A wise person once said, 'Happiness is a way of travel, not the destination' and this definitely holds true for road trips. The essence of travel that can be got traversing the various landscapes on road, where you can stop to enjoy the changes both natural and cultural every few hundred meters in India is a must-do experience for every avid traveller. India with its many states boasting of varied scenic attractions, languages, styles of clothing and way of life presents ideal opportunities for a road trip. What you experience and see across the varying landscapes is sure to change your perception of travel.
Maharashtra provides some of the best trails for road travel in the monsoon and winter months. The cities such as Mumbai and Pune both have many roads that lead from the chaos of urban life to the undiscovered beauty of the countryside. Take a look at a road trip from Pune to Satara's Kaas Plateau. Enjoy the lush greenery and unforgettable ghat section driving on this journey. So, what are you waiting for? Let's get started!
Pune to Kaas Plateau
The city of Pune itself provides many historic sites, restaurants and museums to explore among its attractions. But this weekend why not make plans for something far more exciting. A plan to drive down to the beautiful Kaas Plateau for some quality family time or fun with friends. The total driving distance from Pune to Kaas is around 136 km. However, we have a few suggestions on the route you should take for the maximum fun and scenic sightings.
Photo Courtesy: Ashok Bagade
Post the monsoon season, the winters in this part of Maharashtra continue to be green and beautiful, albeit a little cold. So get some basic woolens packed and you are set for a trip with memorable driving, good roads, amazing scenery and a variety of amusement options along the way. The route we propose is Pune-Khandala-Wai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-Kaas Plateau. The journey will be 151 km long one-way and requires a driving time of 3.5 hours. You can expect to be driving on NH-4, the Wai-Panchgani road, Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar road and Kaas-Mahabaleshwar road. The ghat section driving is definitely enjoyable.
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Pune to Wai
Prepare your vehicle with a basic check and re-fueling on Friday. Pack casual clothes and some trekking pants as well, this region tends to be rather cold on winter nights, so pack your woolens too. Plan to leave Pune early Saturday morning. You should plan your journey in such a way that you travel from Pune to Wai for breakfast. This is a 88 km journey and is safe to say the drive will take you 2 hours. Plan to leave at about 6:00 am and reach Wai at 8:00 am. The popular Kismat Bakery on the Mazgaon road is a must-visit for yummy cakes and other sweetmeats. Wai has a few decent accommodations such as the Sanai Residency. But, it's better to proceed to Panchgani for the stay.
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Wai to Panchgani
This likely to be the shortest distance you travel from one place to another in this road trip and yet the scenery and views change rather dramatically. Wai to Panchgani is a mere 13.8 km journey. You can plan on reaching Panchgani in comfort by 10:00 am. Now it's time for sightseeing in and around Panchgani. A popular hill station in close proximity to Pune, Panchgani or 'five hills' provide many attractions ranging from viewpoints to waterfalls and temples. You can stay the night, here at the lovely Eco Camp, they provide tent stays and rooms at very god rates. But the best deal about this property are the stunning views it provides of the surrounding mountain vistas. They also provide adventure activities such as paragliding if the climate conditions are right. You can get in touch with Megan at 9960436352 to book your stay. A short walk from Eco Camp are many restaurants and the food is pretty good.
Photo Courtesy:Ashwin John
Panchgani Key Attractions
You must not miss the attractions such as Sydney point and Parsi point, both offering an unparalleled view of the glistening waters of Dhom dam. The Table Land also offers great views and horse rides. Temples and waterfalls along the way are also good to enjoy. The strawberries are a great buy and so are products of the local Mapro Industry selling everything from fruit concentrates to chocolates. Many of these products are not available at stores outside this region, so go ahead and stock up! Adventure seekers can go paragliding or gear up for some exciting treks in the region. You can also explore the road that leads to Mahabaleshwar and explore parks, go-karting tracks, etc.
Photo Courtesy: Bernard Oh
Panchgani to Mahabaleshwar
The distance is a short 19.9 km and can travel can be made on Saturday itself. Or in the early Sunday morning. The quaint town with its cloud-kissed hills and colonial-style buildings are a pleasure to observe. Mahabaleshwar also has many premium and budget accommodation options. You can stop here for a quick bite. There are many attractions that you can explore. So make a list on the ones you are truly keen to visit, else you might fall short of time.
Photo Courtesy:Bernard Oh
Key Attractions in Mahabaleshwar
Travel to the Venna lake for a rather tranquil experience of boating. You can also go trekking between various viewpoints such as the trail between Arthur's Seat and Chandragad. The viewpoints will leave you enthralled as your eyes scan the horizon, hungry for more. The Kate's Point offers panoramic views of the Balakwadi Dam, but it is the Wilson's Point that takes home the cake. Situated at the highest point of Mahabaleshwar, it is the best place to enjoy both the sunrise and sunset. If time permits, 22 km from Mahabaleshwar is the aged-fort covered in moss; the Pratapgad. It is rather stunning and the first sight will stay etched in your mind forever.
Photo Courtesy: Ms.Mulish
Mahabaleshwar to Kaas Plateau
After spending the night in Panchgani or Mahabaleshwar, you can start early Sunday morning for Kaas Plateau, at a distance of 36.8 km from Mahabaleshwar. The roads are rather stunning and the drive itself is immensely enjoyable. You can head for Satara and proceed to Kaas Plateau, but that will add to the distance, making it a 78 km journey, depending on the road conditions , this option though longer might be the better journey. You can check with the locals, before you set out.
Photo Courtesy: Ankur P
Key Attractions of Kaas Plateau
The main attractions of Kaas are its blanket of wildflowers, which due to this year's late monsoon might still be around for you to enjoy. There is a small entry fee and a few do's and don't to keep in mind as you travel through this amazing location. The Kaas Lake is also a scenic spot that is ideal for picnics. A short distance away there is also a waterfall attraction. Kass Plateau and Lake is all about nature at its best, the calm and serene surrounding, minus the crowds will leave you feeling refreshed.
Photo Courtesy: Travelling Slacker
Kaas Plateau to Pune
On the return journey, you can stop at Satara for your meal and proceed to Pune, at a distance of 136 km. The drive should take you about 4 hours. You can plan to reach Pune by 9:00-10:00 pm in the night. The inspiring road trip will leave you ready to take on the coming weeks with new vigour.
Photo Courtesy: B Balaji