Planning few days at Mahabaleshwar or Panchgani Hills both adjacent and on the way ? This article details my personal experience of these 2 Hill stations near Mumbai and help understand known and famous places to visit and also few point which are less explored. Also some important things that will help your explore this Hill station with ease.
Hill Stations Facts
- Peak Season : December, January and February
- Panchgani Distance from Mumbai : 244 Kilometres.
- Mahabaleshwar Distance From Mumbai : 263 Kilometres. see Mumbai Mahabaleshwar Road Distance
- Altitude : 1370 to 1400 meters height.
- Area distance : Approximately 150 Square Kilometres.
- Average Climate : Between 24 to 30 Degrees, between 12 to 16 Degrees in winter.
- Best Time to visit : Peak season months are September to April / June. Still, since its hill station visit any time during year and climate if moderate.
- The Name : Mahabaleshwar Derived from 3 different sanskrit words Maha (means Huge), Bal (Strong/Strength), Eshwar (The Almighty God) one of the various names of Lord Shiva named Mahadeva and so it means ‘A Powerful God’.
- Ideal Place for : Overnight Picnic, Honeymoon, Few Day Vacation.
- Nearest City Airports : Pune and Mumbai.
- Tourist Details : Tourist around the world gets attracted towards Mahabaleshwar Hill Station for its Climate and Attractions places. Also famous for its Sightseeing and Attraction places to visit. It has deep rooted Mythology and Religious background with famous lord Shiva temples, caves etc. Although a best vacation place near Mumbai which has fun, entertainment and leisure with nature and greenery for all age.
- How to reach : Private taxis / Vehicles from Mumbai, Tourist buses also available.
Panchgani Places to Visit
Before you approach Mahabaleshwar Mountains and Valleys, You might fall in love with Panchgani hills and might want to spend a day or two here. Not very far from each other, Pachgani comes just on the way and is one of the selected destinations by Bollywood stars too. Few Sightseeing points are must places to visit even if you plan not to take stay here, Below are same.
Table Land Point : Table Land is a naturally made wide flat mountain plateau of about 6 Km wide. Located just few Km from Panchgani market, this point attracts lots of tourists from around the world.
Major attractions of this point is the wide view of Panchgani from all 4 side, Horse riding and free flowing cool breeze in winters. About 50 to 100 horses are ready to ride at various cost starting from Rs.150 till Rs.600 depending on Small, Medium or Long ride on this plateau itself. I would recommend start with small ride at Rs.150 to Rs.200 first and continue ahead with more once you like. Season and off season charges differs.
Tiger’s Cave : One of the 2 caves at Table land point is this Tiger’s cave. Steep down ladders with 15 to 20 stairs goes to this cave. Hardly 10 to 15 metres, this caves has nothing to see and will not recommend if you have no ample time to explore other beauties of this hills stations. They charge Rs.10 per person which is not worth spending when number of people in group are more. Below video gives clear idea of what this cave is all about. I am standing on one place and whole cave is visible from single location.
Parsi Point : This is one of the famous sightseeing point at Panchgani which is nearest to Market and is covered by major tour operators of Mahabaleshwar. A wide view of flowing Krishna river along the valley with a beautiful view of Sydney point (See below) and Table land on the right side of this point. It is the must place to be visited during sightseeing outings.
Like Britishers, Parsi community frequented Mahabaleshwar hills in early years of it been known as one of the best hills stations near Mumbai, and so i feel this point was loved by most of them. Take you own binocular or hire the 2 of the rented available here which explores these mountains and shows 5 points like New Era High School, Table land point, Sydney Point and a Temple spotted far inside deep valley. The Telescope like Binocular guide will detail you about Dabang, Chennai express and other movie shoots locations that can be seen from this point. If you have your own Binocular, i would highly recommend you not forget to carry same here. Parking charges by Panchgani Municipal corporation is Rs.20 for cars which is also valid for table land point. Checkout this video below :
Sydney Point : Just 1 Km ahead of Table Land point is this Sydney point. On left side of the road leaving Panchgani comes a resort and two narrow roads that goes to this point. If you have less time, i would recommend skip this point and go ahead to other famous and must places to visit on the list.
You can take your car till top of this point and climb few steps to see a different mountain view. Some construction is going on which seems like a special sightseeing point for better view. Serene, calm with a good sunset view in the clouds with cool breezy climate is what you can expect the most from this place to be visited only if you have enough time. I Hope this video below will help you take the decision.
Mapro Garden : Towards Mahabaleshwar but inside Panchgani at about 5 Kilometres from Market is Mapro garden. Your shopping destination for varieties of Syrups, Juices, jams, Chocolates and much more by one of the famous brands ‘Mapro’, Other two are ‘Malas’ and ‘Madhusagar’. There are more brands, But these 3 are the most preferred and visited as sightseeing attractions and also for its quality.
