9 Best Hill Stations in Maharashtra

For travelers who love nature, here is a list of some of the top hill stations near Maharashtra you can explore on your next trip to India on last-minute flights. India is a stunning land and home to some of the most beautiful hill stations ever. While most are aware of the hill stations in North India, not many are aware of the hill stations scattered across the rest of the country.

The South, East and West regions of the country are home to equally gorgeous hill stations as well. If you forget your lonely planet guide, this interesting list of hill stations in Maharashtra will help you plan your itinerary depending upon which hill station you'd like to visit first on your trip to India.

Best Hill Stations in Maharashtra

Here are some of the best hill stations in Maharashtra.

1. Malshej Ghat

Malshej ghat is a mountain pass in western ghats range and is almost equidistant from both Pune and Mumbai. It comes alive in Monsoon and is good alternative for a bike trip. The route is beautiful with serpentine roads and dense green forest on both side. Harishchandragad Fort, which is at the end of this walk, is almost a mystery.

It is believed that the main complex was built in the sixth century and was mentioned both in history and in mythology. Trekking enthusiasts climb all the way to this fort for the great charm of witnessing the story from up close. You have to drive to Bailpada from Kalyan for the trek. It's easy and you can get to the fort in about eight hours. Make Kokan Kada your stop at the top.

The nearby Kedareshwar cave has an ancient shivalinga inside, which is usually half submerged in the water of a nearby stream. In addition, the ceiling of the cave rests on a single pillar, while the other three are completely broken. You can enjoy a panoramic view of the entire Konkan region from the fort. You need a whole day for this trek.

2. Bhandardara

Bhandardara is another hidden gem which is not so hidden now. Bhandardara is about 70 km from Nashik, 185 km from Mumbai and about 185 km from Pune and a popular hill station with many attractions around it. Tourists are attracted to the Wilson Dam built on the Pravara River, the Umbrella and Randha waterfalls, a clean and large Arthur Lake, Kalsubai Peak, the highest mountain in the state of Maharashtra, an ancient temple of Shiva Amruteshwar and the historic Ratangad fort.

This trekkers paradise is located north of the Ahmednagar district in Akole tehsil. Accessible through winding roads that lead through some of the most breathtaking natural scenery, Bhandardara is a popular place to visit in the state. In recent years, this little village has attracted so many travel lovers that now it is called holiday resort village.

What makes this one of the best hill stations in Maharashtra is the fact that it offers a diverse variety of attractions which include gorgeous waterfalls, lush green hills, stunning rivers, and ancient forts among plenty of other things. Hiking, trekking, and rock-climbing are some of the most popular things to do at Bhandardara.

Many cool places to stay at include a one of kind Treehouse stay.

3. Amboli

A relatively lesser-explored region in the Sahyadri Hills, Amboli is one of the most beautiful hill stations in Maharashtra popular for being an eco-hotspot. Elevated about 600 plus meters above sea level, this hill station is best visited during the monsoon season when waterfalls and misty mountains come alive.

Invest in cheap flights and come explore stunning attractions in Amboli which include famous viewpoints, towering Amboli Ghat Waterfall and lush greenery.

4. Matheran

The closest and brilliant hill station to Mumbai in Maharashtra, Matheran offers a great deal of walking and trekking tracks and stunning views. It's a spot to relax from any clatter and noise. Far away from the noise, crowd and air pollution, this spot is one of the most stunning spots in Maharashtra and is one of the best places to visit in India in July.

The most unusual thing about this spot is, vehicles are not permitted here. Vehicles are completely prohibited here. You can't go there even on your bike. Free entirely of automobiles, Matheran is one of the most eco-friendly hill stations of Maharashtra.

Located amidst the scenic hills of the Western Ghats, Matheran was developed and used as a summer resort by the British in early 1900s with the building of the Matheran Hill Railway. This is also one of the smallest hill station in Maharashtra and since being declared eco-sensitive, it is also the most pollution-free hill station in India.

Mulshi is a village very close to Pune. Surrounded by Sahyadris, it’s best enjoyed in monsoons.

5. Khandala

Khandala is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Maharastra, which attracts tourists from all over India. The flora and fauna of Khandala makes it one of the the best summer vacation places in Maharastra. Khandala is a very popular hill station. People plan for Khandala in order to get relief from the humid climate, sunstroke and traffic-filled roads and to embrace nature.

