Nestled in the misty green mountains of the Western ghats is the quintessential hill station of Mahabaleshwar. The enchanting landscape of this magnificent tourist spot made it the capital of the Bombay Presidency during the British Raj. This heavenly hill station is a popular weekend retreat and vacation destination for tourists. Boating, horse riding etc are some activities here. Bite into juicy strawberries. The MTDC Resort is close to the sunset point and has a startegic location.
How to reach
By air - Nearest airport is Pune, a 2 hour drive from there.
By Rail - Nearest Railhead is Wathar, but Pune is considered to me more convenient.
By Road - Mumbai - Mahabaleshwar via Mahad, a 4 hour drive, state transport buses ply regularly between Pune and Mahabaleshwar and Mumbai Mahabaleshwar.
What to see
A half an hour drive away from Mahabaleshwar lies Pratapgarh, the pride of the Maratha empire. Built in 1656, it is a maze of ponds, chambers and long dark walkways, some of which lead to trap doors that open into a 100 m fall. Since Pratapgarh is slightly off the road to Mahabaleshwar a visit to this historic monument is recommended in all travel itineraries.
Kate's point lies along the Duchess road, at a height of 1,290 m. It is one of the greatest points and no tourist should miss the view from the point, which is clear and splendid. During winter the Dhom dam is full and is a fantastic scene. The peaks of Kamalgadh, Pandhavgarh and Mandardeo can also be seen from Kate's Point.
Elephant's Head Point
Elephant's Head Poin is one of the best points to visit in Mahabaleshwar. The overhanging cliffs, resemble an elephant's head and trunk. This point which is at the extreme end of the mountain range, offers breath taking views of the surroundings.
Connaught Peak on the Old Mahabaleshwar Road is the second highest peak in Mahabaleshwar. Formerly called Mount Olympia, this peak is situated at an altitude of 1,400 m and is a favorite destination of riders. Besides its challenging treks and rides, this peak offers stupendous views of the entire Mahabaleshwar valley.
The temple has Lord Shiva as its presiding deity. The temple is encircled with a 5 ft high stone wall and is divided into two - the inner room, known as the God chamber and the outer room, which is the central hall. The important site of prayer is a lingam made of black stone which is regarded to be the materialisation of the Divine. The temple is a prominent landmark of Mahabaleshwar, visited by throngs of locals and tourists.
Mahabaleshwar is world renowned for its fresh strawberries, best enjoyed plain and juicy or drowned in cream. Once can visit many strawberry farms around, to enjoy the fresh scentand pickup a handfull. Jams, jellies, crushes, mixes, juices, desserts and more are availaible for buy. The fruit industry in Mahabaleshwar is thriving since the climate here is ideal for fruits such as strawberries and mulberries.
A 20 min drive from Mahabaleshwar is the hill station of Panchgani, It is surrounded on all sides by hills and is very popular with tourists owing to its close proximity to Mahabaleshwar. Panchgani is known for its strawberry and raspberry farms and its resident boarding schools. The Rajpuri caves here is an importsnt religious tourism spot. The Lord Kartikeya temple here was constructed out of the sand taken from the caves. The journey to the Rajpuri caves from panchgani through serene, green villages is sure to rejuvenate your mind as you travel.
Being situated at an elevation of 1,371 m has blessed the area with a number of amazing sites for paragliding. In Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani and their surroundings regions, avid paragliders cAn enjoy flying from sunrise to sunset.
Lush greenery, serene environs and a unpolluted ambience make Matheran a fantastic tourist destination, standing at a height of about 767m above sea level. This cool, eco friendly hill station is perfectly perched amid the ranges of the Sahyadri mountains. The picturesque sorroundings with eye cathing attractions invite thousands of tourists every year to Matheran. The stunning views of the landscape from the cliffs of Matheran offer memorable experiences for a lifetime.
How to reach
The nearest airport is Mumbai and the a one to one and a half hour drive
The nearest railhead is Mumbai - Neral (around 1 to 1and a half hour), Neral - Matheran (half an hour), Pune - Neral (2 hours), Neral - Matheran mountain train.
Mumbai-Neral-Matheran is a one and a half drive. State transport buses ply from Mumbai and Pune to Neral.
Temperatures vary from 16 degrees in winter to 32 degrees in summer with an annual rainfall of 524cms. October to May is the best time to visit.
