Marvellous Mahabaleshwar

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A Scenic View Captured while travelling towards Mahabaleshwar from Panchgani (20 kms. from Mahabaleshwar)
The April heat has started soaring to a new peak - all credits to the global warming and our ever-negligent attitude towards the issues pertaining to the climate change. The people of Mumbai have already started to soak themselves into the streams of their own sweat and the people of Pune are steadily blaming the climate Gods for being so harsh on them. Given such ruthless climatic conditions here in summer, there is nothing else than Mahabaleshwar that I could think of. Our trip in April, last year to this glorious and world-renowned hill station is still vividly green in my mind.

It was our first visit to Mahabaleshwar. It was a long weekend and we had a perfect plan for an early morning travel from Pune to the hill station. Mahabaleshwar is merely 120 kms. from Pune and approximately 290 kms. from Mumbai. Commutation is not a major problem if you are a resident of either of these two cities. Nevertheless, Mahabaleshwar is strongly connected by road to various parts of Maharashtra. The MSRTC, state transport buses ply between Pune and Mahabaleshwar almost as frequent as forty five minutes. The private luxury and volvo buses are always ready to serve you in case you happen to miss any of your scheduled vehicle. We chose to take the state transport bus from Pune.

Our journey began at 8:00 AM from the Shivajinagar bus station, Pune. A couple of hours later, we reached a place called Vaai. It is one of the most famous rural destinations of Maharashtra. The fresh smell of the recently cut crops was steadily oozing through the window and enchanting my mind. I had a look all around the road that we were continuously leaving behind. The serenity of the green farms on either side of the road was dragging me close to the nature's bust. The elevations of the roads was making me feel that we were actually climbing a mountain. We continued to struggle towards gravity leaving behind the breath-taking views of the valleys on our right. Just then, I was completely amazed to see a couple of parachute gliders flying just beside our bus.

Our journey continued to progress as our bus halted at Paachgani. Paachgani is well-known for a varied reasons - boarding schools, it's scenic beauty, para-gliding clubs etc. But it is the ever cool climate of this place that drags most of the tourists to Paachgani. Mahabaleshwar is roughly 20-25 kms. from Paachgani. We decided to spend some time here during our return from Mahabaleshwar.

After a three hour drive, we reached Mahabaleshwar. Being a place of tourist attraction, it wasn't so hard to find a hotel. Mahabaleshwar has accommodation options to suit every budget. However, tariffs and rentals tend to rise during peak seasons and long weekends. After lunch, we decided to reserve a tourist vehicle for the local sight seeing. It is not very difficult to locate the cab reservation counters for tourists. Most of the cabs follow the fixed-price package policy and would give you a clear demonstration of the places that would be covered under a specific package. I kinda like such practices wherein the chances of the tourist getting cheated are ruled out. We hired a cab and here we started our trip. The hill station has several breath-taking views each of them are known as a 'point'. Every point has it's own significance and scenic beauty. Since, it was summer time, the greenery had started to fade away but the view remained unaltered. The needle-hole point was something that intrigued me. The spot had acquired it's name due to a small cavity between two huge rocky mountains. Similarly, the Arthur point has it's very own significance and history. It is being said that King Arthur used to sit on this rock and stared at the river bed for hours in the memories of his beloved who had died at that location.

The Venna Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen in my life. If you decide to spend a relaxed afternoon time at this lake, you may like to opt for a boat ride for yourself and your loved ones. Just beside the lake, you may like to try out some adventures with a horse ride. We decided to spend our evening at the Sunset point which was one of the best sunset spots I have ever been in my life. At times, the crowd that had gathered to watch the sunset in large numbers turned me down, but I promise that the majestic view of the setting sun from this place will definitely force you to forget the world around you.

Places gaining their names from the famous temples is a very striking feature of most of the places all over India. On similar tracks, this place has adopted the name Mahabaleshwar from the old Ateebaleshwar or Mahabaleshwar temple. In the local language Marathi, the word 'Mahabaleshwar' literally means - the God with immense strength. Interestingly, the glorious history of this beautiful place can be tracked as back as year 1200.

