“2 Most sought Hill stations near Mumbai as of 2020, Mahabaleshwar & Panchgani are adjacent to each other and have lots of attraction places to see. Below is the updated details of same with some personal tips, reviews and things to know..”
Before i guide you related some attractions of Panchgani & Mahabaleshwar Hill Stations, An important thing is to know about the details on Entry Fee / Toll Tax.
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, About 12 to 16 Degrees in winter.
- Best Time to visit : Although the Hills are always the best, September to April / June is when people prefer. For fresh strawberries visit in Mid-January.
- 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 Sightseeing Attractions. The place has deep rooted Mythology and Religious background with famous lord Shiva temples, caves etc.One of the best vacation places 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 Attraction Places
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, Panchgani is the first hill station you will be approached on the mountain / ghats, About 18 Km before Mahabaleshwar.
One of the favorite locations of Bollywood actors like Aamir Khan who owns a beautiful private Bunglow at a scenic location of Panchgani. Few Sightseeing points as detailed below, One must see when on the way of while returning back.
Table Land Point : Table Land is a natural & very 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 cool breeze in winters are loved, Yet Summers are equally hot and less recommended.
About 50 to 100 horses are ready to take you to a 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. Numerous bollywood film shooting of 90’s are done at this location.
Tiger’s Cave : One of the 2 caves at the above mentioned Table land point is the Tiger’s cave. Steep down ladders (Some 15 to 20 stairs) that goes down to the small cave area.
Hardly 10 to 15 metres area, Practically this cave has nothing to see and will not recommend if you are short on time & have to explore other places of Panchgani hills.
Note for larger group : Charge of Rs.10 per person is taken to enter, which is practically not worth spending when number of people in group are more. Below video gives a clear idea of what this cave is all about. I am standing on one place and whole cave is visible from that one location.
Parsi Point : This is one of the famous sightseeing point of Panchgani which very close to the Market, Recommended & on the list of major tour operators. A wide view of flowing Krishna river along the valley and also a beautiful view of Sydney point and Table land on the right side of this point.
Britishers & Parsi community frequented Mahabaleshwar hills in those early years and since then, undoubtedly it is one of the best hill station near Mumbai, And so the name. Take your own binocular or hire the ‘Telescope’ that is available at the point on rent, A beautiful view of those mountains & Valley is a quick grab. They show 5 points view form that Binocular which are New Era High School (As seen in Movie ‘Taare Zameen Par’), Table land point, Sydney Point and a Temple which is spotted far inside deep valley.
The Telescope guide will also detail you about Dabang, Chennai express and other movie shoots locations that can be seen from parsi 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 (Note : This Charges are also valid for table land point, Do not pay extra). Checkout this video below :
Sydney Point : Just 1 Km ahead of Table Land point is Sydney point. On left side of the main road while leaving the Panchgani market exit, 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 visit places on the list.
You can take your car till top of this point and park (Free). Then need to climb few steps to get some mesmerizing view of few surrounding mountains, Best during early monsoon. When i went, Some construction was going on to make the sightseeing point tourist friendly for a better space to view.
Serene & calm, It is one of the good sunset point with very breezy environment & cool climate. Below video grabs a quick view of the same.
Mapro Garden : Towards Mahabaleshwar within the Panchgani hills at about 5 Kilometres from Market area is the famous Mapro garden. Your one stop shopping destination for varieties of Syrups, Juices, jams, Chocolates and much more.
This shop & attraction place is one great place for some snacks, ice creams etc to chill with your group, Owned by the famous brands ‘Mapro’. Other two known brands that sells all this are ‘Malas’ and ‘Madhusagar’. There are more brands to the list, But these 3 are the most famous, preferred and visited as sightseeing attractions and best known for its quality.
Some best family moments can be captured on your camera lenses and Kids will surely enjoy the jumping trampoline at the entry gate, Just opposite the purchase area. To click some lovely pictures there are some Selfie & Dedicated Photo clicking areas like a special bike, strawberry board to peep out your face for a click, A beautiful mini artificial pond with lotus, a restaurant for quick snack & bites (Try Strawberry with fresh cream here). At the very entrance is a syrup and juice testing corner, Taste for free before you purchase.
