The lure of enchanting mountain peaks, awe-inspiring deep valleys and the ubiquitous green canopy creates a penchant for visiting hill stations in summer. Spending a few days in the lap of nature to escape the suffocating heat and dust of cities becomes more of a requirement for parched souls than a luxury. A place like Mahabaleshwar can be an ideal summer retreat for city dwellers stung by the virulent summer, hounded by the concrete jungles of cities and looking for an escape to places that are not just cooler, but also calm, serene and endowed with a natural vibe.
Mahabaleshwar is one of those extremely sought-after destinations. Perched at the height of 1,353 metres from mean sea level, Mahabaleshwar is an enchanting hilly retreat in the Sahyadri Hills of Western Ghat Range of mountains. It is a small town in the Satara district of Maharastra located at a distance of 54 kilometres from Satara and around 123 kilometres from Pune. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India and is often referred to as the queen of hill stations in Maharashtra.
During the British period, it used to be the summer capital of the Bombay presidency and was referred to as Malcolm Peth. Though the historical significance of Mahabaleshwar dates back to about 1215 AD, it is in the 17th century that Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja had taken over Mahabaleshwar and constructed the Pratapgarh Fort.
Places to Visit in Mahabaleshwar
This beautiful hill station is not just a place where you go and take rest for a few days; it also offers a lot of sightseeing opportunities. In fact, there are a number of places to visit in Mahabaleshwar. We have curated a list of some of the best ones below:
Elephants head point, Kate’s point and Echo point
. Lingmala Waterfalls
. Arthur Seat Point
. Mapro Garden
. Venna Dam
. Pratapgarh Fort
. Mahabaleshwar Temple
. Krishnabai Devi Temple
. Kaas Pathar
. Vajrai Falls
. Elphinstone Point
. Raigad Fort
. Sunset Point
. Chinaman’s Waterfall
. Panchgani Near Mahabaleshwar
1. Elephants head point, Kate’s point and Echo point
These are three picturesque Mahabaleshwar points situated at a distance of about 7 kilometres from the Bus Stand. Kate's Point is located at an altitude of 1290 metres. You can have a beautiful view of the Dhom dam, and the peaks of Pandavgad, Kamalgadh and Mandardeo mountain ranges from this point. It is one of the most enchanting places to visit in Mahabaleshwar. Elephant's Head Point is also known as Needle Hole Point and is situated by the side of Kate's Point. It is in the form of an overhanging cliff resembling an elephant’s head and trunk. It is a natural rock formation with a hole from which it derives its other name–The Needle Hole point. From here you can get an enchanting view of the Sahyadri Mountain Range.
At Echo Point, which is among the most famous Mahabaleshwar points, the structure and geographic location of the hills render every word that you speak into an echo resulting from total reverberation of sound. Speak your heart out and enjoy your words reverberating in the remarkable landscape. Here, you can also get a spectacular view of the Krishna river valley.
2. Lingmala Waterfalls
At a distance of about 6 kilometres from Mahabaleshwar Bus Stand, you can find the Lingmala Waterfalls perched at the height of 1278 metres from mean sea level. While travelling from Mahabaleshwar to Panchgani, you can see it on the right side of the road. There is a signboard indicating the direction, and from that point, you have to take a left turn and drive for 10 minutes to reach the gates. From the gates, a trek of around 1.5 kilometres will take you to the small waterfall, and after a further trek of one kilometre, you can get the magnificent view of the main waterfall.
The brace of waterfalls, a large and a small, is one of the most popular tourist destinations around Mahabaleshwar. During the monsoon, the alluring beauty of the gushing waterfalls falling from a height of 500 feet is an enigmatic sight to behold. You can even swim and play in the smaller of the two waterfalls, but that might not be possible in the larger one.