On the second day of our stay at Mahabaleshwar, we decided to do some shopping. Sometimes I spontaneously think of Mahabaleshwar whenever I see strawberries. In other words, Mahabaleshwar is the land of strawberries. On very single step ahead in the market, you'd come across a strawberry seller flaunting bunches of freshest strawberry. As a matter of fact, these sellers are most of the times, actual strawberry farmers. I had never had such juicy and sweet strawberries ever in my life. Neither had I seen such a huge strawberry market ever before in my life. I nearly gulped 50-60 strawberries in a single day and I believe that it is still not my best.

Pleasant climatic condition has boosted fruit production in this area. The production of strawberries, raspberries and gooseberries has given rise to several fruit crush and pulp manufacturing industries. The Bagicha restaurant just on the outskirts of the main market is worth trying. You may also opt to buy a few bottles of fresh squash and crush here. Besides the restaurant also treats you a variety of falooda and other fruit drinks. I am sure that you would not forget to clean the glass off the last drop.

Hill stations such as Mahabaleshwar have always been great hangouts and a short-lived rescue from the soaring heat in our cities. It is a hard fact that every place on earth is under the threat of Global warming. Places like Mahabaleshwar are definitely refreshing and soothing but to safeguard their sanctity and serenity is what I feel is the need of the day.

33 comments :

  1. Wonderful pics! Thanks for sharing :)

    "The April heat has started soaring to a new peak - all credits to the global warming and our ever-negligent attitude towards the issues pertaining to the climate change."

    Just wait for the backlash of nature. In our arrogance we as a species have forgotten to bow our head in front of mother nature. Instead we are going about our job - of cutting trees, destroying forests and other flora and fauna, polluting water-bodies indiscriminately... as if there is no tomorrow.

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  2. It is indeed a wonderful place..I had gone during last summer..here is my account
    http://opinionsandexpressions.wordpress.com/2009/06/29/summer-vacation-trip-part-3/

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  3. A nice and informative account of Mahabaleshwar. Wud luv to go there esp for strawberries ;)

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  4. @Roshmi, My pleasure... Really feels so bad about the deforestation

    @Reema, Sure

    @Abha, I am sure you'd love them... :)

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  5. I stayed in a boarding school in Panchgani for three years. I always remember Mahabaleshwar and PAnchgani as an abode of strawberries, Mapro jams and jellies, and extremely heavy downpours during the monsoon.
    Its been almost 14 years since my stay there.
    Brought back some memories.

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  6. Its been so long since I went to mahabaleshwar that I don't even remember when I went! But this is a good account, makes me wanna go back to Mahabaleshwar!

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  7. I first visited M'shwar in 1985. Over the years, I have learnt to avoid the crowds and visit the unknown quiet places. Like the lesser known temple of Krishna (the river) or the even lesser known Koteshwar temple at Avkali.

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  8. @Vyazz, Three years is an awesome stretch of time. I am sure you would have enjoyed your time to the fullest. Sorry for making you so nostalgic :)

    @Nishant, I think you must plan another visit to the land of strawberries :)

    @Puchkaraj, I agree with you. Crowds sometimes create real mess. How can I forget my recent visit to Matheran for this. Nevertheless, that's a pretty long and sad story :( Christmas vacations must be planned in advance to avoid unwelcome surprises. The places you have mentioned must be truly lesser known among tourists - will plan to visit them sometime! Thanks for updating my knowledge buddy!

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  9. Its gr8 during the monsoons.

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  10. Woah.. Mahabaleshwar! I am sure you had a superb time!

    At the same time, it is sad to see that such hill stations are also falling prey to climate change with soaring temperatures.

    By the way, don't you find the Venna Lake actually serene and gorgeous? :)

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  11. Wonderful and detailed travelogue! Thanks for all the information along with the photos! Strawberries look awesome too. Look forward for many more travelogues.

