With the soaring peaks, breathtaking valleys, lush flora and cool and adoring mountain air Mahabaleshwar is one of the tourist’s favourite. Located about 120 km southwest of Pune and 285 km from Mumbai, this is Maharashtra’s most popular hill station, and once the summer capital of the Bombay Presidency during the British Raj. Mahabaleshwar means ‘God of Great Power’ in Sanskrit. The place is great and rewarding the visitor with a mixture of old-world charm, natural beauty and modernity.
Places to see at Mahabaleshwar: There are diverse spots of tourist attractions in Mahabaleshwar. These are:
Built by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaja in 1656, the Pratapgarh Fort is located about 24 km west of Mahabaleshwar. The fort encompasses two ancient forts; the Upper Fort – built on the top of the hill and the Lower Fort. Within the fort walls, tourists can see the BhavaniTemple, the tomb of Afzal Khan and Mahadev temple. The fort also has a maze chambers and long dark walkways, some of them lead to trap doors with a 100 meter fall. The fort is the witness of historic Battle of Pratapgarh between Shivaji and Afzal Khan. The Pratapgad fort offers exhilarating and excellent views of the Konkan valley.
The Venna Lake is situated around 2 km from the ST bus stand and is among the most popular tourist places in Mahabaleshwar. The lake is 2.5 km long and is encircled by trees on all sides. Tourists can enjoy activities like fishing and boating at the lake, they can even do a little horse riding. There are a few small eateries and strawberry stalls lined up at the banks of the lake.
Lord Mahabaleshwar Temple
Situated in the Old Kshetra Mahabaleshwar, about 6 km north from the main city, the Mahabaleshwar Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is an important Hindu pilgrimage site. The temple was built by the Chanda Rao More dynasty in the 16th century and is a model of the Hemadant architectural style of South India.
There are three waterfalls in Mahabaleshwar; the first one is the Lingmala Falls which is located about 6 km from Mahabaleshwar. Formed by the River Venna, the waterfall plunges down from a height of 500 ft and can be seen in its glory during the rainy season. The second one is the DhobiFalls which is located around 3 km from Mahabaleshwar, on the trail which connects Petit road with Old Mahabaleshwar road. The water plunges down into a deep valley and finally merges with Koyna River. The waterfall is a popular picnic spot. The last one is the ChinamonsFalls. It is located at around 2.5 km from Mahabaleshwar in an exotic place with Chinese cultivated gardens at close proximity.
Mahabaleshwar is well known for its points which offer panoramic views of the amazing landscapes. There are more than 14 viewpoints which present impressive views to the tourists. These points are within close range of each other and are named after notable Britishers. Some of the most popular points in Mahabaleshwar are: Elphinstone Point, Arthur’s Seat, Galoni Point, Lodwick Point, Wilson Point, Babington point, Connaught Peak and Hunter Point.
Mapro garden is set on Mahabaleshwar – Panchgani road around Mapro Jam factory where one arrives for purchasing all kinds of local produce such as Strawberry Jams, crush etc. The snack counter outside that serves sandwiches and shakes is also very popular.
Nearby attractions of Mahabaleshwar: Mahabaleshwar is an ideal spot to make excursions to places like:
Tapola is a quaint location in Mahabaleshwar, located at a distance of about 27 km to the south. The small town is situated down the Tapola Ghat in the Koyna valley on the extreme backwaters of the Triveni Sangam of the Koyna, Solshi and the Kandhati River. The place is locally called as Mini Kashmir due to the tranquillity and the splendour of the Shivsagar Lake. The Shivsagar dam located here is popular for motor boats. One can enjoy riding motorboats, speed boats and scooter riders on the waters. There are many unidentified forts in the deep forests around the lake too.
Panchgani is a picturesque hill station, located at a distance of 20 km from Mahabaleshwar and is perfect place for adventure lovers. With a year round pleasant climate, Panchgani provide good opportunities for those who love trekking and hiking on several tracks leading through thinning forests. The hill station got its name from the five hills which surround it. There are also a few more attractions in Panchgani for tourists to enjoy.
32 km from Mahabaleshwar, Wai has the epithetic name “Dakshin Kashi”. In old times, it was known as Virat Nagari. Wai is known in Maharashtra for its ghats on the banks of the Krishna River and the temples, including especially the “Dholya Ganapati” temple on the “Ganapati Ghat”.
Things to do in Mahabaleshwar: The strawberry capital, Mahabaleshwar, boasts off a fairly good list of things to do that incorporate variety in activities and sightseeing. With its picturesque sights, misty cascading waterfalls, hidden trails and lovely farms growing berries, this hill station forms a paradise for nature lovers. Pack your picnic baskets and head to WilsonPoint for spectacular sunrises and sunsets or simply enjoy the rumbling of water at numerous soothing waterfalls. Shop for fresh honey or canned jams made from strawberries, mulberries and raspberries freshly grown in farms around. For a bit of history, make a visit to Pratapgad fort, which is 27 kms from Mahabaleshwar or choose to visit nearby hill station Panchgani to pick some fresh berries and enjoy stunning scenes.
Best Time to Visit Mahabaleshwar: Mahabaleshwar is an all year-round destination.
The closest airport is Lohegaon Airport in Pune and is located at a distance of 80 kms from Mahabaleshwar. You can also get to Mahabaleshwar from Mumbai’s International Airport, Chatrapati Shivaji (160 kms away). From the respective airports one can hire a taxi or avail the bus service to get to Mahabaleshwar.
You can reach Mahabaleshwar via rail too. The nearest railhead is Satara, at a distance of 47km. There is another railhead located at Wathar (60 kms). One can reach Mahabaleshwar via Pune (120 kms) as it boasts of an efficient rail network. Get off at the railway station and catch a taxi for Mahabaleshwar.
Mahabaleshwar is well connected by road from Mumbai as well as Pune. Maharashtra State Road Transport provides bus services to all the nearby cities of Pune, Mumbai, Nasik, Satara, Panchgani and Kolhapur. Driving down to Mahabaleshwar from the neighbouring cities of Alibagh, Adavali, Pune, Nasik, Panchgani is a good option. Private and shared cabs/taxis can also be hired from Mumbai and Pune.
Where to stay ?
Being a popular hill station, Mahabaleshwar has a number of accommodation options. Some are:
Regal Hotel: +91– 02168- 260001-3 Website: www.hotelregal.com
Hotel Dreamland: +91-02168-260228, 260060 Website: www.hoteldreamland.com
Hotel Sai Regency: +91-02168- 260 157
Hotel Anupam: +91- 094 20 999690
Note : Phone numbers given above are according to the information available with us. If you find any contact number/s given above is/are incorrect or not in use, please let us know.