3. Arthur Seat Point
You can find this point in a nook along the Old Mahabaleshwar Road at a distance of about seven kilometres from Old Mahabaleshwar and 13 kilometres from Mahabaleshwar Bus Stand. It is counted among the most enchanting places to visit and among the most Mahabaleshwar points. To reach the viewpoint, you need to trek for about half an hour.
Surrounded by the Savitri Gorge and a captivating green meadow, this viewpoint is located at the height of 1,340 metres. Arthur Seat Point is also known as the Queen of Points since it offers a captivating view of both Deccan and Konkan plateaus while clearly delineating both geographical formations. The point derives its name from Sir Arthur Mallet, the first person to build a house here. However, it is not just a single viewpoint; there are six points altogether. Apart from Arthur Seat Point, Hunter Point, Echo Point, Tiger Spring Point, Malcolm Point and Window Point are the other Mahabaleshwar points.
While the abyss of the barren Savitri Valley of the Deccan Plateau to the left is awe-inspiring, the lush green Jor Valley of the Konkan Plateau on the right is mesmerising and soothing. The panoramic view of the Mahabaleshwar Range dotted with alluring peaks of Koleshwar, Pratapgad, Chandragad and Raireshwar has been captivating visitors ever since it has become a popular tourist destination. In fact, the view is often compared to that of the Grand Canyon.
The typical geographic location has bestowed the valley with a mystical phenomenon whereby if you throw lightweight items like paper cups, for instance, they will float buoyed by air pressure.
To view all the six points, you need to move down step by step and get to Window Point and the Tiger Spring, the source of Savitri River.
4. Mapro Garden
Situated at Gureghar, about 11 kilometres from Mahabaleshwar on the Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani road, Mapro Garden is a popular tourist destination. It is known for its strawberry produce, but it is also famous for its processed products like fruit squash, crushes, chocolates, gulkand and honey among others. Mapro was established by Mr Kishore Vora in 1959. Apart from the vast garden, the chocolate factory inside the establishment is a significant draw for tourists. There is also a nursery of beautiful plants and flowers. You can buy stuff like sauces, syrups, jelly, mocktail mixtures, crushes, chocolates etc.
If you visit Mahabaleshwar during March or April, you can enjoy the famous Strawberry Festival during the Easter weekend. It is a four-day festival where farmers from nearby villages congregate and open up their farms to visitors. You can also get some free strawberries during this time. Traditional folk performance of dancers from Pratapgarh is an added attraction during this festival. It is an integral part of Mahabaleshwar tourism during this time of the year.
5. Venna Dam
You can reach Venna dam after driving for about 3 kilometres from the Mahabaleshwar Bus Stand. Though it is a manmade lake, it is a mammoth one covering an area of about 28 acres and having a periphery of about seven to eight kilometres. It was constructed by the ruler of Satara in 1842.
The green cover around the lake, the vast expanse of the lake, the leisurely boat rides and the horse rides by the lakeside offer an ensemble of sight and sound that is unique to this place. The dam on the lake is also a sight to behold. However, for a boat ride, you can only get rowboats. For children, there are games like a merry-go-round, toy trains, etc. If the sight and sound tickle your taste buds, you can satiate your craving in the small eateries lining the bank of the lake.
Also, don’t not miss out on these popular lakes & waterfalls in Mahabaleshwar during your family vacation.
6. Pratapgarh Fort
The Pratapgarh Fort in Satara is situated at an altitude of 1080 metres above sea level at a distance of about 20 kilometres from Mahabaleshwar. You can drive up to the gate of the fort, but in order to explore this heritage property, you have to trek for around one kilometre. If the trek makes you hungry and tired, you can grab a quick bite in the eateries inside and also take some rest in the rest house for tourists. It is one of the most awe-evoking places to visit in Mahabaleshwar.
