The highest hill station in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra, Mahabaleshwar is situated at 1372 meters around Lake Venna,
Mahabaleshwar is Sanskrit for God of Great Power. It was summer capital of Governor of the old Bombay Presidency.Covering 10 sq km. There are 30 valley viewpoints with panoramic vistas scattered around the hill station and their access roads make for shady, pleasant walks and treks. The area has strong historical connections with Shivaji, the heroic Maratha warrior king.
The Britishers built various mansions, cottages and bungalows around the town, lending it a charming, sophistication. The place is popular with tourists, especially from Mumbai and Pune, wanting to take a break from the rush of rat race. the hill-station is very crowded during vacations like christmas & Diwali and in summers.
Places to See
It used to be the most famous building in the olden days. it was built in 1829 with magnificient architectural skills. Unfortunately, it has lost a lot of its old charm now.
A visit to the old Raman Catholic Holy cross church is worth a detour. although the church is practically falling apart, its stained-glass windows are still a sight to behold. this deserted church is now looked after by a Hindu family.
The club was built in 1881 and is still flourishing and well-maintained. Only members of the club can stay here. It is very popular for its well-tended roses and lovely jogging track. Christmas is grandly celebrated by loyal members every year. Fortunately, one facility is open to visitors; who can use the golf course whenever they feel like it.
Also worth a look is this old structure. Mahatma Gandhi once lived here in 1945.
This is 24 Kms, away from Mahabaleshwar. The fort was built in 166 by Moropant trimbak Pingle under the command of the Maratha rular Shivaji. It was here that the mighty General of Bijapur, Afjal Khan, was killed by Shivaji. The fort has a great view.
Panchgani: Tucked away in Satara district, just 19 kms east of Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani is also amongst the most frequented hill resorts. The name is derived from the fact that it is located at the centre of five hills ("Panch" = five, "Gani" = hills). The place is well known for trekking and other adventure activities. Climb atop 'Table Land', a famous flat-mountain top, from where you can have a look at the vast plain below. The berry farms here are another tourist attraction.
Pune is the nearest airport both for Mahabaleshwar (120 km and Panchgani (98 km)
For Mahabaleshwar, the nearest railhead is Wathar (62 km) but Pune (120 km) is the convenient railhead.
For Panchgani, the nearest railhead is Wathar (45 km). Mumbai-Wathar via Pune (312 km). Pune-Wathar (120 km)
From Mumbai via Pune, Mahabaleshwar is 290 km and via Mahad it is 247 km. The State Transport buses ply from Mumbai and Pune to Mahabaleshwar. MTDC operates daily bus services except during the monsoon, between Mumbai-Mahabaleshwar-Mumbai. Also sightseeing tours for Mahabaleshwar and Mahabaleshwar-Pratapgad Fort.
From Mumbai via Pune, Panchgani is 270 km and via Mahad 266 km, from Pune 98 kilometers and from Mahabaleshwar 19 km. The State Road Transport buses ply from Satara, Pune, Wai, Mahabaleshwar and Mahad. MTDC runs a regular bus service between Mumbai and Panchgani.
Both Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani have reasonable priced bungalows. MTDC run holiday resorts and hotels.
Taxis and rickshaws are easily available though bicycles and horseback are recommended for traveling long distances.
When To Visit
Best time to visit Mahabaleshwar is October to June and best time to visit Panchgani is September to May.