A weekend budget trip to the Queen of Hillstations (Mahabaleshwar, India)


Mahabaleshwar is a hill station in India's forested Western Ghats range, south of Mumbai, India. It features several elevated viewing points, such as Arthur’s Seat. West of here is centuries-old Pratapgad Fort, perched atop a mountain spur. East, Lingmala Waterfall tumbles off a sheer cliff. Colorful boats dot Venna Lake, while 5 rivers meet at Panch Ganga Temple to the north.

It is a very popular hill station as it is very close to both Mumbai and Pune and is hardly a 2-2.5 hours ride from Pune and around 3-4 from Mumbai. Panchgani is the sister town of Mahabaleshwar and on a lower altitude. The best time for a quick visit will no doubt be during the monsoons as the views will be spectacular and the cool breeze hitting your face is way too refreshing.

The thing about Mahabaleshwar is that it can be done in a day as well or by staying for a night or two and then heading back. Apart from the various viewpoints, the main attraction is the MaproGarden, it has it all, from a good restaurant selling good big pizzas, sandwiches, and milkshakes; to selling counters and tasting booths, it even has a chocolate factory.

Mapro sells a lot of fruit juices and squashes and the best part is you can taste them all here on the multiple tasting booths here. Just tell them which flavor you want to try and if you want milk or water and they will mix it up in a shot glass for you to taste (Just make sure not to try too many from the same booth, alternate between the booths to make the best out of this tasting opportunity).If you do like some of the flavors, you can directly purchase it from the selling counters a subsidized rates. There is a strawberry farm in the vicinity and the horticulture has been done in an impressive manner.

A 3 day / 2 night trip to Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani can be easily done in INR 3000-4000. Here’s what I did:

-Being my 1st independent trip from Pune I booked up a 3 star hotel from Groupon (Nearbuy) and shelled out almost 4k just for the hotel.

-Took a Volvo from Pune for around INR 300 per head or a ST bus back for around INR 50 per head. Our hotel was in Panchgani , a 2 km walk downslope from the Bus stand, so went for an all viewpoint trip with a Cab for INR 1600.

-As our hotel was in a bit secluded location we ended up having food from the in-house restaurant and shelled out roughly 1000 per head for 4 meals.

Obviously I overspent in all the parameters, but here’s how you can reduce the costs and do the trip in a INR 3000-4000 budget.

Read the full post at Eat, Travel, Live and REPEAT/Mahabaleshwar-budget-trip

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Photo of Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra, India by Eat | Travel | Live | Repeat - Arnav Mathur