Mayanagri Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra and the economic capital of India is best known for its bustling lifestyle, towering buildings and celebrity gatherings. Despite being a populace city in India Mumbai has also been a key tourist puller.
For Mumbaikars, winter is not that freezing as compared to other north Indian states and hill stations. But there is nothing to worry. Thanks to some of the popular hill stations near Mumbai for sustaining the wintry feel in the state of Maharashtra. People seeking a soothing time-off, here is the list of five popular hill stations near Mumbai that can be visited in winter:
1. Location: Lavasa
Distance: Approximately 185Kms
Key attractions: Nestled in the Western Ghats, Maharashtra, Lavasa is known for its mountainous region and green picturesque vista. There is a popular hill resort in Lavasa perched at an elevation of nearly 642m above sea level. Apart from its arresting natural splendour, Lavasa is quite popular amongst the motorcyclists. People from Mumbai and Pune often visit this location for an invigorating weekend. Besides, the place also boasts animated waterfalls and Temghar Dam, which is the prime source of water supply to Pune. In addition, one can also find here some good wellness centers for complete revitalization.
How to go: People travelling of their own car from Mumbai, Lavasa can be reached in 4-5 hours. In addition, private buses are also available for Lavasa from Mumbai and Pune (60Kms). Anyone travelling from any other state, Pune Airport and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (Mumbai) are the two nearest airports to get there. From both these airports private vehicles can be hired. One more option to reach Lavas is by train. Though there is no individual railway station in Lavasa, but the best possible way to get there by train is via Lonavala railway station. From Lonavala, the distance is nearly 30Kms to reach Lavasa. There are several trains that run for Lonavala on regular basis.
When to go: Lavasa can best be explored in monsoon and in winter.
2. Location: Lonavala
Distance: Approximately 84Kms
Key attractions: Located in Pune district of state Maharashtra, Lonavala is a famous hill station to explore near Mumbai. Apart from its breath-taking knolls and climatic magnetism, Lonavala is an abode to several lively waterfalls, captivating caves and grandeur lochs. In addition, the place is an absolute paradise for adventure enthusiasts offering them great outdoor opportunities like trekking and camping. Some of the key attractions in Lonavala include Ryewood Park, Rajmachi Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhushi Dam, Korigad Fort, Bhaja Caves, Imagica Adlabs and Sausage Hills.
How to go: For air travellers, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (Mumbai) and Lohegaon Airport (Pune) are two nearby airports. It will take nearly 45 minutes and 2 hours to reach Lonavala from Pune and Mumbai airports respectively. Additionally, visitors can also get there by train. There are several passenger and Pune-bound trains that run from Mumbai on regular basis. Some of the major trains on this route are Indrayani Express, Deccan Express, Pune Ahimsa Express and Koyna Express. If anyone prefer road journey to reach Lonavala, nothing could be a better option than this. Because of NH4 and Mumbai Express Highway, the road connectivity for this route is quite convenient. There are regular buses from Mumbai to reach Lonavala.
When to go: The best time to visit Lonavala is winter and monsoon.
3. Location: Mahabaleshwar
Distance: Approximately 284Kms
Key attractions: Surrounded by beautiful hilly ranges of the Western Ghats and vales, Mahabaleshwar is a popular hill station to visit in winter. Ages back, the picturesque vista of Mahabaleshwar was well-acclaimed by the British. Accordingly, the place was turned into an eminent hill resort under the foreign authority. Today, Mahabaleshwar is laid out with plenty of tourist attractions like Lingmala Waterfalls, Mahabaleshwar Temple, Lodwick Point, Elephant’s Head Point, Rajpuri Caves, Mapro Garden, Pratapgarh Fort, Venna Lake and Table Land. A voyage to Mahabaleshwar during winter will leave you absolutely amazed.
