As the state of Maharashtra is the Home of Sahydri Mountains, the state has many appealing hill stations. The Britishers founded most of these hill stations during their colonial era to beat the scorching heat. But the beauty and the charming glory are still alive in these hill stations. The Western Ghats, which form a part of the Sahydri range, has also lots of beautiful hill stations. Hill stations of Maharashtra not only attract the foreign tourists but also Indian domestic tourists, which are exhausted with the fast urban life. Popular hill stations of Maharashtra are Matheran, Lonavala, Khandala, Mahabaleshwar, Panchagani, Bhandardara, Malshej Ghat, Amboli, Chikhaldara Panhala, Panchgani, Sawantwadi, Toranmal, and Jawahar. It is said that each hill station of Maharashtra has unique characteristic and its closeness to a city makes it very popular.
Amboli is located in Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra. This hill station is at an altitude of 690m above the sea level. Having dense forests and steep mountains, Amboli is the last hill resort before the coastal plains begin in the southern ranges of the Sahyadri Hills. The hilltop Amboli gives a fine bird’seye view of the Konkan coast. Colonel Westrop, who was a British political agent, developed Amboli as a hill station after the opening of the Ghat Road from the coastal town of Vengurla, now in southern Maharashtra, to Belgaum. Receiving nearly 750 centimeters (269 inches) of rainfall per year, this hill station is the wettest place in Maharashtra. Amboli is one of the few hill stations of Maharashtra from where one can see the sea. This hill station is totally swathed with cloud during rainy season. Hiranyakeshi Temple, Nagarta falls, Hiranya Keshi, Mahadev Gad and Narayangad are the important places to visit in this hill station. Nearest airport is Belgaum, (64 km), while nearest railway station is Sawantwadi at 28 km on the Konkan Railway. One can stay at government resorts.
Bhandardara is located at a distance of 70 km from Nashik. It is a small and peaceful area. This hill station is popular for fun loving and picnic lovers. Radha Falls, a deep valley, a clean and large Arthur Lake, a historical Ratangadh Fort, an ancient temple – Amritheshwar Temple, a peaceful Agasti Rishi Ashram,Wilson Dam also known as Bhandardara Dam, and Viewpoints are the important destinations at Bhandarda. It also has a trekking destination – Mount Kalusubai. The largest earthen dam in the country and one of the oldest dams in Asia,Wilson Dam or Bhandardara Dam is at Bhandardara. The height of the dam is nearly 150 m. The overflowing water makes the Umbrella Falls, which is a picturesque sight during the monsoon season. There is also a lake with serene beauty called Arthur Lake. One can also visit the site from where the lake originates at Pravara River. Streamlets from this lake flow down to 45m heights at Randha Falls. Not only a heart catching scenic spot, these falls also serves as a hydropower generation. Agasti Rishi Ashram is on the bank of the Pravara River, which attracts huge crowds. One can also visit Amriteshwar Temple at Bhandardara. Bhandardara is most suited to visit after the monsoon season as its beauty emerges only after the rains. Nearest Airport is Nashik at (93 km), nearest railway station is Igatpuri at (45 km).
Chikhaldara is in Amaravatio district of Vidarbha region of Maharashtra. It is believed that its name is derived from Keechaka. This hill station is the only hill station, which offers the tourists lots of wildlife, viewpoints, lakes and waterfalls in the Vidharba region. Chikhaldara is situated at an altitude of 1,118 m. This place is the only coffee-growing area in Maharashtra. Chikhaldara is full of deep valleys, and these valleys are full of velvet mist and majestic trees. Abundance of natural scenery, exciting wildlife, breathtaking waterfalls and placid lake make the hill station a perfect site for summer retreat. Popular as the Melghat Tiger Project and Dhakana-Kolkaz National Park, this station has wildlife like panthers, sloth bears, sambar, wild boar, and wild dogs. Tourists can also enjoy the panoramic view of this hill resort from Hurricane Point, Prospect Point, and Devi Point. Gawilgad and Narnala fort, Pandit Nehru Botanical Gardens, Tribal Museum and Semadoh Lake are other destinations of this hill station. Chikaldhara’s cool breezy climate makes it an excellent place to repose in summer. Nearest airport is Akola (150 km), while nearest railway station is Badnera (110 km). Nearest bus depot is in Amravathi (100 km). Accommodation is available at Chikhaldara.
Jawhar hill station is in Thane district of Maharashtra. Gifted with exotic valleys, thick rich forests and pleasant climate, Jawhar offers dofferent type of enjoyment comparing to other hill stations of Maharashtra. Jawhar is popular for its lively Warli paintings. This hill station is one of the few tribal kingdoms in Maharashtra. Tourists can visit Jai Vilas, the Palace of the tribal lords that offers a unique opportunity to expose and enlighten with the tribal way of life. Bhupatgad relics are also worth a visit. Dadar Kopra Falls, Hanuman Temple and Sunset Points are the other attractions of Jawhar. Jawhar is also known as the Mahabaleshwar of Thane District. Shirpamal, where Shivaji Maharaj camped on his way to Surat is near Jawhar. Nearest airport is at Nashik (80 km), while nearest railway station is at Igatpuri (61 km).
Lonavala And Khandala
Locating at an altitude of 625m, Lonavala and Khandala are famous for its beautiful hills, deep green valleys, huge lakes, historic forts and waterfalls etc. These two hill stations are at the Sahyadris Mountains of Maharashtra. Lonavala and Khandala have magnificent waterfalls that give a heart catching view during monsoon. Tourists can plan their trip together with Karla, Bhaja, and Bedsa caves, which are very near from Lonavala. This hill station is also known as the ‘Jewel of Sahydri’, because of its nature’s gifted of beautiful valleys, hills, milky waterfalls, lush greenery, and pleasant cool winds. Khandala is smaller than Lonavala and relatively calmer. It is known to be the pride of the Sahyadri Mountains. Beautiful waterfall amidst green environment is really splendid to see. The place refreshes the exhausted tourists. Tugauli, Lonavala, Bhushi and Valvan Lake are the important lakes of this hill station. Nearest airport is situated at Pune (64 km). Lonavala and Khandala are 104 km from Mumbai and 64 km from Pune on the Mumbai-Pune highway.