Monday, January 5, 2009

Mahabaleshwar – A Beautiful Hill Station In Western Ghat



The month was May. We were all set for Goa but suddenly changed our mind to visit a cooler place to get rid of the heat. The obvious choice came Mahabaleshwar. From Mumbai VT station we hired a cab @ INR 3500 for Mahabaleshwar. Nestled in the Sahyadri hill in the Western Ghat around a beautiful lake Mahabaleshwar is quiet popular hill station in this western region. It was irritating to pay toll taxes several times through our journey from Mumbai to Mahabaleshwar, but the scenic bauty and traversing few times through long tunnels were sensational. The road also is beautifully maintained. We drove at a speed 100 – 120 Km /hour to reach Mahabaleshwar in 6 hours.


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Panchagani – En route



Before reaching Mahabaleshwar, at another beautiful spot we halted was Panchagani. It is a small and cozy hill station. We walked around Panchagani and witnessed the variety of flowers this place have. Krishna valley looks wonderful from this place. Other places to see here were Parsi point, children's park etc.



Tapola lake – En route



30 Km away from Mahabaleshwar Tapola lake is a part of Shivsagar lake. Boating for some time in this lake was really wonderful.



At Mahabaleshwar we chose to stay at MTDC Holiday Resort. Be careful of plenty of agents, who will try to dupe you to any hotel and earn some commission. It is always better to search and bargain hotel of your choice and budget.



What to see in Mahabaleshwar:



The landscape itself was wonderful, so that we enjoyed our stay here. There are different view points, beautiful falls, Venna Lake, Kshetra Mahabaleshwar and Pratapgarh Fort. Conducted tour by state tourism by bus will cover 12 points in Mahabaleshwar @ INR 100. We hired taxi to cover all these places.





Arthur seat: A famous point in Mahabaleshwar. The fantastic view of the Valley of Savitri on your left and dense Brambha Aranya forest on our right will mesmerized us. Raigad and Torana fort were also be visible due to clear weather. On our route to Arthur's point we saw Tiger spring, where people said tiger use to come to drink water, Echo point, Elphinston point.





Venna Lake: It is one of the major attraction of Mahabaleshwar constructed by Appasaheb Maharaj, king of Satara in 1842. Surrounded by the greenery and flowers, this lake is fed by the springs from the surrounding hills. Situated 2 km from the bus stand on Panchagani road, was really a wonderful experience, specially the boating.





Lingamala water fall: We saw this beautiful falls very close to Venna Lake.


Bombay Point: This spot is famous for viewing the sunset. It is also called sunset point.


Kshetra Mahabaleshwar: The name Mahabaleshwar is derived from "Mahabali" another name of lord Shiva and the temple of Mahabali is situated at 5 Km from the main city popularly known as Kshetra Mahabaleshwar.






The Panchganga temple, a Krishna temple situated at the junction of 5 rivers and considererd as a holy sangam. These five rivers are Krishna, Venna, Koyana, Savitri and Gayatri.





Pratapgarh Fort:


Though at a ruined state, this fort has very important historical significance. At 1020 meters altitude, Chatrapati Shibaji built this fort on 1656 AD. We had to climb more than 400 stairs to enter the fort. Afzal khan was killed by Shibaji at this fort. We saw Bhawani temple on our way to fort where Shibaji use to offer puja to Devi Bhabani. The Shiva temple is there on the top of the fort. The view of Konkan valley was beautiful from the top of the fort.


As a whole it was a nice place for a break in a naturally beautiful hill station to rejuvenate ourselves. For honeymooners also, this is a safe bet.



How to reach Mahabaleshwar:



The nearest railway station is Pune. Mahabaleshwar is 122 Km from Pune. You can get buses of different category @ INR 80 – 150 from Pune in 4 hours. Buses are also available from Mumbai to reach Mahabaleshwar( 237 km) in 7 hours.



From Mahabaleshwar, if you want to go Goa, you will get very comfortable Volvo buses to take you to Panaji in 10 hours night journey @ INR 1000. You can hire a car also for the same @ INR 5000.


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Where to stay at Mahabaleshwar: STD code +91 2168



Around the bus stand there are many hotels to choose from depending on the budget and choice. There are seasonal variation of tariffs in these hotles. The season in Mahabaleshwar and the best time for visiting is between April to June and in Mid September to October. Rest of the year is off season and hotel charges are usually half the normal rates. Many hotels in Mahabaleshwar remain closed in monsoon.


MTDC Holiday Resort: Ph: 260318/ 261318 DB @ INR 500 – 800; TB @ INR 850 – 1200; 4 , 8, 12, and 20 bedded rooms are also available from @ INR 1000 - 3000



Other Information:


Carry light woolens, you may require them. Don't forget to buy strawberry jam, jelly, honey, fancy sticks and sandals so special of Mahabaleshwar.


Photo attribution:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ankurp/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/krayker/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/maestra/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/54156994@N00/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/astrolondon/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/hitejas/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/abhisworld/

4 comments:

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tony said...

Mahabaleshwar's most of the distance is covered in a thick canopy of trees and riding through the woods is in itself a special experience with the fog and the clouds partially blinding you. During monsoons one would find numerous seasonal waterfalls along the way. places to visit in pune

vagabond.. said...

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

Ayesha bhilare said...

Panchgani is very beautiful place. Panchgani Market is also a point of attraction. close to the market is a table land. It is very pleasant to visit table land in the evening. We had stayed in Ravine hotel It located at the beginning of Panchgani via Wai. So easily traceable