort : Located near Sahara Amby valley.
Dry fruit chikki
Dry fruit chikki
1 cup (chopped) Badam
1 cup (chopped) Pista
1 cup (chopped) Cashew
1/4 cup (grated) Jaggery
Kesar-few soaked in milk
2 big spoons Ghee
* Grate jaggery.
* Heat 2 big spoons of ghee in a kadai. Put grated jaggery, mix well and melt nicely to a fine paste.
* To this add kesar, badam, pista and cashew nuts & mix well until the mixture leaves the sides of the kadai.
* Spread little ghee in a tray and pour the dry fruit mixture and spread evenly, cool it and cut it into pieces.
Coconut Chikki recipe
Coconut Chikki (Nariyal Chikki)
400 gram Dry grated coconut
150 gram Brown sugar
150 gram Sugar
2-3 tbsp. Ghee
* Roast grated coconut in 1 tbsp. ghee.
* In a frying pan take brown sugar and mix sugar. Add a little water and boil the mixture.
* When it attains chikki like consistency, put a drop of consistency in water and check, if it is hard. Mix coconut.
* Mix well and pour in a greased thali.
* Cut into pieces and serve.
Food item specialities of Lonavla
Food item specialities of Lonavla are Sp. Chivda, Sp. Cornflakes Chivda, Farsan, Mathri, Methi Mathri, Bakarwadi, chatpata, Sp. Almond Pistachio Saffron Chikki, Sp. Cashew nut Almond Pistachio Chikki, Sp. Cashew nut Chikki, Sp. Crushed Cashew nut, Sp. Crushed Peanuts Chikki with butter and cardamom, whole Peanuts Chikki and Coconut Chikki. Rolls made with Dry fruits called “Dates Roll” and “Figs (anjeer) Roll”, Choco-walnut Fudge and many other mouth watering items which captivate the spice loving patrons.
The Chikki is a common, tasty, and traditional Indian snack food. Chikkis come in many varieties, the most popular of which is Sesame chikki. The preparation is simple: A syrup is made up from some type of sugar and either water or ghee, also known as clarified butter. This is simply butter with the milkfat removed by skimming or straining. The syrup is sometimes actually using made using glucose, but brown sugar works quite well, and is in fact what I used. The nuts or seeds are then added to
the syrup and coated completely. The mixture is then put in a wooden mold and rolled out into sheets. The resulting slabs are then cut into smaller pieces.
When properly made, chikkis will be crunchy but not unbearably hard, much like peanut brittle. However, a brittle places the emphasis on the candy, whereas in the case of chikkis the majority of the candy consists of the seeds or nuts.
Shengdana Chikki recipe
1 cup Groundnuts, skinned, roasted, pounded roughly
3/4 cup Sticky Jaggery
2 tbsp Clarified Butter (ghee)
* Heat jaggery in 1/2 cup water till the syrup is hard ball consistency.
* Test its consistency by putting a drop in cold water -it should remain firm. Add groundnuts.
* Grease a board and spread the groundnut-jaggery mixture.
* Roll flat to 1 cm thickness.
* Cut into squares when sufficiently cool and hardened.
* Store in a container lined with butter paper.