Watch those widespread strawberry farm at the backside area of the restaurant, Strawberry plantation can be seen and worth few photo clicks here, (See Strawberry Plantation video below). Clean Washroom / Toilets facilities are available inside with no charges. Road side free Parking is also available.
Mapro Garden Strawberry Plantation : Winters are perfect for imagining Mahabaleshwar and Strawberries, A perfect combo pack for any tourist visiting these hills. The plantation itself is an amazing scene as the bunch of mouth watering red strawberries creeper plants pops out of that farm ground at Mapro farms.
Mapro is a very famous brand for fresh Strawberries farm and for making syrups, juice and other varieties that reaches many homes of Maharashtra during peak season. So walking into fresh strawberry plantation (At Few places allowed) should be a must on list of places to see & things to do at Panchgani & Mahabaleshwar hills. Plantation can be seen from early morning till evening 8 for free.
Panchgani Market : If you are coming here in your private vehicle and not via some travel tour operators, you must visit and explore Panchgani market. Like any other market, But with pleasant climate, a different experience hanging out through road side stalls and vendors selling some seasonal herbs and fruits here.
You must purchase some Baby Carrots, Radishes, Ber (Ziziphus mauritiana), Strawberries, Raspberries and Mulberries. On your list A MUST should be ‘Strawberry with Fresh Cream’ and ‘Juice’ too.
During seasons, A Juice corner name ‘Hilltop’ at Panchgani Market is what i experienced. Although comparatively less, Yet few options for Vegetarian & Jain food are available here, Some few 2 or 3 Restaurants.
Purohit Thali System for Jains and Vegetarians is also available in this market. Good options for all those Non-Vegetarian food lovers. Beer and Wine shop, IDBI and SBI ATM and Petrol Station available inside market area of Panchgani.
Landscapes, Mountains and Valley and Of Course the non-chaotic & fresh climate is what Attracts major to this locations. Most of the places to see (Sightseeing Points) are not very far from each other, Except when you visit Old Mahabaleshwar temple area and Attraction places around.
As said, Britishers and Parsi community people loved this place and were few of those who initially explored these mountains making it an ideal vacation places due to its Pollution free cool climate & proximity from Mumbai. Gradually as Travel & Tourism increased, Mahabaleshwar became one of the selective hills station destinations near Mumbai for many couple & families of a day or few vacation.
Britishers built every sight seeing points through Indian labours and named each of these points referring their beloved lady partners, daughters, wife etc. And some points named on their own for pride and remembrance. Below listed are all those attraction places which are 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 enjoyed the Echo of her own voice.
Kates point is also famously called ‘Echo Point’ and one must try your voice out. The Echo is best heard when shouted in a particular angle.
See Video :
Lodwick Point : Famously called ‘Elephant Head Point’, Lodwick point is famous between tourists and has beautiful view of Krishna river. The picture of Elephant shaped mountain rock can be seen at every other website and travel magazine that details about the hill station.
A little peep down the valley and one see a huge flowing river in zigzag form from as far as left one can see to the right. This point is at about 1230 meters high. Surprisingly you are standing near Needle hole point, details of same is below.
Needle Hole Point : Walk backward at some distance from Kates & Lodwick point towards the Needle Hole Point location and the same Elephant shape where you stood (Lodwick Point) is clearly seen. A Needle like hole formed by the Elephant shaped mountain rock trunk is all the attraction point is called for. It is a very scenic location of this hills.
Arthur’s Seat Point : Adjacent to Kates Point and on the same way is Arthur’s seat point. It is about 10 to 12 kilometres from Mahabaleshwar main market, If you are out for sightseeing, This point is a must see known for its deep valley view.
Few guides will surely refer to a huge Dinosaurs shaped mountain, That will make you feel like a huge beast is lying all frozen since many years. During summer, this mountain get dried still the beauty of the valley persist.
