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Home > Discover Mumbai > Sightseeing > Maharashtra > Hill Stations
Mahabaleshwar Beckons...

Mahabaleshwar is 247 kms away from the city and is the best place to get away in the summer from the heat and pollution of Mumbai. This famous hill station of Mahabaleshwar is surrounded by hills and thick forests.

Needle Point
Photofeature

Situated at a height of 1372 m, Mahabaleshwar is one of the most popular and picturesque hill resorts of Maharashtra. It is virtually a paradise for tourists. The summers are cool compared to the city and there is a nip in the air in the winters. During the monsoons, most of the hoteliers pull down their shutters and head for the city. People ready to brave the torrential rain and enjoy the thick fog at this time of the year head for Mahabaleshwar. In fact, it receives the highest rainfall in Maharashtra. Barely a handful of hotels remain open for business at this time. Warm clothes are a must during the cold winters and monsoons, when even the bedding can be damp.

A young girl viewing landscape through a telescope at Arthur Point MahabaleshwarThe Sunset Point is unique to the hill station. During the day, lovers of water sports can spend time boating and fishing in the Venna Lake. The evening finds the lake crowded with tourists waiting for their turn to get into a boat. Riding enthusiasts can go trotting up and down the hills, hiring a horse for the whole day to visit the scenic points, or just for an hour of pleasure riding. Stalls having games like nine pins and video games dot the lakeside. Less than a kilometer away from Venna lake is the Hindu Gymkhana, where people of all religions are welcome to play a game of tennis, billiards or for that matter even carom, for a nominal fee. Youngsters can have fun skating round the rink here.

Venna LakeBeing surrounded by hills makes Mahabaleshwar a perfect location for die-hard trekkers. The hill station provides trekking routes to forts like Makarandgad and Pratapgad - the fort where Shivaji outwitted Afzalkhan. A trip to the Lingmala, the Dhobi and the Chinamen waterfalls is a must for people visiting the place for the first time. Mahabaleshwar has a bazaar where everything from Mahabaleshwar chappals to jams and jellies are available.

Carrot seller at MahabaleshwarMajor attractions of this hill station are the ice creams and fresh milkshakes made from strawberries freshly plucked from the farms nearby. Steaming hot corn patties with the spicy green chutney accompanying it is a must in the cold Mahabaleshwar climate. Mahabaleshwar is rich with exotic flora and fauna making it a popular learning ground for budding and amateur botanists.

In the 13th century, the Yadav sovereign, King Singhan built a temple dedicated to Lord Mahadev at the confluence site of five holy rivers (Panch Ganga) viz. Koyna, Krishna, Savitri, Gayatri and Veena. It is from this temple that the place derives its name ‘Mahabaleshwar'. Majestic mansions in the hill station bear testimony to the fact that it was a favourite retreat of the Gora Saheb and his family (during British Raj), who would often spend some time here to escape from the sweltering tropical summers.

Dam construction activity at MahabaleshwarPLACES OF INTEREST: Venna Lake, Crystal waterfalls, Polo ground and hill points for views. The bazaar for strawberries, blackberries, jams, jellies, honey and leather articles. A visit to Tapola is a must for water sports.

EATING OUT: Most of the hotels in Mahabaleshwar include morning breakfast, lunch and dinner in their tariff. However you can take your pick of the many restaurants in the bazaar.

STAYING OUT: Hotels to suit every budget and pocket are available in Mahabaleshwar/Panchgani. The famous ones are Hotel Dreamland and Hotel Rajesh located in the heart of Mahabaleshwar and Valley View Resort/Hotel Gautam which are slightly out of town. The best hotels like Dena, Raceview and Fredrick offer a fabulous view of the lake Venna.

TRAVEL TIPS: Try visiting Mahabaleshwar in the off season, mainly during January-March and June-July to get the best bargains from the hotels. Refuel your vehicle at Mahad while coming from Mumbai and at Wai while coming from Pune as petrol pumps at Mahableshwar/Panchgani go dry with the weekend rush. Check the water level and car condition before climbing the ghats. Bargain at the bazaar before buying anything.

Pics by: Vinayak Prabhu


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