How to go: The nearest airport to Mahabaleshwar is Pune, which is located nearly 120Kms away from the destination. From airport one can hire a taxi and cab or even take a bus to reach Mahabaleshwar. For railway commuters on the other hand, the nearest railhead is Satara, which is located nerely 45Kms from Mahabaleshwar. From Satara railway station, taxi and State Transport would be the convenient mode of commutation to travel further. Some of the major trains to reach Mahabaleshwar are Chennai Mail, Hyderabad Exp, Udyan Express, Mumbai Mail, Mahalaxmi Express etc. If anyone is looking for road trip from Mumbai, buses are mostly available from Vashi, Dadar (East) and Sion. The road journey from Mumbai will take approximately 5-6 hours. Additionally, one can also hire a cab from Mumbai to reach Mahabaleshwar.
When to go: October to June is the best time to explore Mahabaleshwar.
4. Location: Matheran
Distance: Approximately 50Kms
Key attractions: Located in the Raigad District of Maharashtra, Matheran is a spectacular hill station near Mumbai. It takes hardly couple of hours to reach Matheran from Mumbai. An interesting fact about this popular hill station is that the natural splendour of Matheran was first revealed by Hugh Poyntz Malet in 1850. Over the years, the hill station was transformed into a favourite summer resort for the British. This is how Matheran has started grabbing the attention of nearby inhabitants. Today, the place is considered as one of the favourite hill stations near Mumbai that one can visit during the winter. Therefore, when in Matheran, make sure to explore some of the key attractions here including Alexander Point, Charlotte or Sharlott Lake, Echo Point, Panorama Point, Louisa Point, One Tree Hill Point, MorBe Dam, Shivaji’s Ladder, Monkey Point. The place is also popular for valley crossing.
How to go: For air commuters, the nearest airport is Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai, which is around 100Kms away from Matheran. From Mumbai airport one can easily hire a taxi and cab for Matheran. On the other hand, railway commuters can board at Deccan Express or at the Koyna Express from Mumbai CST that will take them till Neral Junction, which is the nearest (20Kms) railway station to Matheran. From Neral Junction, one can hire a taxi to travel further.
For road travellers, it is important to know that Matheran is a vehicle-free zone. Hence, you need to park the car at the Dasturi Naka Car Park Centre. From this car parking zone, it takes another 40 minutes to reach Matheran. This distance can be covered either by hand-pulled rickshaws or through horseback.
When to go: The best time to visit Matheran is from September to June when one can best reveal the adjoining beauty of this mountain valley.
5. Location: Khandala
Distance: Approximately 78Kms
Key attractions: Nothing could be the best blend where tranquillity and soothing ambience join hands in the midst of natural abundance. Located nearly 78-80Kms away from Mumbai, Khandala is one of the frequently visited hill stations near Mumbai and Pune. The hill station has no dearth of attractions to offer its visitors. During its long subsistence, the terrain of Khanadala has witnessed the rise and fall of several Peshwa and Maratha realms. So, when in Khanadala, don’t skip some of the major attractions here that include Rajmachi Fort, Duke’s Nose, Bedsa Caves, Kune Falls, Celebrity Wax Museum and Lonavala Lake.
How to go: If you travel by flight, Pune (66kms) and Mumbai (110Kms) are two nearby airports. From these airports, taxi and cab can easily be hired for Khandala. For railway travelers, the nearest railhead is Lonavala (5Kms). Some of the major trains on this route are Mumbai-Pune Deccan Express, Mumbai-Pune Sihangad Express, Mumbai-Pune Indryani Express and Mumbai-Pune Deccan Queen. However, the most exiting way to reach Khandala is through Mumbai-Pune Expressway or via NH4. For a soothing ride crossing the natural splendour on the go, the 4 hours road journey could be the most memorable journey for travellers.
When to go: The scenic exquisiteness of Khandala is emerged the best during monsoon and winter. Therefore, these are the two peak seasons to visit Khandala.
Happy winter, happy travelling!!