If you’ve ever have maintained a list of the weekend getaways near Mumbai then you must have surely noticed that during monsoon the list overflows with choices and come summer it shrinks drastically just like the natural reservoirs around Mumbai. The greenery is gone and there’re no waterfalls to add to the scene. Amidst the heat and humidity, the only place you can look for some respite is a hill station. And that’s when a trip to Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar starts to ring a bell. So without any further ado let’s start our top 10 things to do in Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar to beat the heat this summer. Established as a summer resort since pre independence, Panchgani is a small town in Satara district of Maharashtra surrounded by five hills in the Sahyadri mountain range. Hence the name Panchgani (Panch – Five and Gani – Hills). It’s one of the most popular summer getaways, about 285 km from Mumbai and 100 km from Pune.
At an elevation of about 4200ft above sea level Panchgani welcomes you with a cool soothing weather during the extreme summer months. Peak day temperature can reach 30s during April and May but nights are always 20s and below. Mahabaleshwar is a hill station about 19 km from Panchgani and takes around half an hour to reach by car. So there’s no point visiting only Panchgani as Mahabaleshwar is so close. Check for another rustic and romantic summer getaway
Top 10 things to do in Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar – No.1
Plan your accommodation from the usual. There’re are tons of resorts in Panchgani from luxury to basic. However, a resort stay is always confined to the four walls of your room. Why not choose something apart from the crowd. Something close to nature and free from the concept of four concrete walls. Something like a camp on the edge of a cliff, 4000 ft above sea level. A place where right out of the door you’d wish for a pair of wings to jump the cliff and fly over the lush green valley below. Sounds interesting right! Well that’s not a dream. Eco Camps at Panchgani is where you get this experience. Run by a couple just out of passion this place is not even close to a business establishment. The feeling is rustic and pure.
I first camped here with three of my friends during a bachelor trip. The place is so bohemian and close to nature that I visited it a year later for the 2nd time to camp again with my family. My parents loved the place. Especially the family bonfire we did at night. The soothing mountain breeze was such a stress reliever.
A perfect accommodation makes half of your holiday perfect. The eco camps are in direct contrast to the confined pigeon hole apartment life in Mumbai. Hence this is my choice as one of the first things to do in Panchgani for an amazing weekend experience. If you are not into barbeque and cooking outside then there’s an option to get home made food delivered to your tent. You just have to order in advance. There’re other nature camps in Panchgani too. A quick google search should give you a lot of options.
Top 10 things to do in Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar – No.2
Panchgani offers a unique landscape of flat top hills separated by vast valleys. Also known as table lands it looks as if someone chopped off the hill tops with one clear mighty swing of a sword.
Technically these are volcanic plateaus consisting of laterite rocks formed over thousands of years due to continuous erosion and leaching (excuse the geology). Hence the term table land
. By the way, this volcanic plateau is the second highest in Asia after the Tibetan plateau.
The table land is crowded during peak season. A lot of hawkers throng this place. The best way to avoid them is to move towards the edge of the land. You can enjoy a horse ride here or a camel ride or a carriage ride. Just make sure to haggle for the right prices.
Depending on the season you might also see vast stretches of wild flowers resembling an extensive vibrant yellow carpet. Table Land is a unique feature of Panchgani which should not be missed. Hence we recommend it second on the list of things to do in Panchgani.
If you really want to enjoy a colorful vista of wild flowers then don’t miss a visit to Kaas Plateau aka the valley of flowers. Located about 70 km from Panchgani, it takes around 1 hour to reach by car. The myriad hue of vibrant colors all around is spell binding. There’s an entry restriction to control the amount of tourist and protect the natural biodiversity of this plateau. The best time to visit Kaas is right after the monsoon season ends i.e. September to November.
Top 10 things to do in Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar – No. 3
Panchgani is very famous for strawberries. If you’re a strawberry fan, then do not miss a visit to a strawberry farm. There’re organized trips for strawberry picking and tasting. You can google it out. Or you can just walk around on your own which we did. There’re are numerous farms and the locals will guide to the nearest if you ask around. It’s not a breath taking experience but definitely a unique one.
Top 10 things to do in Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar – No. 4
If you’re an adrenaline junkie like me don’t miss paragliding in Panchgani. For all the adventure enthusiasts Panchgani presents an epic paragliding opportunity gliding over a spectacular landscape of hills and valleys. For untrained folks, tandem paragliding is the way to go where you’re tied to the pilot.