Kids will surely enjoy these place which is must the visit as they have many things to capture your family moments like a special bike, strawberry board to put you face in and take snaps, beautiful artificial stream with lotus, a restaurant with strawberries and other drinks varieties (Try Strawberry with fresh cream here). At entrance is these one point which you will sure visit, Its a syrup and juice testing corner. So before you buy have a sip free of cost and then decide to purchase or not.
Finally at backside is the these huge strawberry farm, A wide range of plantation you will like to have a view (See Strawberry Plantation video below). You also have wash room facilities (Toilets etc) inside with no cost or charges to pay. Parking is also available and is free.
Mapro Gardeb Strawberry Plantation : Winter, Mahabaleshwar and Strawberries is the perfect combo pack for any tourists or we people from Mumbai. Going to this hill station and not visiting Mapro Strawberries farm is not done. You will be amazed seeing that bunch of mouth watering red strawberries popping out of that ground creepers in Mapro farms. Mapro is a very famous brand for not just these Strawberries farm but they actually process those and make syrups and other varieties reaching many houses across Maharashtra state and outside too. So walking into fresh strawberry plantation should be a must on places to see when here on hills. Also eat those fresh picks till you feel filled through out the day. The plantation can be seen from early morning till evening 8 for free.
Panchgani Market : Yes, if you are coming here in your private vehicle and not with travel tour operators, you must visit and explore Panchgani market. Like any other market, But with pleasant climate and no sweating, all the shops and eateries are available here.
You must purchase some baby Carrots, Radishes, Ber (Ziziphus mauritiana), Strawberries, Raspberries and Mulberries. I would recommend to have Strawberry with fresh cream and Juice too when in peak season at Juice corner called ‘Hilltop’. Kindly note that there are not much options for Vegetarian & Jain food, Just 2 or 3 Restaurants. Purohit Thali System for Jains and Vegetarians is available inside market. Good options for all those Non-Vegetarian food lovers. Beer and Wine shop, IDBI and SBI ATM’s, Petrol Stations are all available inside these market of Panchgani.
Mahabaleshwar Places to Visit
Landscapes, Mountains and Valleys are Major tourist attractions of Mahabaleshwar. Most of the places to see or Spots are referred and named as ‘Points’. One thing to noticed is the name of all these attraction spots (Points). Britishers and Parsi community people loved this place and were few of those who initially explored these mountains as ideal vacation places due to its cool climate throughout year. Gradually as tourism industry explored, Mahabaleshwar became one of the selective hills station destinations near Mumbai for couple of days vacation. Britishers built every sight seeing points with Indian labours and named each of these points referring their beloved lady partners, daughters, wife etc and some spots named on own for pride and remembrance. Below listed are all those major attractions famous and commonly explored by guided tour operators too.
Kate’s Point : In the name of her beautiful daughter ‘Kate’, Sir John Malcom (a Britisher) named this attraction point of Mahabaleshwar, Possibly as she liked to come at this location at 1280 Meter height and Echo her voice back. Kates point is also famously called ‘Echo Point’ and you must try your voice out there like Kate did.
See Video :
Lodwick Point : Famously called Elephant head Point, Lodwick point is famous between tourists and has beautiful view of Krishna river. The valley with zigzag flow can be seen from left to the right at the most possible view one can. This point is at about 1230 meters high. Surprisingly you are standing near Needle hole point, details of same is below.
Needle Hole Point : Just at some distance from Kates point when you see it, You see a Needle like hold around Elephant shaped mountain trunk and so is the attraction called. Another places for mesmerizing Krishna River view.
Actually, at just few meters from Kates point you see these Elephant head and Needle point which are both same. These Elephant head what Kates point is all about, Its just that you cannot see this mountain stone resembling elephant head and needle being on the kates point as its below same and need to walk at few metres to have a view.
Arthur’s Seat Point : Adjacent to Kates Point and on the same way is Arthur’s eat point. About 10 to 12 kilometres from Mahabaleshwar main market, This is a must see place known for its deep shallow valley view. Few guides will surely refer to a huge Dinosaurs shaped mountain, and yes as i saw personally it do look like a Dinosaurs laying fat on peak of that mountain. During summer, this mountain dries yet the beauty of the valley persist. It is said that a Britisher named ‘Arthur Malet’ was first to visit this sight seeing location and so he named this newly explored place by his name. Two other Nearest points of attractions are Marjorie and Savitri.
Mumbai Point : From this attraction spot, A Road can be seen that connects Mumbai city to Hills of Mahabaleshwar and so the name ‘Mumbai Point’, Sounds little funny but that is what the information i got. Also called Sunset Point, It is a must place to visit and should be planned accordingly in evening.
