With the temperature in Mumbai soaring higher each day, one of the best ways to escape the heat is to visit the hill stations around the city. Moreover, these places can be covered over a weekend (preferably a long one), thus saving you precious leaves! All these hill stations are accessible by road, with cabs being easily available and the roads being very scenic. So here’s presenting a list of some of the most-loved hill stations around Mumbai:
Discovered by the Britishers, Mahabaleshwar is one of the oldest and most renowned hill stations in Maharashtra. The popular spots to visit are Wilson point, Pratapgad fort, Sunset point, Elephant’s head point, Lodwick point, and Venna Lake. Mahabaleshwar is also known for its abundant produce of strawberries, grown on farms spread over 1500 acres. In addition, one can also find raspberries, mulberries and gooseberries in the market. This beautiful place is about 5 hours’ drive from Mumbai.
Nestled amidst five hills in the Sahyadris, Panchgani is a famous hill station in Maharashtra with pleasant weather throughout the year. The five hills around Panchgani are topped by a volcanic plateau, known as ‘Table Land’. It is the second highest plateau in Asia after the Tibetan plateau. Apart from Table Land, the other tourist attractions in Panchgani are Kate’s Point, Sydney Point, Mapro Gardens, Wai, Parsi Point, Devrai Art Village, Rajpuri Caves and Kaas Plateau. For the adventurous, Panchgani also offers paragliding. This hill station is located about 4.5 hours away from Mumbai and can be reached by Mumbai to Panchgani taxi or own vehicle. Panchgani is just 18 km away from Mahabaleshwar and the two can easily be clubbed in one trip.
Lonavala gets its name from the Sanskrit word lonavli, which refers to the various caves nearby, such as Karla, Bhaje and Bedse. Lonavala and the adjacent Khandala are popular weekend destinations for residents of Mumbai. Bhushi Dam, Duke’s Nose, Tiger Point, Valvan Dam, Ryewood Park are some of the famous places to visit here. For the trekking enthusiasts, Lonavala is the base for Lohagad, Visapur and Rajmachi trek. Tourism to Lonavala and Khandala peaks during monsoon, when the place offers lush green landscapes to behold. Both these hill stations can be reached in less than 2 hours’ drive from Mumbai. Lonavala is just 82 km from Mumbai.
Matheran is Asia’s tiniest hill station but is immensely popular among tourists. Despite its small size, it has over 38 look-out points, including One Tree Hill point, Monkey Point, Heart Point, Panorama Point, Porcupine Point, etc. Panorama Point offers a magnificent view of the sunrise and sunset and a 360-degree view of the surrounding area. Another unique feature of this quaint hill station is that it is automobile-free. Vehicles are allowed only up to Dasturi, beyond which the place can be explored on foot or on horse-back. Taking long walks through the forests of Matheran and enjoying the serenity of the trees around has its own charm. It is situated about 2.5 hours’ drive from Mumbai and Mumbai to Matheran cabs can be hired up to Dasturi. The alternate route is via train from Neral station.
Bhimashankar is most famous for the Lord Shiva temple situated here, which has one of the twelve jyotirlingas. As per legend, this is the place where Lord Shiva defeated the evil asura Bhima. Apart from the temple, the places worth visiting are Bhimarathi River, Nag Phani, Hanuman Lake, Bombay Point, and the big bell at Hemadpanthi. The surrounding area is a sanctuary, rich with varied flora and fauna, and is also a famous trekking spot. Bhimashankar is about 5 hours’ drive from Mumbai. If you are planning to travel from Mumbai, the best option is to hire Mumbai to Bhimashankar taxi.
With the varied options available, all you need to do is take your pick and head to your destination. Happy travelling!