This is a must-visit place for tourists since it is not only one of the most scenic spots in Mahabaleshwar and one of the most impregnable forts near Pune; it also has a profound historical significance. The fort was built by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and is witness to the historic Battle of Pratapgarh fought between Shivaji and Afzal Khan, a commander of the Adilshahi Dynasty of Bijapur. Afzal Khan had attacked the fort. Nevertheless, it was the Maratha forces who emerged victorious. Afzal Khan himself was killed, his body was laid to rest, and a tower was constructed in that place. The tower is still standing as mute testimony to Shivaji’s ethical treatment of his enemies.
The fort is located at such a vantage point that it overlooks the roads leading to the fort. The fort has two upper and lower parts. The upper part of the fort rests upon a crest of the hill, and it houses a Mahadev Temple and several buildings. The lower fort is surrounded by strongholds and tall towers and also houses a Bhavani Temple on the eastern side.
7. Mahabaleshwar Temple
It is an ancient temple situated in Old Mahabaleshwar at a distance of about 6 kilometres from Mahabaleshwar Bus Stand. Every itinerary of Mahabaleshwar tourism includes this place for its heritage, religious, historical, and archaeological significance. The temple houses a 500-year-old Shiva Linga and is named after Lord Mahabali, a symbol of strength for the local populace. The religious significance of the temple lies in the Shiva Linga made of black stone, which is said to have appeared out of nowhere. This is why it is also known as swayambhu lingam. The temple has a raised platform, where, legend says that Shivaji Maharaj had weighed his mother in gold and gave away an equal amount of the yellow metal in charity.
8. Krishnabai Devi Temple
After visiting the Mahabaleshwar Temple, you can pay a visit to the Krishna Devi Temple. It is just 300 metres from the Mahabaleshwar temple. If you are coming from Mahabaleshwar, you need to drive about 6 kilometres from Mahabaleshwar Bus Stand. You have to walk past a small temple–the Panch Ganga–and take the well-marked trail leading to the Krishnabai Temple to reach the temple.
It is an old temple housing a Shiva Linga and a statue of Goddess Krishna. The temple finds a permanent place in Mahabaleshwar tourism must-visit places. There are a few things that are significant about the temple. Apart from the religious significance, it has a geographical connotation. There is a small stream gushing out of a hole below the temple and falling in a tank or kund, as it is locally known. The gap from where the water flows out resembles the face of a cow and is supposed to be the origin of the Krishna River. Architecturally speaking, it is by no means a simple temple; it boasts of ceilings and stone carved columns which impart a unique character to this temple. Nevertheless, for Mahabaleshwar tourists what is most interesting is the enchanting view of the Krishna River, its valley and the countryside. For tourists, therefore, it is more a sightseeing point than just a temple.
9. Kaas Pathar
This is a massive volcanic plateau in the same Satara district where all the above sights are situated, yet it is fair to say that it is located at one extreme end of the Mahabaleshwar tourism circuit. From Mahabaleshwar bus stand, the Kaas Pathar stands at a distance of about 37 kilometres, and from Panchgani, it is about 50 kilometres. Yet a visit to Mahabaleshwar is incomplete without experiencing Kaas Pathar. It is one of the most attractive and exciting places to visit in Mahabaleshwar. The plateau of Kaas has an elevation of about 1200 metres from sea level and covers an area of approximately 1,000 hectares in area. The area derives its name from the Kaasa tree which is native to this place.
The Plateau has just a thin cover of soil which aids the growth of vegetation. However, it receives very high rainfall. These unique ecological features of this area have led to the development of flora and fauna that is unique to the region. It is known to be a biodiversity hotspot.
Nevertheless, what intrigues tourists to Kaas Pathar is often not the plateau itself, but its ample display of flowers, especially during the monsoon season. If you visit this place during the period from August to September, you would feel like the whole area is just a canvas which has been coloured in different shades at different locations. The otherwise barren plateau springs to life during the monsoon season and a variety of flowers burst forth on the open landscape giving rise to a spectacular view that can only be compared to a massive garden with a vast array of flowers.
