Mahabaleshwar is a hill station in India's forested Western Ghats range, south of Mumbai, India. It features several elevated viewing points, such as Arthur’s Seat. West of here is centuries-old Pratapgad Fort, perched atop a mountain spur. East, Lingmala Waterfall tumbles off a sheer cliff. Colorful boats dot Venna Lake, while 5 rivers meet at Panch Ganga Temple to the north.
It is a very popular hill station as it is very close to both Mumbai and Pune and is hardly a 2-2.5 hours ride from Pune and around 3-4 from Mumbai. Panchgani is the sister town of Mahabaleshwar and on a lower altitude. The best time for a quick visit will no doubt be during the monsoons as the views will be spectacular and the cool breeze hitting your face is way too refreshing.
- Being my 1st independent trip from Pune I booked up a 3 star hotel from Groupon (Nearbuy) and shelled out almost 4k just for the hotel.
- Took a Volvo from Pune for around INR 300 per head or a ST bus back for around INR 50 per head. Our hotel was in Panchgani , a 2 km walk downslope from the Bus stand, so went for an all viewpoint trip with a Cab for INR 1600.
- As our hotel was in a bit secluded location we ended up having food from the in-house restaurant and shelled out roughly 1000 per head for 4 meals.
- Take your own bike/car or rent one as it will save the in town travel cost of driving to the viewpoints and exploring the hill station; this should cost around INR 1000 per head.
- Being a hill station, there are a lot of economical homestays which have sprung up off lately on Airbnb. One can either do a homestay or take an OYO or some hotel offering complimentary breakfast. Approx cost per head will be around INR 500-1000 per head per night.
- Plan the trip to Mapro Garden during lunch time to save on the snacking costs. You must try the fresh Ice Cream Sundaes and Grilled Sandwiches.
- Opt for the hotel in Mahabaleshwar and not in Panchgani.