Abhi, have you written something on Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani – a question that has been asked a lot to me of late. All my readers were sceptical that how come I haven’t written something on the famous hill station, that too when I live in Pune and travel a lot to the nearby places and write about them. To be honest, Mahabaleshwar is too touristy and I never felt like writing about it.
Amazing view from Arthur Seat Mahabaleshwar
With the extended monsoon season this year, I finally decided to do a road trip to the hill station. The place wasn’t as crowded as I expected it to be and I was left flabbergasted by its beauty. On my earlier visit to the town, I visited it in the summers and had used public transport, so I couldn’t explore it much. You really need your own transport to explore it to the fullest.
Located in the Sahyadri mountain range of Maharashtra, Mahabaleshwar is a beautiful hill station known for its juicy Strawberries, numerous lakes and waterfalls, majestic peaks, lush green forests, ancient temples and breathtaking valley views. The nearby Panchgani and Wai add more to the beauty of the hill station.
view from Krishnabai temple
Owing to the popularity, so much has been written about Mahabaleshwar over the internet. While planning my trip to Mahabaleshwar, what I found missing was a proper 2-day itinerary covering all the must-visit places which can be useful to plan the complete trip. I did a bit of research on how I can possibly cover Panchgani, Wai and Mahabaleshwar on a 2-day road trip from Pune and mapped all the locations on Gmaps.
Enroute to Mahabaleshwar
Elphinstone Point Mahabaleshwar
How to reach Mahabaleshwar from Pune and Mumbai
Mahabaleshwar is located around 250 kms from Mumbai and 120 kms from Pune. Direct buses are available from both these cities to Mahabaleshwar. To explore the hill station, one would need to rely on Taxis and that could be a bit hefty on your pocket.
Raining at Mahabaleshwar
So let me put down a 2-day itinerary on how I covered all the must-see places in Wai, Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar. You can follow the same if you find it interesting 🙂
Day -1 (Pune – Wai – Panchgani – Mahabaleshwar)
I along with one of my friends started from Pune at around 5 am. We first decided to cover Wai followed by Panchgani and some spots at Mahabaleshwar if we possibly could.
This is what all we covered on Day 1:
Day 1 itinerary
- Shri Maha Ganapati Temple and Shri Kashi Vishweshwar Mandir Wai
You can kick start your journey by taking blessings at the temples of Wai. Mostly the temples at Wai are situated on the bank of Krishna stream. After taking a dip in Krishna river, we took blessings of Lord Ganapati and Lord Shiva.
Shri Maha Ganapati Temple Wai
Shri Kashi Vishweshwar Mandir Wai
- Dhom Lake
After taking the blessings at temples of Wai, next on our list was the scenic Dhom Lake. The Instagram pictures of this lake have always fascinated me and I wanted to visit it in person.
Many Bollywood movies including Swadesh, Chennai express, Singham and Rab ne Bana di Jodi are being shot here. The lake gives a beach like feelings when not filled to its capacity.
Dhom Dam Wai
- Harrisons Folly
Harrisons Folly is a flat table barren land which gives a great view of Panchgani on one side and Wai on the other side. This point comes first if you are entering Panchgani from Wai side. I especially loved riding the bike on this barren land.
Harrison’s Folly Panchgani
Camel at Harrison’s Folly Panchgani
- Sydney Point
Named after Sir Sidney Beckwarth, Sydney point offers breathtaking views of the Dhom Dam, Krishna Valley, Kamalgad Fort and Wai town. On your return journey on day 2, I would recommend you to watch the sunset from here. The sunset views from Sydney point are spectacular.
- Ghatjai Mandir
The temple has sculptures of Goddess Ghatubai and Goddess Jaiebai, hence referred to as ‘The Ghatjai Mandir’.
Ghatjai temple Panchgani
- Table land
Situated at a height of 4500 feet above sea level, Table Land is the highest point of the entire region of Panchgani. It is believed to be Asia’s second-longest mountain plateau. The Table Land gives unobstructed views of the surrounding hills and valleys. Sunrise and sunset views from here are amazing. When I visited it, the hills were covered in green and Table land was full of wildflowers, green grass and bodies of water. Do visit the Tiger cave.
Flower and Lake at Table Land Panchgani
Tiger’s Cave at Table land Panchgani
- Parsi Point
The point is known for its extensive views of the lush green Krishna Valley and the crystal sky-blue backwaters of Dhom dam.