It is said that a Britisher named ‘Arthur Malet’ was first to visit this sightseeing location and so he named this newly explored place on his name. Two other points of attractions adjacent to this one are Marjorie and Savitri. Not writing details as nothing much, Just a change in a angle to view same mountains.
Mumbai Point : From this attraction spot, A Road can be seen that connects Mumbai city to Mahabaleshwar Hills and so the name ‘Mumbai Point’, Sounds little funny but that is what the information it is. Also called Sunset Point, A recommended attraction place to view the Sunset with some plannings to be done according to the setting sun times.
Wilson Point : Travel uphill little more at about 1430 meters high, Here is Wilson point famous for its Sunrise view. It is exactly opposite in direction to the already discussed Mumbai Point. This Sunrise point is said to be the highest peak of Mahabaleshwar mountains from which one can see most of the other famous attraction places on the list.
Babbington Point : A perfect monsoon visit Sightseeing location if you love lush green mountain view. Babbington point is famous for its view of koyna valley and bishop tank.
Marjorie Point : On the way towards Arthur’s seat comes a small view location which has deep valley location named by a British women called ‘Marjorie’ who loved being here.
Tiger’s Spring : The listing of tiger spring in Mahabaleshwar Sightseeing places is very important. As the name says it is a small about 2 x 2 square meters natural fresh drinking water spring. It is a man made water tank for Jungle tigers who still visits for drinking water at night. If lucky sometimes in early morning footprints at near by locations are also seen.
When i first visited Tiger Spring in 2009, A old man use to take care of the spring which also another secured & Closed tank connected. Fresh natural water flows down the mountains absorbing Minerals & Vitamins from various herbs and roots of plants and trees of that hill.
I personally has a full glass of that pure water which thousand times better in taste, healthy compared to the best artificially distilled mineral water. Well maintained, sweet and naturally rich form of fresh water is still available which no tourist should miss.
Connaught Peak (Closed Now) : Another highest peak of Mahabaleshwar hills, this was once on the list of attractions to view both Sunrise and Sunset from one single point. It is at much height and is another scenic place that attracted many tourists for some good pictures & videos of Pratapgadh fort, Pasarani Ghat and Panchgani hills.
I really do not know why this place is closed.
Monkey Point : A Mountain when seen will make you feel like the famous 3 monkey icons as Mahatma gandhi, Seating as a sculptured rocks of that mountain. Few guide says that if you see properly from a particular point towards this monkey mountain, You can see some identicals of those famous BURA MAT.. 3 famous monkeys. Lets enjoy the view and go ahead even if at all not able to make those imaginary out.
Helen’s Point : A beautiful waterfall view from Helen’s point is a lush green deep valley with a waterfall seen suing monsoon.
Panchganga Temple : Also known as the Old Mahabaleshwar Temple of Lord Shiva, This is a unique and ancient temple (Called ‘Mandir’ in Hindi), known for its holy water reaching here from 5 different river called Krishna, Savitri, Venna, Gayatri and Koyna off Mahabaleshwar hilly mountains.
As per Hindu Mythology the Gaumukhi (cow face) old stoned structures inside the temple pours out this holy water and it said to be unique thing in itself and holy by nature. The water is pure, cool and clean as it comes out. Previously tourists also prefered to take a holy dip bath under the same as it is believed to remove away all evil spirits a body.
This Lord Shiva Temple is the oldest of all temples. Major tour operators have this mythological attraction place on their sightseeing list. This temple is famous for its ‘MAHALINGA’ which is rudraksha shaped and is said to be ‘self-bodied’ (Also called ‘Swayambhoo’ in Sanskrit language).
Shri Krishnabai Temple : One more temple around with a river flowing on the backside.
More Gardens : This hills station also has 2 small gardens called ‘Makharia Garden’ on Satara Road and ‘Pratap Sinha garden’, Not very frequently visit & famous as a tourist spot, Yet if someone wishes to have a look, it is all around.
Some Less Explored Places
Boating at Veena Lake : Although Mahabaleshwar itself is lush green around all its locations, Veena lake ( By ‘Veena Lake Boat Club’) which is at 2.8 Km when from Mahabaleshwar towards Panchgani takes about 10 minutes to reach and is a famous lake for boating experience.