There are more than 850 types of flowering plants, such as orchids and different kinds of shrubs. One of the most interesting features, however, is that you can also spot carnivorous plants like Drosera Indica here. The astounding variety of colourful flowers and shrubs is the reason why it is also known as the Plateau of Flowers. This is also the reason why every Mahabaleshwar tourism itinerary covers this sport. It is also a popular picnic spot, especially during the late monsoon season.
Nevertheless, the attraction of Kaas Pathar does not end with the show of flowers. Being situated in the catchment area of the Koyna Dam, it also offers a panoramic view of the evergreen forest of Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary. For bird watchers, this is a heaven as can experience the spectacle of different species of birds flocking in the plateau. The beauty of the area is accentuated by the Kaas Lake, a beautiful lake situated in the southern end of the Plateau.
The only dampener for tourists is the restriction imposed by the Government in the number of visitors that can visit the area in a day. Only 2,000 people can visit the area in a day, so make sure you go earlier in the day.
10. Vajrai Falls
From the panoramic and spectacular Kaas Pathar, you can move on to the magnificent Vajrai Falls; another must visit in the tourism circuit of Mahabaleshwar. It is situated near the Bhambavali Village in Satara district at a distance of about 41 kilometres from Mahabaleshwar, 53 kilometres from Panchgani and just 6 Kilometres from Kaas Pathar. You can drive up to 500 m of the waterfall, but from there you have to trek to the base of the waterfall. The trail leading to the waterfall can be slippery during the monsoon, but for the adventurous souls, it is a gift of nature.
Vajrai Falls is a brilliantly picturesque waterfall near Kaas Pathar and is one the most remarkable waterfalls in the whole of Maharashtra. During the monsoon season, you can find the waterfall in its full glory.
The cascading flow of this three-tier waterfall falling from a height of about 260 metres is a spectacular sight to behold. Though it is a perennial waterfall, the large volume of water during the monsoon season lends credence to its fame. The Urmodi River is believed to have originated from this waterfall. While enjoying the view of the waterfall, you can also experience the serenity of several small caves near it.
Panchgani is a hill station in Maharashtra’s Satara district situated at a distance of about 18 kilometres from Mahabaleshwar and 104 kilometres from Pune. It is one of the most popular hill stations near Pune which finds a regular place in Mahabaleshwar tourism circuit.
Nestled amid the five hills of the magnificent Sahyadri mountain ranges and perched at the height of 1334 metres above sea level, Panchgani is surrounded by river dams. While the Bavdhan, Wai and Nagewadi dams can be found in the east, the Gureghar Dam can be found in the west, the Dhom dam in the north and the Rajpuri and Khingar dams to its south. There are five villages around the area, and they are Khingar, Dandeghar, Amral, Godwali and Taighat.
The area also has a religious and mythological significance. It is believed that the Pandavas had spent some time here during their Vanavasa. A cave in Panchgani also known as the Devil's Kitchen is believed to have been the resting place of the Pandavas.
Nevertheless, Panchgani is not just a single spot for tourists to enjoy. It has an assortment of spectacular tourist attractions that make it one of the most significant places to visit in Mahabaleshwar. Apart from Devil’s Kitchen, you can visit the Parsi Point, Table Land, Kamalgadh Fort, Rajpuri Caves, Dhom dam, Sydney Point etc. There are a number of Parsi houses and Raj-era style bungalows in the area.
12. Elphinstone Point
Along the Old Mahabaleshwar road and after about 5 kilometres from Old Mahabaleshwar you can find Elphinstone Point. It is about 10 kilometres from Mahabaleshwar Bus Stand and is a very popular and enchanting viewpoint situated near Arthur Seat Point. The viewpoint derives its name from the then Governor of Bombay Presidency in 1830, Mount Stuart Elphinstone. It is among the most mesmerising points in Mahabaleshwar and one of the popular places to visit in Mahabaleshwar.
