May 2010
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Mahabaleshwar – Strawberry fields forever, located in Maharashtra, India

State : Maharashtra
Distance : 245km SE of Mumbai via Poladpur and 120km from Pune.
Journey time : 6.5 hrs by road from Mumbai and around 3hrs from Pune.
Best time to go : September to May. Mahabaleshwar is fair weather virtually round the year. However, roads can get dangerous during the monsoon, and most buses and tour operators suspend their services at this time.

How to reach Mahabaleshwar

By Air
Pune, located at a distance of 120 km is the nearest airport. If you plan to travel to Mahabaleshwar by air, you can board a flight till Pune, and then easily avail a bus, taxi or a private car from the Pune airport. The airport has various facilities within its premises for tourists traveling to the place. State operated buses are also easily available from Pune. Even private tour-operators provide luxury/ non- luxury bus services to Mahabaleshwar. You can even hire a vehicle of your choice from the airport, for the entire duration of your stay.

By Train
The nearest railhead from Mahabaleshwar is Wather, located at a distance of 62 km from the city. But if you choose to travel to Mahabaleshwar by train, the Pune railhead, located at a distance of 120 km, is comparatively more convenient than the Wather station, because of its better connectivity to Mahabaleshwar. People traveling by train can get down at the Pune railway station to reach Mahabaleshwar. Private tour operators provide buses, mini-buses, taxis, etc, which are easily available for tourists outside the Pune station. One can also avail the state-operated buses that shuttle between Pune and Mahabaleshwar.

By Road
From Mumbai, Mahabaleshwar is 285 km (via Pune route) and the distance is about 247 km (via Mahad route). There are regular state-operated buses that travel to Mahabaleshwar from the nearby cities of Pune and Mumbai. Private tour operators also provide various luxury/ non-luxury, AC/Non-AC, Deluxe and Volvo buses and other vehicles to and from Mahabaleshwar. You can even drive your own vehicle to Mahabaleshwar, enjoying its idyllic beauty, as the roads are excellent. It takes around 5 hrs to reach Mahabaleshwar from Mumbai by road.

Location of Mahabaleshwar on Google Maps:

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An evergreen plateau located amidst the Western Ghats of the Sahyadri mountain range, Mahabaleshwar is one of the largest hill stations in the state of Maharashtra. With its resplendent valleys, cascading waterfalls, placid lakes, ancient temples, cobbled streets and large vistas of greenery, Mahabaleshwar is a home to various spots of instantaneous tourist attractions. Be it the spectacular lookout points or the spiritual ardor in its air, Mahabaleshwar remains one of the most popular hill resorts of India. Here are some of the hot-spots that can be included in the sightseeing tours of the place.

Mahabaleshwar is known as the Queen of Hills in Maharashtra. Mahabaleshwar near Pune is a very popular town located at an altitude of 1,372 meters. The steep hills and green valleys of Mahabaleshwar are a retreat from the chaos and pollutions of Mumbai and Pune. The town was originally established as the health resort in 1829 A.D. The town is marked with neat bungalows and ancient churches. It was in the 19th century, that the sanatorium was established along with an open jail reformatory center. Prisoners from China and Malaysia were kept in this place. They had to construct roads, grind corn flour, and maintain potato farms and other vegetable gardens in the English resorts. At present you will find, the Public Works Department bungalow at the location of the prison.

Well known for its strawberries and Chikki, Mahabaleshwarenchants many religious tourists as well. Mahabaleshwar is the starting point of 5 important rivers, the Krishna, Koyna, Savitri, Veena and Gayatri, which are regarded as holy rivers in the country.

