Top Hill Stations Around Mumbai
Mumbai, the city that never sleeps but also seeps of pollution. Mumbai-kars survive the week but can’t wait to get away from the traffic and chaos to experience some much needed serenity. Thankfully there are numerous options as Mumbai is surrounded by many soothing hill stations with bounty of nature, mystical views and even historical spots. Head to the Hills!
1. Khandala & Lonavala (95 kms from Mumbai)
Located in the Shayadri, the twin hill stations of Khandala & Lonavala are easily accessible from Mumbai or Pune. They are beautified by scenic viewpoints (Duke’s Nose/Naagphan, Rajmachi Point), valleys, greenery, waterfalls (Kune Falls, Bhushi Dam) and forts (Lohagad Fort, Visapur Fort, Tung Fort). Khandala has been a popular retreat since the British rule, but it gained more attention after being featured in a Bollywood number.
'Lonavali', which refers to a 'group of caves and so make time to visit the Cave temples (Karla Caves, Bhaja Caves) with Buddhist architecture. Aventure activities include hot air balloon, hiking and trekking.
2. Matheran (110 Km from Mumbai)
The smallest but among the most visited hill stations in India; Matheran (meaning, forest on the forehead) is located in the Western Ghats Ranges of Karja. Vehicles are banned in Matheren as it has been declared as one of the eco-sensitive regions in Maharashtra. So be prepared to walk,hike, trek or take a horse ride. It offers 38 different look-out points for fantastic views of the surrounding regions and is a photographer’s delight. The 20 Km narrow gauge toy train from Neral to Matheran is a must do, if still operating.
3. Panchgani (250 Km from Mumbai )
Panchgani is tucked at middle of five hills in the Sahyadri mountain ranges, and is surrounded by five villages. Panchagni was developed by the British as a monsoon retreat, as an alternative to Mahabaleshwar. Head to “TableLand”, a flat hill top, that offers stunning views of hills, the Krishna River valley and definitely the sunrise. Sydney Point, Parsi Point, Devil’s Kitchen and Mapro Garden are some of the major attractions. Boarding schools, Health retreats an British Era bungalows are aplenty. Try Paragliding and taste the strawberries & rasberries.
4. Mahabaleshwar (270 Km from Mumbai)
India’s third longest river is ‘Krishna river’, starts from Mahadev temple in Old Mahabaleshwar. Declared as the 'summer capital' of India during the British rule, Mahabaleshwar boasts of high mountains and ever green forests. Arthur's Seat, Kate's Point, Needle Hope Point, 3 Monkey Point are popular viewpoints. Go boating on Venna Lake , be awed by the Lingamala Falls or head to “Pratapgad Fort”, Maharashtra’s best fort that was built by Shivaji, just 24 Km away. Mahabaleshwar is famous for cultivation of strawberries and mulberries.
5. Bhandardara (185kms from Mumbai)
This tiny and lesser known hill station is a blessed with natural beauty, waterfalls, serenity, greenery, refreshing air and untouched environment. Bhandardara situated beside the stunning Paravara River, hosts both the Arthur Lake and Wilson Dam. is a popular stopover for tourists travelling to Nashik and Shirdi. Amruteshwar temple, Randha Waterfalls, Umbrella Falls, and Agasti Rishi Ashram are a few other popular attractions. Maharashtra’s highest mountain peak Mount Kalsubai is visible from Bhandardara and draws many trekkers.
6. Lavasa (185 Km from Mumbai)
Lavasa is India’s newest city and hill station, planned as a group of 5 towns built over 7 hills, is located on the banks of Dasve Lake in the eco sensitive Western Ghats. Lavasa is based on the Italian city of Portofino and caters to the luxury and comfort of its visitors/residents. The best way to explore this hill station and its mountain passes is by riding a motorcycle. Watersports on the lake, indoor golf and nature walks are the best offerings of this upcoming, elegant hill station.
7. Panhala (375 Km from Mumbai)
The quaint city of Panhala is built in the historic Panhala Fort and is known for its medieval forts and memerising views of the mountain ranges . Visit Ambarkhana (fort’s granary), Ambabai Temple, Teen Darwaja, Sajja Kothi, Sambhaji Temple, Someshwar Tank, Andhar Bav and Nayakini Sajja. The road up the hill to Panhala is scenic, with lovely views of hills.