Kids gets attracted to the toy train shaped colourful boats, One can enjoy the rides from morning 7:00 Am to Evening 7:00 Pm. Few resorts like Suman Raj, Athidhi Executive Hotel etc are available in this location.
Tapola’s Shivsagar Lake : The Famous Shiv Sagar lake of Tapola, Also referred as ‘Mini Kashmir’ near Mahabaleshwar due to its resemblance in Monsoon and early Winters.
It does attracts many tourists and honeymoon couples to spend a day or more, explore and enjoy some boating at Lake Tapola by ‘Shiv sagar Boat Club’.
This location is also famously known as Mahabaleshwar Agro Village, Located at Satara’s Wanawali village at about 26 Kilometres from Mahabaleshwar city location. It takes about an hour of road journey and is worth the visit during Monsoons and Winter seasons.
Rajpuri Caves : At 26 Kilometres from Mahabaleshar main location and 9 to 10 Kilometres from Panchgani is this Ancient & Historic Rajpuri caves located on Khinger road of Satara. The roads inside Rajpuri village are narrow, So it is recommended to park your vehicle at entry of village and walk which takes few minutes & not much more.
Caves has some Mythology stories of Mahabharat & Pandavas who visited this place. It has few sculptures inside that details of the old history. Kindly note that photography and ladies are not allowed inside, But better check the exact current details of same from the local villagers.
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 one’s life if one takes holy bath in the called ‘Pavitra Sangam’ kunds.
Monday, Thursday and Saturday are when this kund is open for bath to public (As per a notice board inside).
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 waterfall, Scenic and lush greenery surrounded.
Reach the front gate and walk more for a kilometre to observe the mesmerizing beauty of this hilly region. Recommended time to visit is early morning till 5:30 to 6:00 in evening.
Personal Review and Recommendations
- Panchgani comes before Mahabaleshwar on the same route upon crossing Wai Ghat.
- Compared to Non vegetarian food, vegetarian options are less at Panchgani market. Purohit Thali option available for veg and jains at Panchgani (Timings 11:00 to 2:30 Pm).
- Vitthal Kamat restaurant available on the main road of Panchgani Mahabaleshwar (Timings Between 7:00 Am to 10:00 Pm).
- As said above, Mapro Garden has a tasting counters for major flavours of Syrups, Must try and have fun around.
- Mala’s Jam, Mapro’s Syrups and Madhuram’s Honey is famous & recommended for its quality.
- During peak winter season, i.e between December to February one must try fresh Strawberries, Juice with Fresh Cream.
- One of the best shops for Strawberries with fresh cream is ‘Hilltop’ inside Panchgani Market & Hotel Bagicha at Mahabaleshwar Market and also at Mapro Garden Restaurant.
- If you love Chana, Then different flavour of Chanas, Chikkis and Fudges are available which are also famous things of these Hill stations.
- One must explore Mahabaleshwar market in evening (Single lane of about 1 to 2 Km long approximate). Road side parking options are available at adjacent lanes. Chemists (Medical Store, ATM etc) all available.
- Fresh vegetable which looks little different in shape are speciality of Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani hill. Available with road side market vendors in market & also at various sightseeing locations.
List of those vegetable are Carrots, Radishes, Cherry Tomatoes, Strawberries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Guavava, Steamed Corn and Ziziphus mauritiana (Ber) and few more which i may have missed.
- Tiger caves at Table land point is 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 you exit if required, This was around 2016.
- 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. Complete details at the article link at the start of this page
- Separate 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 Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar markets.
- 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 later you have to take Wai Surur road. This turn is below a flyover bridge.
- Once on Wai Sarur road, Distance from same (Right from main Highway) to Mahabaleshwar is 45 Kilometres which takes about 1 hour 15 minutes of Zigzag road GHAT journey. Similarly Panchgani is at 25 Km taking 45 to 50 minutes.
- Panchgani to Mahabaleshwar exact distance is 19 Kilometres which takes 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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Also see list of things to do at these hills.
See Also : Matheran Hill Station.