Mahabaleshwar is a city rich in natural beauty. This hill station, located in the Western Ghats range, offers its visitors delightful scenes of serenity, from its sparkling lakes to its beautiful gardens and captivating waterfalls. It is also home to one of India’s only evergreen forests, greeting tourists with rich greenery and providing incredible backdrops for its many hotels and restaurants. This Satara district municipal council also lays claims to a rich heritage and spiritual relevancy, with many incredible religious temples scattered across its landscape.
To help you get the most out of your visit here, we have put together this helpful travel guide. We will take you through the most popular attractions, shopping districts, restaurants, nightlife, hotels and more, so you can start planning a truly unforgettable trip.
- Also known as table land, the Panchgani plateau is the second longest of its kind in Asia, with the first being the Tibetan plateau.
- Panchgangai Mandir is more important to the environment than you might realise, being the source of five rivers from its place in Old Mahabaleshwar, including the Krishna River, which is the second longest in India.
- The word Mahabaleshwar either means “God of Great Power” or “God of Mavalas”, referring to the deity Lord Shiva.
- The oldest mention of the city is from 1215, following a visit from King Singham.
- Make the most of the cool climate:
- Thanks to its high altitude and cooler temperatures, Mahabaleshwar is the ideal place to go for a walk and enjoy the sights and sounds of the hill station.
- Arrive early if possible:
- Most hotels here have early check in times, usually of around 09.00. If possible, organise your arrival for before this time to avoid waiting around.
- Check out the water well:
- While it wasn’t quite a bit enough attraction to make our Things To Do list, we do recommend that you check out the 100 foot deep water well found in the library compound. It’s 150 years old and still provides water to the locals to this day.
- Eat fresh:
- Mahabaleshwar is an incredible place to find the freshest produce, with various berries and vegetables being grown locally. Take advantage of this and enjoy the locally prepared food made with the best ingredients.
Getting Around Mahabaleshwar
Due to the relatively small size of Mahabaleshwar and the fact that it’s built on a plateau, getting around is fairly easy. Main destinations are known as points and can be found at the edges of the plateau, making them an excellent way to navigate your way around.
These can be found from the centre of town, opposite the club near Irani’s petrol station. These generally cost INR 50 for local trips. These rates are all fixed so there’s no use haggling for a lower price. It costs INR 450 for a local sightseeing tour. However, taxis have a rule against providing service to a single person, meaning if you are by yourself, you’ll need to head to the police station, provide identification and answer questions in order to get permission to ride by yourself.
Rental Cars / Horses
Both cars and horses are available to rent from various spots throughout the city. We advise you to do research before renting something so valuable and it goes without saying that if you are going to travel by horse, then make sure you are honest about your skill level.
Image Source: Ankur P
These are provided by the government and are generally considered the best way of getting around the city. You must book tickets the prior day and the cost is generally between INR 80 and INR 85.
There are two main services: one which which runs between 2.30 and 7.00 pm and another that runs between 9.30am and 1.30pm. Most of the city’s main points are covered via these services.
Flights to Mahabaleshwar
Image Source: Markus Spiske
Unfortunately, Mahabaleshwar does not have its own dedicated airport. The nearest available airport is in Pune, which is located around 75 miles away from Mahabaleshwar. If you don’t mind the long taxi or bus journey upon arrival, you can book flights to Pune airport from most of India’s major airports. Non-stop flights from Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi are very affordable and take around 2 hours to complete, while direct journeys from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai can be complete in just 45 minutes.
There are also bus and train services available. The closest rail station to Mahabaleshwar is Wathar, which is just 37 miles away. However, there are limited services here so it is often easier to arrive in Pune and then take a bus or taxi the rest of the way. Buses often arrive closer to the hill station, with several services operating from Mumbai. The journey takes approximately six hours to complete, so if you are travelling by bus, it is advised you opt for private operators over state transport for a more comfortable ride.
Visit the Expedia website to find the best prices for flights to Mahabaleshwar.