Hill stations are often considered as summer getaways. It makes sense. Located at higher altitudes, they provide people with a much-needed respite from the summer heat. However, hill stations can be a big surprise during the winters too. The cold weather makes the spectacular views even more rewarding. Imagine sitting on top of a hill with a bonfire lit nearby as you gaze at the stars in your warm clothes. If you are with someone special, it is the cherry on the cake! Maharashtra is home to some of the most spectacular hill stations which are fantastic during winter. Thanks to the Western Ghats, these lush green holiday spots are just a drive away from cities like Mumbai and Pune. (ALSO SEE 7 amazing places to visit in India in winter) Here are some hill stations in Maharashtra you should totally visit in winter! Also Read - Himachal Pradesh News: How These Kinnaur Couple Contracted Coronavirus, First Case in This Remote District
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Winter is actually the best time to visit Mahabaleshwar. During the summer season, the drive can be quite tiring. During monsoons, most of the sight-seeing attractions are shut. This makes winter the perfect time to explore this marvelous hill station which provides breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and cliffs. The Mapro garden and chocolate factory is a great place to try out some great sandwiches and shop for strawberry jams and marmalade. Also Read - The New Normal? Salon Workers Covered In PPE Kits While Giving Haircuts, Images Go Viral
Attractions you must not miss: Lingmala waterfalls, Venna Lake, Kates point, Wilson point, and Connaught peak.
It may be the most done-to-death hill station for travelers but there is a reason why it is so popular. It is extremely close to Mumbai and Pune and provides some stunning views of the Western Ghats. It is also a wonderful drive from the two cities. During winter, the weather at Lonavala is cold enough to give you the feeling of a north Indian hill station. So, it serves as your own budget north Indian holiday. It is also surrounded by some wonderful trekking destinations in case you are interested in a multiple-day vacation.
Attractions not to be missed: Lonar lake, Rajmachi point, Dukes nose and Tigers leap
Matheran is perhaps one of the cleanest and most eco-friendly hill station you will come across in Maharashtra. Having banned automobiles, Matheran has established itself as an excellent eco-tourism spot just 100 km from Mumbai. The short trek to Matheran is great for beginners and the views it provides are simply beautiful. Winter is a great time to pack your warm clothes and head to this quaint hill station where you can take long walks and explore the natural beauty of the region.
Attractions not to be missed: Porcupine point, Olympia race course, Charlotte Lake, Alexander Point
Hugely popular for the Vipassana meditation centre, Igatpuri is located on the Mumbai-Nashik highway and is home to some amazing trekking trails. Since it is part of the Western Ghats, Igatpuri is surrounded by lush greenery. The valleys all around are great sights and the drive to Igatpuri is also extremely scenic. During winter, Igatpuri is a paradise for trekking enthusiasts.
Attractions not to be missed: Dhammagiri Meditational centre, Bhatsa river valley, Camel valley, Tringalwadi fort
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Located 1,150 m above sea level, Toranmal is one of the lesser-explored hill stations of Maharashtra. Sureounded by green valleys, wonderful cliffs and mesmerizing lakes, Toranmal is ideal for those looking for an offbeat hill station. During winter, the weather is cold but pleasant. The ambiance is serene and the view of sunsets is unparalleled here.
Attractions not to be missed: Sunset Point, Yashwant Lake, Check Dam and Coffee Garden
Panhala is known primarily for the historic Panhala fort. It is believed to have been the Maratha capital between the years 1782 and 1827. This makes it a delight for history buffs. However, even if you are not into history, you cannot ignore the beauty around Panhala. Located at a height of 754 m above sea level, Panhala provides views to beautiful green valleys that call out to the nature lover in you. The Sahyadri mountain range as viewed from Panhala is truly mesmerizing. Winter is a great time for the nature walks that are available around Panhala.
Attractions not to be missed: Parashar caves, Panhala Fort
Chikaldhara is one of the hidden jewels of Maharashtra. The only place where coffee is grown in the state, Chikaldhara is located in the Amravati district at an altitude of 1,118 m above sea level. It is spectacular during winter beaming with misty green valleys and beautiful lakes. It is also a delight for wildlife lovers as it is home to some lovely parks and reserves. There is enough to explore in CHikaldhara for you to take a winter vacation with your family away from the urban hustle bustle.
Attractions not to be missed: Bhimkund Shakkar lake, Melghat Tiger reserve, Kalapani dam, Gavilgad Fort, Hurricane Point, Devi Point, Dhakna- Kolkaz National Park
Photograph: DDaseEn/Creative Commons
Another one of the stunning hill stations of the Sahyadri range, Panchgani in the Satara district served as a summer respite for the British. Since then, it is considered one of the finest hill stations of Maharashtra. Nestled between five hills and five villages, Panchgani provides some breathtaking views of valleys and lakes. During winter, it is an ideal vacation spot for anyone who wants to get away from the city.
Attractions not to be missed: Sydney point, Tables land, Parsi Point, Kaas plateau, Wai
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