Khandala is one of the top 10 hill stations in Maharashtra which never seem to lose their sheen irrespective of whatever new attractions come up. Famously mentioned in an Aamir Khan song from the movie Ghulam, Khandala is one of the most scenic hill stations near Mumbai. Located about 500 plus meters above sea level, this scenic hill town offers scores of trekking and hiking opportunities across picturesque trails.

This is one of the best hill station in Maharashtra you can explore on your visit to Mumbai. Rajmachi Fort is a different getaway for hikers, nature lovers and travelers arriving in India. From there you can enjoy an incredible view of the Sahyadri mountains and the flocks of the Shirota dam.

First, it is important to note that the best time to visit Khandala are from mid June to October, because this region increases its beauty with clouds, waterfalls and natural green landscapes.

Regarding its location, it should be noted that it is constituted from two highlands, Shrivardhan and Manaranjan. At its base are the Rajmachi village and a forest reserve. In addition, beyond this area, flying over the Ulhas River you can find the Rajmachi Base Camp. The fort is located in Udhewadi, a local village whose families warmly welcome travelers and offer local cuisine.

There are treks that can be hired in Pune to discover the Fort, the Caves and other places in the area. As an example you have the Rajmachi Night Trek. It mainly consists of a 18 km night route through a thick and humid forest, where the views are spectacular late in the afternoon and at dawn. In addition, a special atmosphere is created because you go through it listening and seeing different types of forest animals, or fireflies twinkling around you.

6. Lonavala

Living in Mumbai and thinking about the best places to visit in India during monsoon season? Well, there's one right next to you - Lonavala! Lonavala is also one of the closest hill stations around Maharashtra near Pune and hence serves as a popular weekend getaway for Puneites and Mumbaikars both. Lonavala is located 5 km from Khandala.

With the beginning of the monsoon, the Sahyadri mountain ranges and the ghats awaken with fascinating vegetation, breathtaking waterfalls and pleasant climate. For a quick escape from the hectic city, plan a trip to the picturesque hilltop town of Lonavala.

Enjoy the expansive view of a stream flowing at the top of the cliff called The Tiger point and enjoy the tranquility of the Karla caves built by Buddhist monks around the 3rd-2nd century BC. There is a famous waterfall near the Bhushi dam, which is a very popular place for all monsoon lovers.

Mahabaleshwar and Lonavala in Maharashtra are extremely captivating. People who admire natural surroundings and tranquility must visit these places. One of the most stunning hill stations in Maharashtra, Lonavala is also among the most popular hill stations near Mumbai.

Not only is the region replete with rich natural beauty, it is also home to some of the most stunning historical architecture in the form of forts and palaces. Lakes, forts, dams, museums and resorts galore, Lonavala is one of the most uniquely diverse hill stations in Maharashtra.

The Karla And Bhaja Caves near Mumbai and the Bedse Caves are natural caves carved into rock walls. They were enlarged and individually arranged from the top to the base, a technique that avoids the use of scaffolding. The natural caves also offer an ideal panorama that allows to see in the distance and to be visible.

Like most sites carefully chosen by the Buddhist community, these caves have the advantage of being close to rivers, essential to the survival of the community. From an architectural point of view, these rock ensembles are an invaluable treasure.

Entirely made of stone, the Chaitya halls - destined to house the object of worship and the vihara, dwellings of the monks - faithfully copy the wooden architecture of a very distant time of which no constructed example has come down to us. Details as precise as the beams and rafters abound to the point of doubting the viewer.

But the trompe-l'oeil art reaches its peak on the facades of the caves, where a multitude of false wooden balconies inspired by palace architecture, animated by characters in full conciliabule give the impression of a great depth. Another fundamental element of Indian architecture is thegavaksa, kudu or Indian arc reproduced ad infinitum accentuates this false sensation of depth.

Everything seems to be done to make as tangible as possible a construction frozen in stone. Besides, as it is located in the mighty Sahyadri Mountains, there are a ton of rugged mountain activities like Hiking, Trekking, Camping, and exploring the wilderness. Moreover, there are a number of forts that are testimonies to the glorious past of the Maratha Empire – Rajmachi, Lohagad, Visapur, Tikona, Tunga, and many more pieces of unexplored history.

7. Panchgani

A stunning hill station near Maharashtra in the Sahyadri range, Panchgani was actually initially developed as a summer resort by the British during the mid-eighteenth century. One of the most beautiful hill resorts of Maharashtra, Panchgani quickly became a retirement place for British officials.

