The beautiful hills station of Mahabaleshwar is snuggled in the sloppy mountain ranges of the western ghats of Maharashtra. This hill station is a respite from the hustle and bustle of the crowded cities offering a clean, calm and refreshing environment,ideal for vacations.
Mahabaleshwar was discovered by the Britishers, who were always in search of places that provided them relief from the heat of the plains. Thus, the city still retains some of the old world charm, making it an perfect holiday destination.
Mahabaleshwar was the summer capital of the erstwhile Bombay Presidency. It has its own charm that enchants every visitor who comes here. The majestic mansions built during the days of the British, remind of the great British heritage.
Attractions In Mahabaleshwar
Mahabaleshwar has 30 outstanding viewpoints offering lovely views of the landscapes and makes excellent travel vacations. Most of the points are named after some former British dignitary and are situated in the 10-km radius of the bazaar in Mahabaleshwar. Many of the points can be reached by motorable roads, whereas others can be reached on foot.
Mahabaleshwar has many beautiful waterfalls, having their own charm. Some of the popular waterfalls are the Lingmala, Chairman and Dhobi. The Lingmala Lake is an enthralling lake presenting sights of flowing water as it scatters from the top of a steep cliff into thin silver streaks, often encircled by rainbow colors. Other waterfalls, Chairman and Dhobi are favorite picnic spots. The Chairman waterfall can be reached by the Carviali Road whereas the Dhobi waterfall is on a bridle path connecting Petit Road with Old Mahabaleshwar Road. The calm surroundings and the exotic waterfalls offer a perfect holiday spot.
The Wilson point is also known as the Sunrise point. This point is the nearest and the highest point in Mahabaleshwar. The Wilson point is nothing but a vast bare rock with three observation towers erected at different spots. This point pulls innumerable tourists, offering a beautiful view of the sunrise.
The Bombay point is one of the earliest known points in Mahabaleshwar. This point is known for the spectacular view of the sunset. Every evening innumerable tourists visit it, which also offers outstanding views of Pratapgarh and Makrandgarh.
Connaught Peak and Hunter Point
Connaught Peak and Hunter Point are situated off the Old Mahabaleshwar Road. Connaught Peak is the second highest peak of these hills. It offers outstanding views of the Venna Lake and Krishna Valley. Earlier this peak was known as Mount Olympia and was a favorite spot for riders. The Duke of Connaught was so mesmerized by the exotic views of this peak that he renamed it after his name. Therefore, in 1880, Mount Olympia became Connaught Peak.
The Venna lake is sprawled over a huge area of 25 acres. It is a major attraction for tourists coming to Mahabaleshwar. The lake provides boating and fishing facilities, especially the boating experience on the Venna Lake is an unforgettable experience.
Babington Point and Helen's Point
This Babington point offers an enchanting view of the Koyna valley and Chinaman's waterfall. There is another point here called the Helen's point, situated 4 kms from the main market. Also known as the blue Valley, this point provides an enchanting view of tiny fields and neat little huts.
Arthur's Seat is renowned as the Queen of all points. There is the barren deep valley of Savitri to its left and shallow green valley to its right.The Arthur's seat is the only geographical feature that divides Kokan & Desh, two territories of Mahabaleshwar, clearly. There is also a spring nearby called the Tiger's Spring, which supposed to be the source of the river. Walk down the seat through the steps to reach the Window Point, ahich is another famous point.
Old Mahabaleshwar is situated around the origin of the Holy Krishna River. There is a temple here dedicated to Lord Krishna. This place is locally known as "Panchgana" meaning "Five Rivers" i.e. Krishna, Konya, Yenna, Gayatri and Savitri. There are many pre historic shrines found here. The Krishna temple in its present form is related to Singhan, a Yadav King ruling from Devagiri in the 13th century. This temple then went into the hands of Chandra Rao in the late 16th century and later it was restored by Great Maratha Shivaji himself in 1635. Then it was taken over by Sahu (1670-1709) and lastly by the 19th century banker Parashuram Angal.
The "Hanuman Mandir" is another famous temple here and is not far from the "Krishna Temple". It is believed that the famous saint and mystic Rama Dassa rested here in 1635.
Other temples in this region are the Sri Rama Temple" and "Mahabal Temple". At Mahabal temple Lord Shiva is not worshiped in the form of a carved Lingam but as a natural rock.
Panchgani is situated at a distance of 19 kms from Mahabaleshwar. It is also a hill station and is like sister town to Mahabaleshwar. Panchgani is regarded as a health resort surrounded by five hills after which it is named. It is a beautiful and enriching place to spend your vacations. You will come across many scenic views in Panchgani. Definitely, a worth visit destination.
Tapola is situated 25 kms away from Mahabaleshwar and is a great picnic spot. It is also regarded as mini Kashmir, where time stands still, offering some wonderful views of the backwaters of the Koyna dam.
The impressive Pratapgad fort is situated at adistance of 24 kms from mahabaleshwar. It is this fort where Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj defeated Afzal Khan and established the Maratha empire. This fort provides some exquisite views of the Konkan valley below and the Raigad fort in the west. Visitors can also visit the tomb of Afzal Khan.
Satara is city famous for its fascinating history. It is a must-visit destination having magnificent Shivaji Maharaj Museum located just opposite the main bus stand. The Wasota Fort, in the south of the town, is renowned for its history and is linked to the Marathas and Aurangzeb.
Mahabaleshwar is not a shopping destination, but still one can look forward to buy a few things from the local markets. The bazaars of this lovely hill station are bustling and alive offering everything from clothes to slippers and gift items.
Mahabaleshwar is known for the different kinds of berries it produces, such as strawberries, gooseberries and raspberries. So, don't miss buying these fresh fruits and also their jams, preserves and marmalades. Apart from these, the leather goods and tribal trinkets of this place are very popular. These exotic pieces can be bought for friends as souvenirs or gifts.
By Air : Nearest airport from Mahabaleshwar is at Pune around 120-km away. The Pune airport is a domestic airport.
By Rail : Nearest railway station is Wathar at 62-km, but the Pune railway station is the most convenient railway station situated at a distance of 120 kms.
By Road : From Bombay via Pune, Mahabaleshwar is 290-km and via Mahad it is 247-km. The State Transport buses ply from Bombay and Pune to Mahabaleshwar. MTDC also operates daily bus services except during the monsoon, between Bombay-Mahabaleshwar-Bombay. There are sightseeing tours also for Mahabaleshwar and Mahabaleshwar to Pratapgad Fort.