Mahableshwar is one of the most popular hill stations in Maharashtra. A trip to Mahableshwar should be combined with Panchgani, which is 18 Km before on the same road. There are some interesting things to do and places to visit in Panchgani also. I agree Mahabaleshwar is a touristy place but if you plan properly then it is easier to beat the crowd. The whole area around Mahabaleshwar is beautiful with some very interesting viewpoints from where you can see the valley and close by areas. The peaks, unique flora, beautiful valleys, scenic views, nature trails, and fresh air makes Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani an interesting destination in Maharastra. There are some interesting places to visit in Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar during a short trip of 2 to 3 days.
Where are Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani
Mahabaleshwar is in the Satara district of Maharastra in the Sahyadri mountain range. It is 120 Km from Pune and 260 Km from Mumbai. The name Mahabaleshwar came from the God Mahabalii who is a form of Shiva and there is a temple of him in Mahabaleshwar.
The nearest airport to Mahabaleshwar
Pune is the nearest airport and it is 128 Km from Mahabaleshwar town.
Nearest railway station to Mahabaleshwar
Wathar & Satara are the nearest railway station and both are approximately 60 Km from Mahabaleshwar. It is convenient to travel to Mahabaleshwar from Pune railway station as there more bus and taxi options from there.
Best way to travel to Mahabaleshwar
It is better to travel to Mahabaleshwar from Pune because there are several buses between the two cities.
If you are on a budget then travel by MSRTC (Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation) buses, which are economical and can be booked online on their website.
If you like to travel in comfort and still don’t want to pay too much then opt for private buses. Several private bus companies are operating between Pune and Mahabaleshwar. They have Volvo and Mercedes Benz buses, their seats are quite comfortable. The tickets can be booked on Makemytrip and Redbus website.
Otherwise, hire a taxi for the entire trip. It will cost more but most comfortable and private.
Best time to visit Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani
Mahabaleshwar is at the altitude of 1353 meters in Sahyadri mountain range and its weather remains cool throughout the year. In summers temperature goes up to 30 to 32-degree Celcius maximum and in winter it remains 10-12 degree Celcius maximum. This makes Mahabaleshwar ideal for traveling throughout the year.
Though In monsoon season lesser tourist visit Mahabaleshwar. End of the monsoon is the best time to visit when it rains intermittently. During this time you can also see waterfalls, which usually dry after the rainy season. As and when it rains, you will see mist everywhere. It gives the very distinct feeling in cool weather of Mahabaleshwar.
Mahabaleshwar is the biggest producer of strawberries in India. Those who are interested in strawberry plantation and fruits they should plan during the harvest season. The strawberry is a seasonal fruit and harvested between October to November and April to May.
There is a strawberry festival in Mapro garden Mahabaleshwar. This festival is usually held on Easter weekend for 4 days, entry is free for everyone. During the festival, you can taste several delicacies of strawberry. Even you can take part in the plucking of strawberry fruits.
Places to visit and things to do in Mahabaleshwar
The main attraction of hill stations in India are different viewpoints, these places offer the best view of the valley and hills. Mahabaleshwar also has several viewpoints and some other places to see.
This is a man-made lake which was built by Shri Appasaheb Maharaj in 1942, he was the ruler of Satara. The lake is spread in an area of 28 acres with a periphery of 7 to 8 km. It’s 2 Km from the main market of Mahabaleshwar.
The lake is surrounded by trees from all sides and it’s one of the most famous tourist attractions of Mahabaleshwar. Boating in the Veena lake is one of the most popular activities. The rowboats and paddleboats are available from morning till evening. A rowboat cost INR 250 for half an hour round in the lake and Peddle Boat costs INR 440 for an hour.
Other than boating horse riding is one of the most popular things around Veena lake. There are merry go round and the toy trains, which can accommodate children as well as adults.
There are several food stalls and restaurants around Veena lake. Bagicha Corner, Hirkani Garden, and Ice cream corner are the most popular eating places. Almost all tourists coming to Mahabaleshwar visit Veena Lake so it remains crowded, especially in the evening. So plan a visit accordingly.
Elephant’s head point
It is walking distance from Lockwid point. The rock formations are in such a way that they form the shape of a trunk of an elephant with the head. That’s how this place got its name. Valley and mountain views are excellent. In rainy season clouds move very fast and you can get a clear view of the valley, so be patient if you see the clouds.