View from Parsi point Panchgani
- Mapro Garden
After exploring the above spots, you must be starving. Why not take a halt at Mapro garden and enjoy the delicious food served at the restaurant? Also, you can try the free samples of Mapro candies and the juices being served here. It’s unlimited!! LoL!!
Mapro store Panchgani
- Kates Point
After having delicious refreshments at Mapro garden, you can head straight to Kate’s Point. Kates point is actually a combination of 3 view points namely Kates’s Point, Echo Point and Needles Hole View Point.
Kate’s Point Mahabaleshwar
From Kate’s point, one can enjoy the marvellous views of the lush green Krishna Valley and the beautiful Dhom dam. Echo point as the name suggests is where you can scream, to hear back the sound. From needles Hole View point, one can see a natural rock formation with a hole in between, thus giving the name Needle-hole.
View from Echo Point Mahabaleshwar
- Sunset point/Bombay point
The place is considered to be one of the best spots to witness the sunset in Mahabaleshwar. The sight of the sun setting and disappearing into the valley and meanwhile the sky changing colours is simply astonishing. We couldn’t enjoy the sunset as it was cloudy on that particular day.
Sunset as seen from Bombay Point Mahabaleshwar
To put an end to the beautiful day, you can enjoy the delicious food served at the Poonam veg restaurant which is just next to the main market. The cost is on a bit higher side but worth it. Before you head back to your hotel, you can have a quick stroll around the Mahabaleshwar local market and buy some souvenirs for your loved ones.
Mahabaleshwar local market
Day -2 (Mahabaleshwar – Old Mahabaleshwar – Pune)
After exploring the beautiful towns of Wai, Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar on Day 1, for Day 2 we planned to explore the Old Mahabaleshwar and outskirts of Mahabaleshwar.
Day 2 Itinerary
- Wilson point of sunrise
You can kick start the day by watching the beautiful sunrise from the Wilson point. Try to reach a few minutes before sunrise to get some spectacular views of the hues of the sky.
Wilson Point of Sunrise Mahabaleshwar
- Lodwick and Elephant point
A small walk from the parking on the kutcha road completely covered under trees will lead you to the Lodwick point. There is a huge statue of Lord Lodwick situated on the site. The point provides an unmatched view of Pratapgarh Fort, the Elphinstone Point and the deep valleys.
Lodwick point Mahabaleshwar
Further ahead of Lodwick point is the Elephant Point. The extended front part of the hill looks like Elephant Head and hence the name. the point provides a 300-degree view of the nearby region.
Elephants head point near Lodwick Point Mahabaleshwar
On way to Lodwick point, there is a small diversion for Dhobi Waterfall. If you are visiting Mahabaleshwar in Monsoon, do visit this hidden gem.
Enroute to Lodwick Point Mahabaleshwar
- Venna Lakeview Point
This is not a popular point and rarely people visit this place. It is at the backside of Venna Lake. Just put in Venna Lakeview point on Gmaps and continue till the road ends. Few boats are parked over there. You can take a dip into the lake and enjoy a peaceful time over here.
Venna Lakeview Point Mahabaleshwar
- Old Mahabaleshwar
Situated around 7 kms from Mahabaleshwar, Old Mahabaleshwar is a historical place and a village in Mahabaleshwar. The village mostly comprises of temples and few houses. Panchganga Temple, Mahabaleshwar Temple and Krishnabai Temple are the popular ones. Do not miss visiting any of the above temples. The nearby views from Krishnabai Temple are breathtaking.
Panchganga Temple Old Mahabaleshwar
Krishnabai temple Old Mahabaleshwar
- Elphinstone Point, Savitri Point, Castle Rock Point, Arthur seat
After taking blessings at the temples of Old Mahabaleshwar, you can continue your journey towards Elphinstone point followed by Savitri Point, Castle Rock Point and finally the Arthur Seat. Arthur Seat itself comprises of 6 points – Arthur’s Seat Point, Echo Point, Hunter Point, Tiger Spring Point, Window Point and Malcom Point.
All these points provide some breathtaking views of the nearby valleys and Sahyadri ranges from different perspectives.
View from Arthur Seat Mahabaleshwar
- Lingmala Waterfall
This is a must-visit waterfall if you are visiting Mahabaleshwar in the Monsoons. From the entrance gate where a fee of INR 20 per person is charged, one needs to walk for around 15-20 minutes to reach the main view point of the waterfall. The feeling that one gets on seeing water falling majestically and gracefully high up from the cliff is indescribable. There is also a small waterfall which is safe & suitable for swimming and playing in the water.