Wilson Point : As you go more higher at about 1430 meters high, Wilson point shown up which is famous for its Sunrise view, Yeah exactly opposite to what Mumbai Point is known for. This Sunrise point is said to be the higest peak of Mahabaleshwar mountains from which one can see most of the other famous attraction places on the list.
Babbington Point : Yet another Sight seeing place known for its lush green mountain view, Specially during monsoons. Babbington point is famous for its view to koyna valley and bishop tank worth seeing.
Marjorie Point : On the way towards Arthurs seat comes a small view deep valley location named by a British women called Marjorie who loved being here.
Tiger’s Spring : The listing of tiger spring in Mahabaleshwar attractions is very important. As the name says its a small about 2 x 2 square meters natural fresh drinking water spring, A man made water tank for tigers of this hill who till date comes at night to fulfil their thirst. If lucky, early morning do see their foot prints at the muddy locations around this water tank.
When i first visited this place in 2009, In day time a old man use to take care of the spring which also have a separate first level fresh natural water flowing down the mountains rich soiled with various herbs and roots of rich plants and trees. I personally tasted the water which was not less then a distilled mineral water, except for real the water was rich in minerals and other forest herbs. Well maintained, sweet and naturally rich form of fresh water, No tourist should miss a sip.
Connaught Peak : Yet another highest peak of Mahabaleshwar hills, this is another place to see during your outdoor sight seeing session as both Sunrise and Sunset can be seen from this one single point. Since it is at so much height, This scenic attracts many tourists which gives a great selfie and video of other attractions of Mahabaleshwar like pratapgadh fort, Pasarani Ghat and Panchgani hills.
Monkey Point : Mountains of Mahabaleshwar resembles lots of feel like images naturally seen, Be it the Dinosaurs like Mountain feel or the 3 monkeys of Mahatama gandhi look alike mountain. The guide says that if you see properly from a particular point towards this monkey point mountain, you can see identical looking images of those 3 famous monkeys there. Lets enjoy the view and go ahead if at all not able to make those imaginary out.
Helen’s Point : A beautiful waterfall view from Helens point add itself to another tourist attractions of Mahabaleshwar, As said Mahabaleshwar sightseeing is all about Mountains major, so is this water flowing blue and green looking valley and waterfall point view.
Panchaganga Temple : Also known as the Old Mahabaleshwar Temple for Lord Shiva, This is a unique and ancient old temple (mandir) known for holy water from 5 different river named Krishna, Savitri, Venna, Gayatri and Koyna flowing closely between Mahabaleshwar’s hilly mountains. As per Hindu Mythology the Gaumukhi (cow face) old stoned structure inside the temple which pours out water has all the 5 river’s water said to be unique and holy in nature. The water is pure, cool and clean as it comes out and tourists also prefers to take holy bath under the same as it is believed to remove away all evil spirits in body.
Old Mahadev Temple : This Shiv mandir (Lord Shiva Temple) is the oldest of all temples. Major tour operators do take you to this temple for sight seeing. This temple is famous for its ‘MAHALINGA’ which is rudrakha shaped and is said to be ‘self-bodied’, called ‘Swayambhoo’ in Sanskrit language.
Shri Krishnabai Temple : Another old temple to have a look and get snapped when around other places of attraction. One can see river flowing behind this temple, a peaceful environment to enjoy.
Gardens : This hills station also has 2 small gardens called Makharia Garden on Satara Road and Pratap Sinha garden, Not so famous as a tourist spots, Yet if someone wish to have a look, its all around.
Less Explored Places to See
Boating at Veena Lake : Although Mahabaleshwar itself is lush green on all its hilly top locations, Veena lake ( By ‘Veena Lake Boat Club’) which is just 2.8 Km and takes about 10 minutes and is a famous lake between tourists for its boating experience surrounded by mountains, dense green during non-summers. Kids gets attracted to the toy train along with colourful boats, which is a perfect ride of location from morning to evening 7. This lake is along Mahabaleshwar Panchgini road with resorts like Suman Raj, Athidhi Executive Hotel and few more.
Tapola’s Shivsagar Lake : The Famous Shivsagar lake in Tapola which is also referred to ‘Mini Kashmir’ for its beautiful Kashmir like resemblance during Monsoon and Winters is what attracts most tourists and honeymoon couples to spend a day or more, explore and enjoy boating at lake by ‘Shivsagar Boat Club’. This location is also famously known as Mahabaleshwar’s Agro Village which is located at Satara’s Wanawali village at about 26 Kilometres from Mahabaleshwar city location, which takes about an hour of road journey and is worth the spot visited and place seen during Monsoon and Winters.