Replete with stunning natural beauty and home to diverse, remarkable species of flora and fauna, Panchgani is one of the most popular weekend getaways for people of Mumbai and Pune alike.

The place could be quite crowded but the list of romantic places in Maharashtra is incomplete without mention of Panchgani. Nestled in the Sahyadri Mountains in the midst of lush trees, Panchgani has been the favorite refuge of visitors since the time of Britishers. And even today, the tinsel village remains full of people in a hurry of tourists.

Rajpuri caves, Parsi Point, Sydney Point and Table Top Mountain are some of the places in Panchgani, where you can spend some quality time with your loved ones. If you have extra time at your disposal, make a point to visit Wai, a picturesque village, on the banks of the Krishna River, is known for its beautiful temples and ghats.

8. Panhala

Devi Ambabai is famous and ancient temple in Kolhapur and famous Jyotiba Temple is also located in Kolhapur. The Panchanganga river originates in the western ghats. It has five tributaries and surrounds the Bhogavati, Tulsi, Kumbhi, Kasari and the Dhamini rivers. Kolhapur has a number of lakes. The Rankala lake is famous Lake and it's also famous point of Kolhapur.

The popular food of Kolhapur is Kolhapuri Misal and Kolhapuri Bhel. Pandhara Rassa is a dish made from mutton.

9. Mhaismal

Lonar, located in Buldhana district is famous for crater, also known as Lonar lake or Lonar crater, formed over 50,000 years ago due to the collision of a meteorite on the surface of the region. It is a meteor impact lake and the only known hyper velocity impact crater in basaltic rock anywhere on Earth.

When in Aurangabad, one should not miss this marvelous piece of sculpting art – Ellora Caves. Carved grandly and beautifully, Ellora Caves are a UNESCO World Heritage Site today. The famous Kailasa temple of Ellora was built on the model of the Virupaksha temple. This temple is 1400 to 1500 years old built by Rashtrakuta Kings. The temple is cut out of a single igneous rock weighing about 400,000 tons.

Not a surprise it is the largest monolith temple on the planet. The top of the superstructure over the sanctuary is 32.6 metres (equivalent to a 9 stories building) above the level of the court below.

Imagine carving a massive rock to create this. It is to remind you that this volume is created by removing stone manually. The carvings inside it are intricate to blow your mind. The story of Ramayan is engraved in the wall. And so is the story of Mahabharata. The details on Pillars is mind blowing.

The shrine has windows, inner and outer rooms, gathering halls, and a massive stone lingam at its heart – is carved with niches, plasters, windows as well as images of deities. The court yard is 82 x 46 m.

Designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ajanta Caves are finest examples of ancient rock-cut caves. There are 29 caves in total and were built during second and sixth century BC. Visiting these caves would add more excitement to your vacation.

The Ajanta and Ellora festival aims in bringing the rich ancient culture of Aurangabad into spotlight. Held annually in Soneri Mahal, this festival is the vibrant blend of classical and folk performances. Soneri Mahal is the last standing palace of Aurangabad. The Rajput styled architecture exhibits ancient pottery, sculptures and other antiques.

The exquisite Pitalkhora Caves which were discovered in 1853, are made up of 14 rock-cut structures which have fine architectural styles and paintings. For those engaged in historical expeditions, these caves would be another feather in their cap!

Aurangabad Caves are a group of 12 rock-cut Buddhist Shrines. Carved with precision, these caves represent aesthetic culture of Maharashtra. Aurangabad Caves are indeed an architectural marvel of the state.

Located just 3 kilometers away from the Aurangabad Railway Station, Siddharth Garden and Zoo is one of the prime tourist attractions of Aurangabad. The place enjoys presence of diverse wildlife, colourful flowers and sparkling aquariums.

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum is one of the prime cultural houses of India. Being one of the main heritage buildings of the city, this museum stands against well-decorated garden and pleasing atmosphere.

Panchakki obtained its name from the grinding mill which was designed to provide grains for pilgrims. Amidst the sheer utility of this building, its beauty was not compromised at least. There is a reason why this spot is the prime attraction of Aurangabad.

Bibi Ka Maqbara took inspiration from the world-famous monument – Taj Mahal. The beauty and eminence of this monument attract tourists from all around the world.
Kalyan Panja