This place gives the 360-degree view of the areas with Pratapgad fort on one side and Savitri Valley on the other side.
It is one of the highest viewpoints in Mahabaleshwar and a popular place. From here you can see the elephant’s head shape in the mountain.
It is just beside the Elephants head point and another viewpoint to see the valleys & hills of Mahabaleshwar.
Lockwid point, Neddle point, Elephant’s head point, Kate’s Point, and Echo point are at one place within walking distance.
One of the highest viewpoints of the town, this one stands out with some of the widest and beautiful lookouts.
This one of the historic place in Mahabaleshwar. It’s situated 20 Km from Mahabaleshwar market and taxi goes till the gate of the fort. From the gate of the fort, you have to climb stairs, which are high and broken at some places. The view from the top is amazing and worth the effort. There are restaurants in the top part of the fort, so you can have meals there.
Dhobi waterfall, Chinaman waterfall, and Lingmala waterfall
These 3 waterfalls are the most popular in Mahabaleshwar but the water reduces or sometimes these falls dry after monsoon months. The best time to see these in monsoon months after the rains.
The market is spread on two roads with lots of small shops selling souvenirs. Several shops in market selling strawberry and chocolate products. There is nothing spectacular about the market but it is a lively place to spend an hour roaming around and experiencing the vibe of the Mahabaleshwar.
Places to see in Panchgani
Panchgani is the twin town of Mahabaleshwar. It is on the Panchgani – Mahabaleshwar road 20 Km before the town of Mahabaleshwar when you travel from Pune. It is smaller than Mahabaleshwar but there are some interesting places to visit in Panchgani.
This place is a combination of gardens, recreation areas, restaurants, shops, and factories. In Mapro garden you can see how they process the fruit and make Jams, squash, and other products. There is a glass wall between the manufacturing area and the visitor area where the whole process can be seen. The products produced can be tasted here and bought from the shops in Mapro garden at discounted prices.
The restaurant in Mapro garden serves decent food though there is nothing spectacular about it is a good place to enjoy pizza, snacks or ice creams in a nice chilled out environment.
This volcanic plateau is Asia’s second longest mountain plateau after Tibetan plateau. It is around 6 Km of flat laterite rock surrounded by hills. This flat place looks like a table standing in the middle of mountains and valley, quite an interesting place.
The other places to see in Table Land. The Pandava’s footprint, which according to the legends belongs to Pandav brothers. There is a cave in Table Land, which goes downwards to the Devil’s Kitchen. According to the popular stories, Pandavas stayed in this cave during their 12 years of exile. Now there is a restaurant in this cave area.
Horse riding and horse cart ride are available in Table Land. They charge a ridiculously high amount (1200 to 1400 INR for 30 to 40-minute ride) to show a few points on Table Land during the ride. Moreover, there is no information about how they treat the animals though they claim that they treat them like their children.
There are food stalls at the beginning of Table Land near the parking area.
Beware of monkeys. I was holding my backpack in front and as I opened it to takeout the camera, a small monkey jumped on it. He hung to the half-opened flap of it. I started screaming and people from close by stalls shooed the monkey. They told me don’t open and close the bag in open.
This is another viewpoint in Panchgani. The valley view is nice from this point.
There is a well-maintained park at this viewpoint. A few food stalls in this area serve snacks and tea-coffee. Sydney point is very popular for watching the sunset. There are a toilet facility and benches for sitting. There is a guy with binocular in the Sydney point park area and he will show you many interesting points for 50 to 60 INR.
Places to eat in Mahabaleshwar
There are several small and medium-size restaurants in Mahabaleshwar market catering to travelers.
This place is popular for wood fire pizzas and non-vegetarian food.
Located on the Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar Road serves everything from sandwiches, pizzas, shakes and ice creams.
Garden Ice cream restaurant
This is located on Mahabaleshwar Panchgani road near Veena lake. This place is popular for snacks and ice creams.
The Grapevine Restaurant
This restaurant is popular for its non-vegetarian food but they serve vegetarian dishes also. They have a couple of tables in open in the front verandah. Nice place to have breakfast.
These are some of the most popular places to visit in Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar. These two places are more about the feel of nature so, go out of the town and explore the natural places. This is the best way to enjoy a trip to these places.