You can either book through hotels or directly ask the locals for contacts. Since it’s a very famous sport here so it’s easy to get the contacts. Personally, I did it twice and would do it few more times if given the chance. From the moment I was strapped in, to the short run downhill and within moments competing with the birds, I still remember the vivid details. The flight was epic. If you are stable and calm enough to look around, the view is simply mind blowing with the wind buzzing in your ears and legs hanging 5000 ft above ground. It’s an experience no one should miss.
Paragliding depends on the wind direction and intensity. So there’s a fair chance you’d have to wait for some time for the wind conditions to be right before taking the plunge. The pilots do a good job in assessing the wind condition. If the wind dies mid-way then the pilot will slowly descend to land in the valley below where there would be a vehicle ready to bring you back. If the wind maintains its intensity and direction then you will land at the same spot from where you took off. However, I found a lack of professionalism. There’s always a hustle for things. Too many pilots competing for tourists. So just be careful in choosing your guy. It’s always better to have some reviews before approaching any agency.
Top 10 things to do in Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar – No. 5
Panchgani is famous for many viewpoints. One of the best places to enjoy the amazing landscape is Sydney point. Perched on a hill top Sydney point overlooks the Krishna valley with a bird’s eye view of Dhom Dam, Pandavgad, and Mandhardeo. The Krishna River meanders through the valley traversing the entire landscape.
It’s about a 2 km drive from the main town and should not take more than 10 minutes. However, the road is narrow and you might find some traffic during the peak hours. Parking is also a challenge here due to the crowd. From the parking spot, it’s about a 5-minute walk to the main view point. There’s also the famous Kate’s Point with the elephant head rock and Parsi point on the road to Mahabaleshwar, all overlooking the Krishna valley and the Krishna River from different angles. Apart from the stunning view, the most soothing thing here is the nippy and fresh mountain air. Breath in to your heart’s content and pump up your lungs.
Top 10 things to do in Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar – No. 6
Visit Venna Lake in Mahabaleshwar. If you’re visiting in summer then you should not miss boating in Venna Lake. It’s one the most popular tourist attractions in Mahabaleshwar and also a welcome respite from the heat. The lake is huge, surrounded by lush green flora and presents a beautiful landscape. I almost mistook it for a natural lake but its man made built more than 100 years ago.
There’re options for either a row boat or a paddle boat. You can also choose a half or full hour ride. We chose the row boat because no one wanted to paddle in the hot weather. We chose a full hour as there was no paddling involved 🙂 . There was a gentle breeze as we rowed ahead. The calm waves slapping against the wood, the boat creaking every time the paddles crashed on water splashing droplets of cold water on us, was a nice experience overall. The boat gently cruised around the periphery of the lake. The half-submerged shrubs and bushes make good subjects for landscape photography. So don’t forget your camera and keep it safe from splashes.
Top 10 things to do in Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar – No. 7
There’re some amazing viewpoints in Mahabaleshwar just like Panchgani. The top ones being Arthur’s Seat, Wilson Point, Elphinstone Point, and Sunset Point. Wilson Point is very famous for sun rise. The view from all of these points is epic hence you can expect a lot of crowd during the peak season.
Top 10 things to do in Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar – No. 8
Visit Mahabaleshwar temple. Located about 6 km from the main town, Mahabaleshwar temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Built in the 16th century it’s an ancient heritage well preserved till date.
I skipped this during my first trip as I’m not much into visiting temples. How ever decided to visit the temple with my parents during my second trip. It was a good experience, especially for the parents.
Top 10 things to do in Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar – No. 9
Take an evening stroll in the main market area. Panchgani is a small town with a closely knit city center that comes alive in the evening. The night air usually has a chill and the small shops lit in tungsten and neon creates a warm environment. The aroma of roasted nuts and chickpeas hits you as soon as you enter the market.
There’re lot of shops selling locally produced strawberry jam & jelly, pickles, toppings etcetera. Not to mention the famous Chikki and Chana shops. There’re some handicraft shops too although we skipped them. Don’t miss the Falero candies.
Top 10 things to do in Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar – No. 10
If you’re done with everything above and still have some time left, then why not try some Go Karting in Mahabaleshwar. We had a super fun family race here at Velocity Entertainmentz. We booked twin seater karts. I partnered with my mom and my brother with Dad. The parents loved the Go Karting experience. It was their first time and the smile on their face was invaluable. My mom was screaming all throughout the race as I skidded on corners. Their smile made this the best possible ending to a wonderful 2 day trip to Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani.
If this post could help you out in any way to plan your next trip to Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar then do like and share it. Signing off for now………