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A Jaunt to the Hills - Exploring Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar

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It usually is the same story every weekend, routine plans to catch a movie or hang out with friends at a local cafe. But, what if we were to tell you that we have better ideas for your upcoming holiday. After all, Pune with its many delightful escapades is the ideal city for travel lovers. So dust your backpacks and get ready to head out to some great monsoon spots in the hills!

Within the short distance of 118 km, you can visit two striking hill stations near Pune that have a lot to offer besides a vivid drive. There are attractive forts, scenic lakes, breathtaking views and even adventure sporting options along the way.

Panchgani

Panchgani - The Emerald Beauty

Panchgani is a much sought-after hill station near Pune. This monsoon spot is a heady concoction of the best nature has to offer. Cradled by five surrounding hills, this tourist place near Pune, brings together gushing waterfalls, astounding viewpoints, waterscapes and lush greenery for an unforgettable monsoon outing. The picture perfect setting attracts shutterbugs from across the world.

In the city center, a favourite money making scheme by the taxi drivers is to show 'packages' of numerous viewpoints and attractions to unassuming travellers. Beware, many of these 'attractions' are just distant rocks! Ensure you don't miss the Sydney point and Parsi point, both offering an unparalleled view of the glistening waters of Dhom dam.

Sydney point

For cave explorers, The Devil's Kitchen caves associated with the Pandava mythology is an exciting visit. For adventure sports enthusiasts, the right climate conditions allow you to go paragliding. You can also opt for the exhilarating experience of camping under star-studded sky on a cliff front.

Getting here: This tourist destination near Pune at a distance of 101 km is a mere 2 hr journey on the NH-4. Heading from Wai, the distance is 18.5 km and 20 min's drive. The nearest railway station is Wathar in Satara, which is 45.2 km from Panchgani. From here, you can proceed to Panchgani by taxi or bus.

Staying here: Panchgani with its wide selection of home-stay and Eco-stay options makes it an ideal weekend getaway from Pune. Know more here.

Food: Do not miss the strawberries that Panchgani is famous for, however don't expect them to be as sweet as they look! Also visit the Mapro Center for a variety of fruit juices, concentrates and jams.

Don't miss the strawberries!

Mahabaleshwar - Reaching for the clouds!

A yesteryear British resort in the hills, Mahabaleshwar with its colonial style buildings, numerous viewpoints named after British administrators and nature trails has something to offer, for every type of traveller. Take a boating trip across the Venna lake or go trekking across the different paths available, such as between Arthur's seat and Chandragad, which are ideal monsoon spots.

Enjoy the mesmerising blue waters of the Balakwadi dam from Kate's point. The highest point in Mahabaleshwar is the Wilson point at 1439 mt, providing an astounding view of the landscape, especially during sunrise and sunset.

While the evergreen forests provide excellent picnic spots, the rugged mountains facade boast of many forts, such as the Pratapgad fort located about 22 km from Mahabaleshwar. The Fort is a great monsoon spot near Pune. With its old stone walls, still standing strong among vibrant greenery, Pratapgad Fort is a must-see! The road connecting Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani also offer sports activities such as go-karting.

Getting here: The distance from Pune to Mahabaleshwar by road is 118 km, 20.3 km drive from Panchgani and 33.2 km drive from Wai. Nearest railway station is Wathar in Satara, at 51.4 km from Mahabaleshwar. Private and local buses are available from Satara, Wai and Panchgani.

Staying here: This hill station near Pune has many hotel and home-stay options to choose from, know more here.

Food: Strawberries and blueberries are popular in the region, given the right season you can even go handpick them fresh from farms.

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