Tourist Attractions in and around Mahabaleshwar

– Arthur’s Seat Point : It is an exotic and picturesque spot, overlooking the konkan. On the way to Arthur’s point are the ancient Temples of Lord Shiva, ‘Gau-Mukha’ – Connected to a source of water.
– Lodwick Point : Located at an altitude of 1,240 m, it is named after General Lodwick, who is said to have been the first to set foot on this point in 1824. A monument has been erected there in his memory by his son.
– Elphinstone Point : Named after a Governor of Mumbai, Sir Elphinstone, it was discovered by Dr. Murray in the early 18th century. A great spot for picnicking, it bears a resemblance to an elephant’s head and trunk, if seen from the Lodwick Point.
– Wilson’s Point : It is the highest point in Mahabaleshwar, thus offering you the best view, at an altitude of 1,435 m. With three observation towers erected here, it is the best place to catch the sunrise, and hence has also been called the Sunrise Point.
– Mahabaleshwar Temple : The hill station derives its name from the presiding deity “Mahabali”, of this famous Hindu temple. Dedicated to Lord Shiva, the temple is girdled by a five feet tall stone wall on its sides and is divided into a God-chamber and a central hall.
– Waterfalls : These gurgling waterfalls heighten the beauty of the place and are a source of instant attractions among the tourists. Lingmala waterfall flows down a steep hill and provides an enthralling effect with its illuminating silver water. Dhobi and the Chinaman’s waterfalls are two other major waterfalls and picnic spots, and are at their best during the monsoons.
– Venna Lake : With a length of 2.5 m and the availability of boating and fishing facilities, the lake allows people to enjoy the placidness of its water, while feasting on nature’s bounty. There are also strawberry stalls that surround the place, with ponies trotting nearby.
– The Krishnabai Temple : One of the temples in the complex– was built during the Yadava Dynasty by Raja Singham in the 13th Century AD. It was renovated and improved by the Mores of Jaoli. Shivaji and his mother Jijabai are thought to have visited Mahabaleshwar to seek spiritual advice from a learned Brahmin living there.
– Connaught Peak: Ht 1385 m Distance 3.5 km. A beautiful carpet of evergreen forest is seen from this point. The view of Mahabaleshwar town is scenic. Sunsets are a big attraction here.
– Kate’s Point: Ht 1290 m Distance 6.8 km. The view is clear and magnificent during winter when the skies are clear and the Dhom dam (which it overlooks) is full. One can also spot Kamalgadh, Pandavgadh and Mandardeo peaks.
– Pratapgad Fort : Around 25kms from mahabaleshwar, a serpentine, steep mountain road leads to Pratapgad from Mahabaleshwar on the Poladpur side, built by Chhatrapati Shivaji in 1656. History was created at this fort when Shivaji met with Afzal Khan, the Sardar of Bijapur.
– Beckwith Monument: The Sir Sydney Beckwith Monument is just near the Government Hospital. An obelisk about 10 m in height, it is situated about 1500 m above sea level. A weather observatory is situated near it.
– Panchaganga Temple : Panchaganga means five rivers, which according to Hindu mythology are the holy rivers of Krishna, Venna, Koyna, Savitri and Gayatri, which flow nearby. While the shrines situated here date back to the prehistoric period, the temple itself was built in the 13th century by a Yadav King, and was further restored in the 16th century and then in the 19th century.
– Hanuman Mandir : This temple also has the Samadhi of the 16th century sage Sant Rama Dassa.
– Catholic Church : This church is not a place of architectural significance and is in ruins, yet it is worth a visit for its magnificent stained glass windows.
– Mount Malcolm : This is another building of significance from the early 18th century, primarily due to its architecture, unfortunately it has lost much of its charm today.
– Morarji Castle : It is where Gandhiji stayed for a while in 1945.
– Panchgani : It is another hill resort just 19kms from Mahabaleshwar. You could go here for a day trip and enjoy views from Sidney Point, Parsi Point and the Graves Point, and have lunch at one of the excellent Parsi restaurants there.

Other Activities

– Boating : To do some boating head to the Venna Lake, 25 acres in size and a favorite place for some fishing too.
– Outdoor Activities : Bird watchers can spend hours in the open with their binoculars and bird books. Horse riding is another excellent outdoor activity, as is trekking and hiking in the forest.
– Shopping : The market at Mahabaleshwar offers you a wide variety of items ranging from clothes to footwear and food. The one thing the region is famous for is its pure unadulterated honey. The fruits and vegetables grown here are no less enticing; strawberry jam and preserve being another favorite buy.

Places to stay in Mahabaleshwar

– Ramsukh Resorts
– MTDC Holiday Resort Mahabaleshwar
– Brightland Holiday Village
– Sherwood Resort
– Ishwar Inn Resort
– Pratap Heritage
– Hotel Shreyas

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