A drive of approximately 5 hours from the glitz and glamour of Mumbai lies the serene Mahabaleshwar. Known for its vast strawberry farms and lush greenery, Mahabaleshwar provides the much-needed respite.
Not only the entire town of Mahabaleshwar is charming but the route to reach the town has stunning mountain scenery which will give you enough options to click some amazing pictures.
So, if you have been yearning for that escape from the city chaos, we have an interesting and comprehensive 4-day itinerary that will do wonders for you. Not only Mahabaleshwar but its sister hill station, Panchgani, has also made its way to our itinerary and we have all the information you need to make your escapade to the hills possible.
Day 01: A day of exploration of a man-made lake, fort, waterfall
1. Venna Lake – A glimpse of hard work of humans
The man-made Venna Lake is one place that is perfect for enjoying some time away from the concrete jungle. Sounds like the perfect place to kickstart your digital detox?
Not popular on the list of places to visit in Mahabaleshwar, this lake is highly underrated when it comes to tranquility and beauty. Instead of ticking off the famous places from your list, a round of boating in the lake will definitely soothe your senses. Explore the lush greenery that surrounds the lake either on a row or paddle boat. Soak in the stunning vistas around you or gorge on the mouth-watering street food sold by the small restaurants near the lake. If boating doesn’t excite you, horse riding is also an option for travelers who are seeking thrill instead of solace. The lake remains open for tourists till 7 in the evening, and boating charges vary between ₹250 and ₹500 for row boats, and are a fixed ₹440 for paddle boats.
2. A short detour to explore the Pratapgarh Fort
The Maratha rulers had their own history and legacy. This is the reason why Pratapgarh Fort, even after being at a distance of 24 km from the hill station has made its way to our list of places to visit in Mahabaleshwar.
An important historical relic of the Maratha empire, this monument is the testament to their struggles for Swaraj under the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji. Complete with elongated, mysterious pathways along with elegant ponds, dark chambers, and scenic walkways, one can spend the entire day just soaking in the magnificence and sheer grandiose of the fort.
3. Stop by the gorgeous Lingmala Falls
Another ethereal and hidden gem of Mahabaleshwar, Lingmala Falls is just 6 km from this hill station. The cold, cascading waters of the falls make for a stunning sight, especially in the monsoons. Whether you are a couple looking for some intimate places to spend time cozying up or a group of friends out on an adventure trail, the hike to the fall is perfect for just about anyone.
This, along with its picturesque beauty is the reason why Lingmala Falls should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Mahabaleshwar.
Day 02: A temple visit and berry shopping
4. Pay your respects to Lord Shiva
The Mahabaleshwar Temple in the older part of the city has a shrine erected to pay homage to Lord Shiva. Most tourists are attracted to this temple just to see the huge Shivalinga in the middle of the holy pond.
Equally beautiful on the outside, the temple is a must-visit place in Mahabaleshwar for devotees of Lord Shiva. Moreover, the setting of the temple amidst lush greenery makes it even more tranquil and serene.
5. Splurge on various types of berries
One of the most fun yet underrated activity one should do in Mahabaleshwar is shopping. Unlike other popular hill stations, shopping in Mahabaleshwar is not your typical scavenging for clothes and jewelry at the cheapest rate. When shopping in Mahabaleshwar, you will come across fresh berries of various types, namely gooseberries, raspberries, and strawberries as well. You can also haul some unique products from the famous Town Bazaar.
If you have the knack for bargaining a good deal for yourself then you should be prepared to do so in Mahabaleshwar. Start from the Town Bazaar where you can find trinkets, leather goods, tribal pieces, slippers, beautifully carved walking sticks and local handicrafts. Buy all of them at one place, Pratapgarh, in case you don’t have the time to stop at different shops.
Thanks to the fresh produce of fruits available in the local market, this place is a haven for lovers of jams, squashes, jellies and even marmalades. Want to watch the entire process of how these delectable jams and jellies are made? Do visit the Mapro Gardens which is en route Panchgani from Mahabaleshwar. There are licensed bee farms in Mahabaleshwar which you can visit after you have sampled enough jellies and marmalades.
6. Watch the Sunset at Arthur’s Seat
Named after the first man who built a house at this point, Arthur Malet, this vantage point is among the most popular tourist attractions in Mahabaleshwar. Arthur’s Seat is situated at an altitude of 1470 m and offers a panoramic view of Konkan and Deccan regions. You also come across Tiger’s Spring, the source of Savitri River, while walking towards the sunset point.
Now that you have ended the day with a picturesque sunset, you can head back to your hotel in Mahabaleshwar and leave for Panchgani – another beautiful summer hill station – early next morning.
Day 03: Paragliding in Panchgani
Just 19 kms away from Mahabaleshwar is the scenic town of Panchgani where there is no dearth of adventure activities. From paragliding, parasailing to biking and hiking, opt for the adventure activity that suits your thrill level.
With scores of paragliding clubs and spots, you can easily opt for a short air travel in Panchgani. This renowned and must-try activity is completely safe and is ideal for nature lovers and people who love to fly high. You can either take the basic course and do it as a one-off activity or go for an advanced course and sail through the sky for a longer duration. Once up there, you can even have the entire experience recorded on a camera.
A guide accompanies you while you are up there, ensuring that you don’t back off at the last minute. Paragliding in Panchgani is an amazing experience and the views of the entire town add to its beauty. From the stunning lush green landscape of Panchgani to a bird’s eye view of the temples and dams of Wai, the vistas you will witness up in the sky are endless.
Day 04: An excursion to explore nature’s delights and surprises
8. Soak in the breathtaking view from Sydney Point
Located just 21 km from Panchgani Bus Stand, the Sydney Point is a must-visit attraction. This point was named after Sir Sydney Bechwarth, who served as the Commander in Chief of Bombay in 1830. A famous point for all nature lovers, this place offers breathtaking views of the Krishna Valley.
Trek to the point and do visit it in the monsoon because its beauty is simply exemplified after those first few showers of rain.
9. Try horse riding at Table Land
Table Land, the second largest plateau in the world, is spread over a vast expanse of land and covering the whole area on foot takes a lot of time. This is why horse riding at Table Land makes it to the list of things to do in Panchgani.
Asia’s second largest plateau, this one is famous for the strikingly beautiful vistas it offers of the nearby mountains surrounding Panchgani. You won’t be able to leave this place for a few hours. So, spend your time walking along the plateau or try horse riding as well.
We suggest visiting this table land during sunrise or sunset because nature puts up a picture perfect and colorful landscape that you won’t be able to forget.
10. Shop to your heart’s content at Shivaji Market
Among the many things to do in Panchgani, shopping is something that cannot be missed, especially if you are a fan of leather goods. The Shivaji Circle Market is a haven for authentic leather goods. You can easily bargain your way through some shop to get great quality and unique designs for some amazing prices.
Apart from leather goods, the market is also renowned for its wooden handicrafts and other knick-knacks. If your budget trip to Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani allows for some shopping, we recommend you do it.
Even if you don’t end up buying the leather goods, you can always go back home with the famous sweet dish of Maharashtra – chikki.
If you can extend your holiday and spare a few days more, do visit the nearby hill station of Wai. Located just 14 km from Panchgani, Wai is a hidden getaway that is also famous as Bollywood’s favorite destination. Why? Because many blockbuster movies like Dabangg, Chennai Express, and Mangal Pandey have been shot here.
So, the next time you want to escape from Mumbai or Pune, you know where to go.