Old Mahabaleshwar was first discovered by King Singhan who constructed the famous Mahabaleshwar Temple here. The 17th Century saw Shivaji Maharaj occupy this area, who built the iconic Pratapgad Fort here. Mahabaleshwar later went into the hands of the Britishers around 1819. Soon enough, the present Mahabaleshwar which we have all come to know was discovered and went by the name – Malcolm Peth.
Mahabaleshwar is a popular hill station that lies in the Satara District of Maharashtra. Located in the gorgeous Western Ghats, it is one of the very few evergreen spots in the world. Like many of the other hill stations, Mahabaleshwar too served as a summer get away for the Britishers during the uncomfortable scorching summer periods.
Mahabaleshwar literally translates to ‘God of Great Power’. It is also popularly called the ‘Land of Five Rivers' at it is at this point that the rivers Venna, Gayatri, Savitri, Koyna and Krishna originate.
Situated at a dizzying altitude of around 4,718 feet, this tourist destination covers a small expanse of around 150 sq km. It is close to the major metros Mumbai and Pune, 264 km and 117 km away respectively; thus serving as a perfect retreat from the crazy city life.
Surreal Viewpoints, Bewitching Views - Tourist places in and around Mahabaleshwar
Mahabaleshwar provides a host of fantastic sights to the tune of 30 viewpoints. Valleys, forests, waterfalls, rivers, and the flora and fauna – this place will leave you breathless. The Wilson Point, or the Sunrise Point is the highest point in the area. The Connaught Peak comes a close second, offering you a spectacular view of the nearby horizon. The Arthur’s Seat is named after Arthur Malet, who is supposedly the first person ever to build a home here. The Echo Point is any kids favourite where you can scream your lungs out and have it echoed back at you from hills, far and away.
The Elphinstone Point, Marjorie Point, Castle Rock are a few other points that one must not miss, while in Mahabaleshwar. Some more points are the Babington Point, Falkland Point, Carnac Point and Bombay Point that offer a panoramic view of the surroundings. Don’t forget to check out the legendary Pratapgad Fort built by our very own Shivaji Maharaj.
Mahabaleshwar is also home to a few ancient temples, with the Mahabaleshwar Temple situated in Old Mahabaleshwar, as the most astounding one. The Venna Lake is another major attraction in the vicinity.
Mahabaleshwar - The 'Green' Side
The forests of Mahabaleshwar are replete with precious medicinal and ayurvedic plants. The fauna consists of the Bulbul, Foxes, Deers and Bisons. The climate at Mahabaleshwar is supposed to be so pure and abundant with fresh air that patients recuperating from their health are advised to spend their time here, to recover better and sooner.
The fact that Mahabaleshwar is perched up in the hills prevents it from the scorching summer. The climate in this place is dulcet and inviting all year long. With the summers neither being too hot and the winters never being too cold. As with any other hill station, the monsoons make for the best time to visit this place. The rains transform this place into a heavenly abode, replete with fresh greenery and gushing waterfalls all around you.
An interesting fact about Mahabaleshwar – this plateau served as a prison for Chinese and Malay convicts for three decades in the 1800s. The strawberries that Mahabaleshwar is so famous for today, owes it to these prisoners who first inititated its cultivation amongst other items like weaving bamboo baskets and growing red potatoes. You cannot go to Mahabaleshwar and not try out the strawberry and mulberry products available there. The ‘Strawberry with Cream’ is an absolute must try!
How to reach Mahabaleshwar
Mahabaleshwar has an excellent network of airways, roadways and railways. If travelling by air, one will have to alight at the Pune Airport and take a cab till Mahabaleshwar. Trains are another option that shall drop you at Wathar station, a place close to the hill station. However, if you live within Maharashtra and travelling from cities like Mumbai and Pune, driving down to this place is the best option available. The roads are beautiful and the journey will memorable. You can also opt for buses from your respective cities.
Mahabaleshwar - A Tourist's Paradise
Mahabaleshwar is a tourists' paradise. Everyone deserves a break after a hectic week of monotonous work. Pack your bags and drive down to Mahabaleshwar. Let the cool air and the bewitching sites seduce you into a pleasurable relaxation. Whether you are visiting the place for the first time, or are a frequent traveller, Mahabaleshwar will continue to surprise you every time you come here. It is unpardonable to miss out on the delicious get away this hill station is.
Mahabaleshwar is blessed with a dulcet, moderate climate throughout the year.