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  12. @Parth, Bitter and hard truth sir!
    Indeed, it was a remarkable time...

    @Mohan, My pleasure friend! Thank you so much...

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  13. Hi Neeraj

    I must say what a timing. I was searching travel blog on Mahabaleshawar and happens to see your blog. In fact I am planning visit M'shwar next week. Was needing some specific tips on stay.
    Would suggest a nice hotel there? And also how much it cost for sight seeing? Hows the cab service?

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  14. nicely said! nothing can beat the shadows which a tree can give :D

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  16. I missed it in my last summer vacation. I heard its really a nice place.And ur post also describe its scenic beauty also. :)

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  17. Many of my friends have talked a lot about Mahabaleshwar, may be someday i will visit but your strawberry account definitely makes me add to the place to the must watch soon list :)

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  18. Hi,

    I am planning to visit Mahabaleshwar in the month of August.

    Is it good plan to visit mahabaleshwar in rainy season?

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  19. Oooohhh, I'd been there just once, and LOVED the strawberries and cream... yummm!

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  20. I loved this destination, even though i was in Mahabaleswar for 3 hours, loved the blackberry or black current rather than strawberry. Good blog on Mahabaleswar.

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  21. Visit mahabaleshwarpanchgani.com for more details about this place.
    Mahabaleshwar Panchgani Tourist Tourist Magazine.

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  22. Visit mahabaleshwarpanchgani.com for more details about this place.
    Mahabaleshwar Panchgani Tourist Magazine.

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  23. One of the best hillstation near Pune which doesn't need any introduction. A beautiful hillstation, favorite destination of many puneite at a distance of about 120 Km from Pune, Mahabaleshwar has many sub destinations like gems on a crown scattered around it. Pratapgad fort is one such gem at about 25 Km from Mahabaleshwar. places to visit in pune

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  24. We have a travel website which is a Maharashtra travel Guide in which we have a page for Mahabaleshwar with lot of information regarding the place including Mahabaleshwar Hotels. We also have a page for blogs on Mahabaleshwar. Please do let us know if you would like to feature your blog in the Mahabaleshwar Blogs page. please write to puneritraveller@gmail.com

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  25. Hotels Sai Vishwa is counted amongst the best hotels in shirdi . Being a tourist and devotee spot, Shirdi attracts many visitors. To maintain the competition it is not only necessary to provide good service but also service at a reasonable rate.Check out the budget hotels in shirdi , and you will find that our rate is not high but we are amongst the best hotels in shirdi in terms of service and satisfaction. We also take care of your accessibility and we are situated very near to the Sai Baba Temple. Amongst multiple hotels near Sai Baba temple, this is one of the best hotels that can be found amongst the many Hotels in Shirdi

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  26. 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. Tourist across the seas comes here to visit the amazing location and for many travelers who prefer to stay at budget resorts in mahabaleshwar.

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  27. Nice pictures. I really liked all. Surrounded by soaring peaks and picturesque valleys, Mahabaleshwar is truly heaven on earth. A perfect trekking destination, it takes days to completely unravel the various mysteries of this hill station. Check out all 202 top hotels in Mahabaleshwar also.

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  28. Mahabaleshwar is a popular hill station located on south of the Mumbai. You will find spectacular places to visit in Mahabaleshwar which can make your trip unforgetable one.

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  29. Nice post on Mahabaleshwar, a famous weekend getaway. Visitors need hotels for stay and there is huge range of hotels, suitable for everyone's pocket. There are even Mahabaleshwar hotels rates below 1000 with basic amenities.

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  30. Hello Neeraj, Very Nice Information getting feel like roaming in the Mahabaleshwar and eating Strawberry. Enjoyed it. :)

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  31. Amazing places of the India to visit. One can also visit the awesome pench wildlife resorts to see the attraction of Pench and jungle safari.

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  32. great article about mahabaleshwar.Mahabaleshwar best hill station to visit near pune city.
    Thanks for sharing such a great information about mahabaleshwar.
    Regards,
    www.ambetravels.in

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