Lingmala Waterfall Mahabaleshwar
I decided to skip visiting Pratapgad Fort on this particular road trip to Mahabaleshwar. We were late in reaching the Sydney point, the sun had already set behind the mountains. After an amazing road trip of 2 days, we finally returned back to Pune by 9 PM.
Sunset as seen from Mahabaleshwar Panchgani Road
Best time to visit Mahabaleshwar
If you want to experience the heavy rainfall, make a visit to the town in the monsoon months of July to September. But remember it rains heavily in the region and most of the viewpoints are completely covered under fog so you probably won’t get the surrounding views.
Breathtaking view from Arthur Seat Mahabaleshwar
I would recommend you to visit the town when the monsoon season is on its last legs, maybe like mid-September to mid-October. During this time, you get to experience all aspects of climate. The valleys are lush green, the jungles are still dense and the clouds are still low at this time of the year at Mahabaleshwar. Riding a bike in such weather is an experience of a lifetime.
Foggy at Mahabaleshwar
Stay and food option at Mahabaleshwar
Don’t trust your Oyo or MakeMyTrip bookings is what I would say!! I was denied entry to the Oyo room which I had booked online from MakeMyTrip by the receptionist. Most of the hotel owners and their union at Mahabaleshwar have ongoing issues with all the online hotel booking providers. Before going, better confirm at the hotel where you had done bookings online. I would suggest you to directly reach Mahabaleshwar and find a stay on the go.
Table Land Panchgani
View from Elphinstone Point Mahabaleshwar
you can also set up you own tent. The tent that I carry with me is Quechua Arpenaz 2 Tent. It has enough space for 2 people.
Many restaurants and street food vendors are serving all sorts of cuisines in Mahabaleshwar, to the delight of happy foodies. I had my dinner at Poonam Veg Restaurant. The food was delicious and I would highly recommend them.
Poonam veg restaurant Mahabaleshwar
Before the start of the journey, I had a little expectation from Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani. I always thought it would be too touristy. But after the journey, my whole perception for the town has changed. I agree its touristy, but still, it has so much to explore that you can find many places all to yourself.
Lodwick point view Mahabaleshwar
Do follow me on Instagram as I am regularly posting travel posts and stories over there. Also, you can message me on Instagram if you want to join me on my next trip.
Are you looking for some essential travel gear? Check out my blog post on What’s in my Backpack.
Looking for more weekend gateway options near Pune and Mumbai? Check out these blog posts:
- A cycle trip to Lavasa city from Pune (INR 100)
- Andharban jungle and Devkund Waterfall Trek – Time to get lost in the dense forest
- Satara – A road trip to the Maharashtra’s Valley of Flowers from Pune (INR 800)
- Tikona Fort Trek and Pawna Lake – One day trip near Pune (INR 250)
- A two-day trip to Torna Fort and Madhe Ghat Waterfall(INR 400)
- Matheran – Asia’s only automobile free hill station
- Daman – A Glimpse of Portugal Heritage
- A road trip to Harihareshwar, Shrivardhan and Diveagar Beach from Pune (INR 1200)
- Kalsubai Peak – Trek to the highest peak of Maharashtra (INR 600)
- Korigad Fort Trek – Exciting one day trek near Pune Mumbai (INR 300)
- Bendewadi, Laalwadi and Jagtap waterfalls – Go get lost in the land of waterfalls!! (INR 300)
- Experience the sunrise from Lohagad Fort near Pune/Mumbai (INR 150)
- Visapur Fort Trek – Thrilling one day trek near Pune Mumbai (INR 200)
- Rajmachi Fort Trek, adventurous one day trip near Mumbai and Pune (INR 350)
- 12-hours monsoon road trip exploring Tamhini Ghat (INR 300)
- An exciting road trip to Purandar Fort from Pune (INR 300)
- Tung Fort Trek – A journey through the clouds (INR 250)
- Nashik City – An exciting two day trip from Pune/Mumbai/Surat (INR 1500)
- Rajgad Fort Trek – An exciting one-day trek near Pune/Mumbai (INR 200)
- Katraj to Sinhagad night trek – An exciting trek near Pune (INR 250)
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