What to see
Panorama point is the most popular location in Matheran which offers a majestic view of the sunrise. The location is the longest spacious place on the mountain peak. A great place for picnics one can get a grand panoramic view of the surrounding scenic locations like Chanderi, Navara-Navari, Peb fort and Mhas mal. The nature loving tourist can enjoy the beautiful views of Prabal fort in the backdrop of lush green forests and also the breath taking cliffs of Hart point, Porcupine point and monkey point. The cool and calm ambience makes this place a must visit location.
Charlotte lake also known as Sharlott lake is serene secnic point in Matheran and is the prime source of drinking water in Matheran. An ancient Pisarnath temple is located at the right of the lake and two beautiful picnic spots - Louisa point and Echo point are at the left of the lake. Rich in panoramic scenery and lush greenery, this popular tourist destination is splendid during monsoon but usually dries up in summers.
Set at an altitude of 690m, Amboli is a splendidly beautiful hill resort in the southern range of the Sahyadri hills. O record it is the wettest place in Maharahtra with an average of nearly 750cm of rainfall a year, falling between June and october. In the rainy season the hill station is wrapped in mist. The sea view point offers rare views of the land all the way to the golden Konkn coast. Surrounded by dense forests and steep valleys, this tranquil mountain top offers some of the best panoramic views of the Konkan coast.
Amboli has a cool and invigorating climate a welcome respite in summer.
How to reach
Nearest airport is Belgaum and then a 1 hour drive
The most convenient railhead is Sawantwadi (half an hour) on Konkan Railway.
Mumbai is a 9 hour drive and Pune is a 6 and a 1/2 hour drive. State transport buses ply from Vengurla, Sawantwadi, Ratnagiri and Belgaum.
At an elevation of 750m above sea level, Bhandardara is located on the banks of Pravara river. The place endowed with a striking view is an exquisite holiday hangout. As Bhandardara is in the interior regions of Maharashtra, extreme changes in the climate can be experienced. The languages spoken by the the people of Bhandardara are Marathi, English and Hindi. The area sprinkled with forts and history extends a unique chnace for nature based tourism. Situated in th Ahmednagar district it is one of the finest jewels of Mother Nature.
How to reach
The nearest airport is Mumbai around 2 to 2 and a half hours away
Igatpuri is 45 mins away on the Central Railway line is the nearest rail head.
Mumbai - Bhandardara is a 2 and a half hour drive via Ghoti, Pune-Bhandardara a 2 hour 20 min drive
Bhandardara is a two and a half hour drive from Mumbai in Ahmednagar district. The peak season is between November and April but Bhandardara is spectacularly beautiful during the monsoons. The summers are very hot and winters quite cold. Cool cottons for summers and warm woollens for winters are ideal.
What to see
Built way back in 1910 on the Pravara river and standing 150m high, Wilson dam is the largest earthern dam in India - a powerful testimony to the engineering skills of days gone by. At the base of the dam is a garden endowed with thick greenery, streams and gigantic trees - the latter home to hundreds of harmles fruit bats that hang precariously from the branches all throughout the day. You can actually stand at the edge of the garden embankment and enjoy the cool spray or visit the picturesque Umbrella falls which are a major attraction in monsoon.
At 1,646m, Mount Kalsubai is the highest peak in Maharashtra. A favorite of trekkers, it had great strategic importance during the Maratha wars as an observation post. There is a small temple on the top with an old well in its backyard. It is said that the water level in the well has never dropped below 3ft.
Agasti Rishi Ashram
This age old dwelling is mentioned in the scripts of the Ramayana. It is believed that Lord Rama and his brother visited Sri Agasti Rishi to seek his blessings. The Ashram situated on the bank of the Pravara river continues to attract visitors.
Set in the natural realms of Bhandaradara is Ratangarh fort. The ancient fort is very popular with nature lovers and trekkers, it offers spectacular views from its ramparts. The fort which is about 400 years old has a natural rock peak with a cavity at the top called 'Nedhe' or eye of the needle. Formed by natural erosion it is big enough to accomodate a group of 10 people and the view of the entire region from here is absolutely amazing.