Picture Courtesy : My Friend Mubeen Kagzi.
Rajpuri Caves : About 26 Kilometres from Mahabaleshar main location, At 9 to 10 Kilometres from Panchgini comes this Ancient historic Rajpuri caves on Khinger road, Satara. The roads inside Rajpuri village are narrow, So it is recommended to park your vehicle at entry of village and walk which talks hardly few minutes. Caves brings back Mythology stories of Mahabaratas Pandav’s who visited, which few sculptures inside also speaks of old history. Kindly note that photography and ladies are not allowed, But better check the same with local as recently their might be changes.
Caves has 3 famous small kunds (Water Bodies) namely Datta, Mallikarjun and Vishnu Kund which has Holy Ganga water and is believed to remove all negatives and sins from once life if one gets in those kunds and take bath. Monday, Thursday and Saturday are when these kunds are open for bath to public as per a notice board inside the so called ‘Pavitra Sangam’ kunds.
Lingamala Waterfalls : Another visual treat if you are visiting Mahabaleshwar in Monsoon (Between June and September). On main Mahabaleshwar Panchgani road at Veena river coastal is Lingamala waterfalls which is at about 5 to 7 kilometres off the main road. Lingamala is a trial trek on hills and should be avoided by elderly and kids. But should not be missed by others as the trail is worth all that walk to the multi-level waterfalls, Scenic and lush green all surrounded. Reach the front gate and walk more for a kilometre to observe the mesmerizing beauty of this hilly region one may fall in love with. Recommended time to visit is early morning till 5:30 to 6:00 in evening.
Personal Review and Recommendations
- For first times, Panchgani comes before Mahabaleshwar.
- Compared to Non vegeterian food, vegeterian options are less in Panchgani market. Purohit Thali option available for veg and jains at Pachgini (11:00 to 2:30 Pm).
- Vitthal Kamat restaurant available on Panchgani Mahabaleshwar Road (Between 7 am to 10 pm).
- Mapro Garden has a tasting counter for all its Syrups, Must try and have fun around.
- Mala’s Jam, Mapro’s Syrups and Madhuram’s Honey is recommended for its quality.
- During peak winter seasons, That is between December to February you must try Strawberries, Juice and with Fresh Cream.
- Strawberries with fresh cream is best at Hilltop (Panchgani Market) & Bagicha (Mahabaleshwar Market) and also at Mapro Garden Restaurant.
- If you love Chana, Then different flavour of Chanas, Chikkis and Fudges are available and famous at Mahabaleshwar market.
- You must explore Mahabaleshwar market (Single lane of about 500 to 1000 metres approximate) for specialities. Amble road side parking options are available at adjacent lanes.
- Fresh vegetable in little varient looks and sweet feel are speciality of Mahabaleshwar and Pachgani, Available at market and on road side vendors at various sightseeing points. Check out list of places to see where these vegetable like Carrots, Radishes, Cherry Tomatoes, Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Guavava, Steamed Corn and Ziziphus mauritiana (Ber) are available and is fun to try.
- Tiger caves at Table land point not worth visit and pay Rs.10 per person. If at all visiting, take your tickets while you pay as the guys seems to skip the bill by saying, take it while exiting if required.
- Entry Exit Toll taxes of Rs.50 per vehicle has to be paid. Separate municipal corporation toll tax has to be given at Panchgani entry and mahabaleshwar entry near Veena lake.
- Seprate passes / charges for visiting Table Land point has to be paid (Rs.20 per head, valid for 7 Days + Rs.10 for parking). Kindly note that same parking ticket can be used at Parsi Point.
- ATM’s like IDBI and SBI, Petrol station, Wine and Beer Shops etc are available at Panchigani market and Mahabaleshwar too.
- Total 2 to 3 Toll Nakas / Jakat Nakas (Rs.117 and Rs.80) will be found on the way from Mumbai to Mahabaleshwar and same in return.
- If you are going to Panchgani or Mahabaleshwar from Mumbai for first time, Kindly note that there is a very important RIGHT turn after Khandala and you have to take Wai Surur road. This turn is below a flyover bridge.
- Once on Wai Surur road, Distance from same (Right from main highway) to Mahabaleshwar is 45 Kilometres taking about1 hour 15 minutes GHAT journey. Similarly Panchgani is at 25 Km taking 45 to 50 minutes ghat journey.
- Panchagini to Mahabaleshwar exact distance is 19 Kilometres taking about 35 Minutes.
- Hotel Charges differs on Weekdays compared to Weekends, Bargains possible during Off seasons (Winters).
- Cheese Factory and Wax Museum are two new places to visit if not already on your list.
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See Also : Matheran Hill Station.