In fact, it is one of the highest Mahabaleshwar points and overlooks two valleys formed by river Koyna on one side and river Savitri on the other side. It is in the form of a lofty cliff and is not a place for the weak-hearted. Nevertheless, once you step onto the cliff, the splendid view of the Koyna River Valley, Pratapgarh Fort, Savitri River Valley and nearby plains would surely enthral your aesthetic senses and nudge the explorer in you to discover the horizon in some detail. The ravine lying between Arthur Seat Point and Elphinstone Point is also a sight to behold and appreciate.
There is an old mansion in the vicinity of the cliff, but it is now dilapidated. It is likely that it will be demolished, and a picnic shed will be designed in its place so that tourists can enjoy.
13. Raigad Fort
Driving down the State Highway number 72, you can find Raigad Fort at a distance of 83 kilometres from Mahabaleshwar and 138 kilometres from Pune in Raigad district of Maharastra. It boasts of a popular trekking trail, and it is a famous fort near Mumbai as well as Mahabaleshwar. It also comes under the Lonavala Tour circuit. Yet, getting to the fort on foot is not an easy job. You have to climb approximately 1400-1450 steps before getting into the fort. Thankfully, there is a ropeway, too. In fact, this fort near Mahabaleshwar is the only fort in the whole of Maharashtra with a ropeway. Nevertheless, for the young at heart and enthusiasts, trekking to the fort is very popular although it is an arduous trek, especially during the summer season.
Located at the height of 823 meters atop the Sahyadri Mountain range, the Raigad Fort is erected on an uneven mass of rock which makes it accessible from one side only. This used to be the vantage point of the fort. It comprises of three types of structures–Public Durbar, Queen's Quarters and the Watch Towers and Darwajas. However, most of it lies in ruins now.
You can see the ruins of three watchtowers in the front façade of the palace which overlooks Ganga Sagar Lake, a man-made lake next to the fort. You can also go through the ruins of the fort market.
If the ruins evoked a sense of nationalism, the execution point, locally known as Takilometresak Tok, would give you Goosebumps. It is a cliff at one end of the fort from where sentenced prisoners used to be thrown into the abyss of alluring valleys. However, it has been fenced off now.
A replica of the throne used by Shivaji Maharaj is on display in the Public Durbar facing its main doorway, the Nagarkhana Darwaja. The secondary entrance to the Public Durbar or the Mena Darwaja was meant for private entry of royal ladies. From the Public Durbar, you can go to the Queen's Quarters. Outside the Public Durbar, there is a vast and open ground known as Holi Cha Mal. This was the place where the inhabitants of the fort used to play Holi.
There is a magnificent statue of Shivaji Maharaj standing opposite the ruins of the market avenue. You can also witness the tomb of Shivaji along with his pet dog Waghya near the avenue. A temple housing the idols of the presiding deity, Shirkai Bhavani, and Jagadishwar inside the fort seems to bless the fort till date. In a village named Pachad much before the fort, you can go through a memorial to Shivaji's mother, Jijabai.
It was the capital of the kingdom of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj since 1674 AD. However, it was devastated by the English army after they conquered the fort.
The fort is open from 8 AM to 6 PM, and the entry fee is just INR 10 for Indians. However, foreigners have to pay an entry fee of Rs.100. If you avail the ropeway, you have to pay INR 170 for each child and INR 250 for each adult.
14. Sunset Point
Drive down the old Bombay road, and you can find Sunset Point, one of the most famous Mahabaleshwar points at a distance of just 3 kilometres from Mahabaleshwar Bus Stand. It is as popular as Mumbai Point and is among the most famous viewpoints in Mahabaleshwar tourism. The typical location of the place imparts it with a magnificent view of the setting sun over the valleys when it gets dark over every other viewpoint in and around Mahabaleshwar. The place derives its name from the old Bombay road on which it is located. With a large open space designed in the form of a bandstand, it is also an ideal place for picnickers, especially during the late afternoons. You can also enjoy stuff like horse riding, Choupati games, among others. There is also a Lover’s Point to the left of this point, and it is popular with honeymoon couples. The place is open from 6 AM to 6 PM but is most crowded during sunset since at this time of the day it is one of the few most happening places to visit in Mahabaleshwar.