Amriteshwar temple is one of the temples of Lord Shiva with classic carvings, it is conserved by the Archeological Survey of India. It is located in a village called Ratanwad which is the base village for the famous Ratangarh fort. This place is very remote from the town Akole. The area in the rainy season is truly scenic and lush green. Built in 1100AD, this temple has been constructed in the Hemadpanthi style.
Dhamma Giri Vipassana Centre - Igatpuri
The first vipassana meditation centre in India for teaching the technique was set up at Igatpuri by S.N Goenka. The center was given the name Dhamma Giri or the Hill of Dhamma. Today it is known as the Vipassana International Academy and has the distinction of being the principle centre of Vipassana meditation in the world.
The deep misty valleys of Chikhaldara located in Amravati district has a new shade in every fold wrapped. With a wide variety of flora, fauna, lakes, viewpoints and waterfalls, Chilkhadara has many things to be explored. Situated at an altitude of 1,118 m above sea level, Chikhaldara is the only coffee growning region in Maharashtra. Places of interest in and around are the Melghat Tiger Reserve, Dhakana Kolkaz National park, Hurricane point, Prospect point, Devi point, Gavilgad ad Narnala fort, the Pandit Nehru Botanical Gardens, The Tribal museum and the Semadoh lake. The mystery of nature unfolds itself in every twist and turn of the hilly way.
Receives a annual rainfall of 154 cms. Temperatures vary from 39 degrees in summer to 5 degrees in winter. October to June is the best time to visit.
How to reach
The nearest airport is Nagpur and then a 4 hour drive
The nearest railhead is Badnera on the Central Railway branch line and then 2 hours drive
Mumbai is 9 hours away and Pune is around 6 and a half hour away by road. State Transport buses ply from Vengurla, Sawantwadi, Ratnagiri and Belgaum. Chikhaldara is 13 kms away from Mumbai and is connected to major cities by road. Regular State buses connect Chikhaldara to Amravati, Nagpur, Wardha, Akola and other cities.
Situated in the Thane district at an altitude of 518 m Jawhar is known for its picturesque setting and a vibrant cultural heritage. Exotic valleys a wide range of flora and fauna and a very pleasant climate make Jawhar a must visit destination. It is one of the very few tribal kingdoms in Maharashtra and is famous for its vibrant Warli paintings that are a characteristic speciality of this place. Thesepaintings were traditionally made of rice paste and were used to decorate village huts. Besides trekking in the hills, one can appreciate and buy the warli paintings. Today they are also painted on paper and canvas and can be brought as aouvenirs.
How to reach
The nearest airport is Mumbai
The nearest railhead is Igatpuri 1 hour away on the Central highway, but Nasik is more convenient. On western railway the nearest railhead is Dahanu around 1 hour away.
Mumbai Jawhar is a 3 hour drive via Kasara-Khodala, Mumbai-Jawhar is 2 and a half an hour drive via Kasara, Nasik-Jawhar, One to one and a half hour drive via Kasara-Jawhar, a 40 minute drive Trimbakeshwar-Jawhar.
The twin hill resorts of Khandala and Lonavala have a special attraction for the Mumbai crowd seeking a convenient weekend holiday in the hills. A mere 3 hour by road from Mumbai beautifully landscaped Lonavala and Khandala are famous for their seemingly innumerable varieties of chikki. But they also offer many sites worth visiting. Trekking is a good option to get around, but having a vehicle is still better as some points of interest are quite a distance from the main town.
How to reach
The nearest airport is Pune and a 1 hour drive
The convenient railhead is Lonavala, on the Mumbai-Pune line, approx 2 hours from Mumbai. Pune-Lonavala(1 hour approx)
Mumbai - Lonavala is one and a half hour drive. Pune - Lonavala is an hour drive.
The temperature varies from 12 degrees in winter to 36 degrees in summer. The annual rainfall is 450cms. The best time to visit is October to May.
What to see
This cliff resembles the nose of the Duke of Wellington, which explains its intriguing name. It is a popular viewpoint as it offers a breath taking view of the sorrounding mountains, valleys and forests.
Rajmachi fort is one of the most popular tourist sites in Khandala. It is a 20 min drive away from Lonavala. The fort can be reached throught an exiciting trek from Tungarli lake and one can enjoy gaint waterfalls and greenery in the monsoons along the way.
When viewing the valley from a certain point at this location, one has the illusion of a tiger leaping across the valley hence the name. The echoes caused by dropping rocks into the crevasse are another attraction.
Karla & Bhaja caves
Nestling in the hills of Lonavala, these rock cut caves rank amongst the oldest, finest examples of early Buddhist temple art in India. The Karla caves imitate the look of more familiar wooden architecture. The Bhaja caves complex comprises of 18 caves and 14 stupas. Dating from around 200 BC, these architectural curiosities lie amidst thick greenery in a setting thats so calm, its almost mystical.
Within the Sahyadris are many hill stations and one of the most popular is Malshej ghat, standing 700m high. It is the only hill station where tourists can see and feel the seasons of the year in just a single day. Malshej ghat has a charm that appeals to the adventure enthusiast, hikers, nature lovers, trekkers, outdoor lovers and tourists. This hill ststion is renowned for its waterfalls, placid lakes and serene mountains. According to the scenic horizons in Malshej ghat are the flamboyant flamingoes which come here between July and September all the way from Europe. For those seeking a picturesque holiday or special honeymoon, this place is the best.
How to reach
The nearest airport is Mumbai and a two and and a half hour drive.
The nearest railhead is Kalyan
By road Mumbai Malshej ghat is two and a half hour drive via Murbad-Pune-Malshej ghat via Alephata.
Perched at an altitude of 1,334m in the lap of the Sahyadri mountain ranges is Panchgani a stunning hill town known for its scenic grandeur. Just 20 kms away from Mahabaleshwar and 38m below it Panchgani derives its name from the majestiv five hills embracing it and wows every tourist with its quiet hamlets, lush terraces, acres of strawberry farms and ravines. The hill town of Panchgani has retained its perennial popularity for being a priveleged haven sorrounded by lush greenery and tranquility since the British era. With its picturesque landscapes, cool climates and green environment. Panchgani has become popular tourist attraction. It is also the most common destination for shooting films and a host of adventure activities such as paragliding and kite surfing.
In winter the temperature is around 1 degrees, however summer is quiet hot at 35 degrees. The annual rainfall is 216 cms and the best time to visit is September to May.
How to reach
The nearest airport is Pune a 2 hour drive
The nearest railhead is Wathar (1 hour) on the Miraj-Kolhapur section of South Central Railway. Pune is more convenient.
Mumbai Panchgani via Pune and a 4 hour drive, Mumbai-Panchgani via Mahad is 4 and a half kms. State transport buses ply from Satara, Pune, Wai, Mahabaleshwar and Mahad to Panchgani.
Panhala is a fascinating hill station situated in Kolhapur district in Maharashtra. Located at an altitude of 968m above sea level this natural gift offers a breath taking view of the valley below. A charming place with a peaceful, pollution free, scenic atmosphere, Panhala is a good place to run away from the congestion of the concrete jungles. Its pristine hills, beautiful valleys, eye catching monuments of the bygone era are still untouched pure and safe. Panhala is not a typical Indian hill station it is small in size, bound by the four walls of the mighty Panhala fort and has a strategic location.
How to reach
Temp is around 25 degrees
The nearest airport is Kolhapur and then a half an hour drive
The nearest railhead is Wathar and the 45 kms drive on the Miraj-Kolhapur, Kolhapur-Panhala is a 20 minute drive. State transport buses ply from Kolhapur, Belgaum to Panhala.
Situated at an altitude of 1461m, Toranmal is perhaps one of the most peaceful places on earth. Toranmal falls in the Nandurbar district of Maharashtra. Flanked by the 7 hills of the Satpura range Toranmal is home to varities of flora and fauna. It is one of those rare places which are not crowded by many people but the natural beauty deeply touches every visitor. Narrow hill roads, thick woods and beautiful lakes are the highlights of Toranmal, The Gokarnath and Nagarjun temoles are visited by thousands every year. The grand fair of Maha Shivratri takes place in front of Gokarnath temple every year from March to April and it attracts hordes of devotees.
How to reach
The nearest airport is Aurangabad
The nearest railhead is Nanurbar (1 hour away) on Surat-Bhusaval line of the Western highway. Another railhead is Dhule(2 hours away)
Mumbai - Toranmal via Dhule Shahada is 8 hour drive. Dhule - Toranmal is 2 hour drive. The State transport buses ply from Dhule, Nandbahadur and Shahada to Toranmal.