Escape Monotony With A Trip To These Magical Hill Stations In The West

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    All of us have been indoors for a while now, and it's high time we got some fresh air. And we seriously couldn't get luckier with Pune's proximity to forts, nature trails, sanctuaries, and, of course, hill stations. Here are five you definitely should check out to escape monotony. Fill up on fuel and drive to these hill stations near Pune that offer cosy stays, gorgeous views and great weather! 

    Bhandardara

    This little hill retreat, 162 km from the city, is the best option to travel on a long weekend. See the Western Ghats in all its beauty, take in views of stunning waterfalls and serene mountains and just relax. If trekking is your stress buster and rugged terrains give you an adrenaline rush, then this quaint hill town in Ahmednagar is worth exploring. You must check out the jungle camping here and visit Mount Kalsubai too. You can either take a bus from Swargate which will cost you around INR 500 or just make a road trip with your friends.

    Matheran

    Matheran, the smallest hill paradise in India, is full of scenic views which will lift up your spirits. Its lush greenery, rocky patches and eye-pleasing surroundings with breathtaking views add to the ceaseless charm. It is located 120 kms from the city, so it should take you around three hours by car. Trek to the Chanderi caves, and spot old Parsi and British-era bungalows where the rich once lived. Some are also available as homestays. There are plenty of trekking trails here to explore as well. Matheran is also the only automobile-free station in all of Asia, so find a horse to ride if you're tired of walking! 

    Lavasa

    The only private planned city in India, Lavasa looks like a quaint European town with its colourful townships along the lake. Only 65 kms from Pune and spread across 25000 acres of land and green pastures, Lavasa is where the rich go to holiday but you can also roam the town or look down at it from a viewing point just outside the city. Make sure you try trekking, hiking, mountain climbing, and water sports like jet-skis, luxury cruise boats, bumper boats and more. Lavasa roads are made for bikers, so if you are taking a two-wheeler, make sure you are fully geared. Entry fee is INR 250. If you are taking your car, it will cost you INR 500 for entry.

    Panchgani

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    If you are fond of fresh strawberries, cheese, jams and juices, then Panchgani is a must-visit. It has retained its colonial-era charm and has tall mountains surrounding the landscape. It's in the midst of wilderness and is only a 100 km away offering a number of economical homestays for travellers looking to stay for a while. The Mapro Garden is a must-visit here. Take a bus from Pune station to Panchgani bus stop for just INR 300 or drive down with your buddies in less than 4 hours.

    Khandala

    Located 68 kms from the city, Khandala is one of the most visited hill stations around Pune. Tranquil and alluring in its own way, this hilly abode is situated between the Deccan Plateau and the Konkan Plains. There are a number of tourists spots here which you must check out. Some of the must-visit spots include Bhaja caves, tiger's leap, the famous Lohgad fort, Kune waterfalls, Nagphani, and many more.

    Mahabaleshwar

    Located 120 km away from Pune, Mahabaleshwar is just a little ahead of Panchgani and among the most beloved spots for weekend getaways. It hardly takes three hours to reach this hill station and once you do, you can instantly sense the old-world charm. Make sure you visit the Venna Lake as it offers beautiful scenery. You can explore the lake via a boat ride or can simply take a horse ride around the lake area. Once done, just outside Venna Lake, get yourself some street food to perfectly get into the holiday mood.