15. Panchganga Temple
Panch Ganga Temple is located very near the Mahabaleshwar Temple at a distance of about 6 kilometres from Mahabaleshwar Bus Stand. It derives its name from its typical location, the confluence of five rivers–Venna, Krishna, Savitri, Gayatri and Koyna. It is geographical significance lies in the fact that all these five rivers originate from a hole, in the shape of the mouth of a cow, in this temple. The temple houses a beautiful idol of Lord Krishna and is a significant religious site for local devotees.
The temple is open from 6 AM to 8 PM:
16. Chinaman’s Waterfall
About 2.5 kilometres from Mahabaleshwar Bus Stand, in the direction of southern Koyna Valley in Mahabaleshwar, you can enjoy the captivating view of Chinaman's Waterfall. It is among the most visited waterfalls in Mahabaleshwar.
The cascading waterfall falling from a height of 500 feet into the deep valley below is a charming sight. Two streams of water from two different points merge into a single stream and form a magnificent waterfall. Apart from the intriguing waterfall itself, the view of Venna Valley and the peaceful and splendid ambience make it a perfect holiday destination.
You can witness the fall from another viewpoint, known as Babbington Point at a distance of about two kilometres from this point. Nevertheless, you can get the most breathtaking view of the valley when you reach the top of the waterfall after trekking for around 2 kilometres. In fact, this heavenly view is what makes a visit to this point in Mahabaleshwar a compelling one for tourists. The name of the waterfalls owes its origin to the gardens near the falls which used to be looked after by Chinese people. The best time to visit this waterfall is the monsoon seasons of August and September.
17. Panchgani Near Mahabaleshwar
Panchgani gets its name from the five surrounding hills of the Sahyadri mountain ranges. A popular hill station near Mahabaleshwar, Panchgani is best known for its scenic valley views, and sunrise and sunset points. It is amongst the most enchanting to visit near Mahabaleshwar.
Opening hours: Everyday, between 6 am to 6 pm.
Entry fee: No entry fee
How about visiting the local ‘mini-Kashmir’ when you’re out sightseeing? Known for its idyllic beauty and adventurous jungle treks, Tapola is another addition to the list of places to visit when you’re in Mahabaleshwar. It also has a scenic lake. You can indulge in boating, water scooter rides, swimming, and kayaking at Shivsagar Lake. The best times to visit this place are at sunrise and sunset.
Opening hours: Everyday, from 6 am to 6 pm.
Entry fee: No entry fee
Want to explore the best of Mahabaleshwar with your family? Have a look at this Maharashtra tourism guide to know more things to do & best time to visit Mahabaleshwar to make the most of your family vacation.
How to Reach Mahabaleshwar
By Air: The nearest airport is in Pune, about 120 kilometres away. You can take a taxi or a bus to Mahabaleshwar from there.
By Bus: The most convenient bus route to Mahabaleshwar is from Mumbai. The approximate distance is 250 kilometres and the journey usually takes 5-6 hours.
By Train: The nearest railway station to Mahabaleshwar is Wathar, 60 km away. Alternatively, take a train to Pune and then a taxi or bus to Mahabaleshwar.
Needless to say, Mahabaleshwar is teeming with ancient temples, captivating natural landscape, scintillating valleys and mesmerising forts. The ensemble necessitates an extended and comfortable stay in Mahabaleshwar, and you can have it at Club Mahindra Sherwood resort or Saj Mahabaleshwar Club Mahindra Affiliate Resort in Mahabaleshwar. You can go through Club Mahindra reviews to know more about these properties. Spacious and comfortable rooms laced with all modern amenities and located amidst enchanting locales is the USP of these properties. The in-house restaurant serves various local cuisine and helps you savour every moment of your stay at Sherwood resort in Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra.