Mahabaleshwar is the largest hill station in the state of Maharashtra in India. The word 'Mahabaleshwar' is Sanskrit word, which means 'God of Great Power. In 1828, Sir John Malcolm, Governor of Bombay, chose this beautiful spot as the site for the official sanatorium. Soon after, the wooded slopes were covered with typical colonial structures, among them Christ Church, Frere Hall, Government House (which was the grand residence of the governor), the Mahabaleshwar Club and the ever-popular polo grounds and race course. Mahabaleshwar has a rich flora and fauna. The place is rich with plantations of strawberries, raspberries goose berries, red potatoes, french beans, beets, salad, carrots etc.
Mahabaleshwar Quick facts
Mahabaleshwar Geography and Climate
Geography : Mahabaleshwar lies in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra around lake Venna, which is a very popular destination for boating. It is a vast green plateau of about 150 sq. kms which is about 4500 feet above sea level. Climate: Never too hot because of the heights. Never too cold bacause of the nearness to the Arabian sea. Duration of higher temperature is short. The climate tends to be damp and extremely wet during the rainy season.
Best time to visit Mahabaleshwar
Best time to visit Mahabaleshwar is October to June and best time to visit Panchgani is September to May. Except for the rainy season, Mahabaleshwar is packed with people and honeymooners looking for a cool getaway.
The largest hill station in Maharashtra, Mahabaleshwar has an altitude of 1438 m (4710 ft) at the Wilson or generally called Sunrise Point. Not only famous as a hill station, it is even more revered because of the ancient Mahabaleswar Temple that is dedicated to Lord Shiva. And being an important pilgrimage site of the Hindus and a beautiful hill station, Mahabaleshwar is a noteworthy place on the chart of travel and tourism in India. The area, which has historical connections with Shivaji, was founded in 1828 by Sir John 'Boy' Malcolm, a governor with the British East India Company. And Mahabaleshwar was originally called Malcolmpeth. Before Switzerland entered the picture in Hindi film routines, Mahabaleshwar's lake and pathways were also a preferred choice for the Chopras and Desais of Bollywood.
Mahabaleshwar Near Getaways
Panchgani (near gateway to Mahabaleshwar): About 19 km, from Mahableshwar lies the hill station of Panchgani. It is surrounded on all sides by hills and is very popular with tourist owing to its close proximity to Mahabaleshwar. Panchgani is known for its strawberry and raspberry farms. Visitors to Mahabaleshwar almost always come to Panchgani to make the most of their holiday in the hills. Satara (near to Mahabaleshwar) : Satara is a town located in the Satara District of Maharashtra state of India. The name is derived from the seven (sat) hills (tara) surrounding the town. The main rivers of Satara district are Koyna and Krishna. The Krishna is one of the three largest sacred rivers of southern India. Approximately 172 km of the river course falls inside the district. The Krishna river begins on the eastern brow of the Mahabaleshwar plateau and the source is about 4500 ft. above sea level. Table Land (getaway from Panchgani): The Table Land, which is one of the favourite and popular getaways from Panchgani, offers a panoramic view of Panchgani. It is a favourite playground of school children and also the place for horsewallahs to give their customers a ride. Several Bollywood and regional movies have been shot, taking advantage of the unique location and looks of this plateau. Devil's Kitchen, situated to the south of Tableland, is also a place of mythological interest. Legend has it that the Pandavas stayed here for a while and used this place to cook their food.
Nestling in the curvaceous mountain ranges of the western ghats of Maharashtra are the cool misty resorts of Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani. Mahabaleswar is the state's largest hill station that sprawls over an area of 150 sq km.
How to reach Mahabaleshwar by Road
From Bombay via Pune, Mahabaleshwar is 290 km and via Mahad it is 247 km. The State Transport buses ply from Bombay and Pune to Mahabaleshwar. MTDC operates daily bus services except during the monsoon, between Bombay-Mahabaleshwar-Bombay. From Bombay via Pune, Panchgani is 270 km and via Mahad 266 km, from Pune 98 kilometers and from Mahabaleshwar 19 km. The State Road Transport buses ply from Satara, Pune, Wai, Mahabaleshwar and Mahad. MTDC runs a regular bus service between Bombay and Panchgani.
How to reach Mahabaleshwar by Rail
For Mahabaleshwar, the nearest railhead is Wathar (62 km) but Pune (120 km) is the convenient railhead. For Panchgani, the nearest railhead is Wathar (45 km). Bombay-Wathar via Pune (312 km). Pune-Wathar (120 km)
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How to reach Mahabaleshwar by Air
Pune is the nearest airport both for Mahabaleshwar (120 km and Panchgani 98 km )
Mahabaleshwar Festivals and culture
Almost all the festivals celebrated by Hindu, Christian and Muslims are celebrated by people here with lots of enthusiasm. Some of the main festivals are: Gudhi Padava, Ganesh Chaturthi, Holi, Diwali, Christmas, etc,. Gudhi Padava : Maharashtran New Year's Day is celebrated on the first day of the Hindu month Chaitra ( March-April). This festival is known as the Gudhi Padava in Maharshtra. This day marks the start of the Hindu solar year. Ganesh Chaturthi : The most important and popular festival of Maharashtra, Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in the month of August - September. This festival marks the birth anniversary of Ganesha, the Hindu god of wisdom. Idols of Ganesha are installed and detailed arrangements are made for lighting and decoration. The festival is held for 7-10 days. The idols of Ganesha are immersed in the ocean or rivers, where thousands of processions meet. The immersion of idols is accompanied by drumbeats, devotional songs and dancing. This marks the end of the festival.
Maharashtrian culture, with all its colorful customs, rituals and traditions. The song, music and dance that accompany almost every festive occasion add joy and excitement to the lives of the people from every walk of life.
Mahabaleshwar Religious Places
Mahabaleswar Temple : The Mahabaleshwar Temple has Lord Shiva as its presiding deity. The temple is encircled with a 5 ft high stone wall. The Mahabaleshwar hills were named after Lord Mahabali which means great strength. Panchganga Temple: Old Mahabaleshwar, where the famous temple Panchganga is located. It is of great important to the river Krishna where the river originates from here. Catholic Church : Visit the Roman Catholic Holy Cross Church, one of the souvenirs of the prosperous yore of Mahabaleshwar. The church is almost in rumbles but the stained glass windows are beautiful. A Hindu family looks after the deserted church.
Pratapgad Fort : Pratapgadh is truly a place to visit and remember the heroic deeds of Shivaji Maharaj. As Pratapgadh is very close to Mahabaleshwar, it is always crowded. The 45 minutes journey is wonderful. Pratapgad Fort which is 24 kms, away is a place worth visiting. It was built by Shivaji in 1656. The height of the fort is almost 3500 feet. It was built to control the rebellious Satraps of the surrounding Javali Basin. Legend has it that Shivaji was blessed with a shining sword at the temple of Goddess Bhawani here. It was the site of the famous battle between the Maratha chieftain Chhatrapati Shivaji and Afzal Khan, the commander of the Bijapur Sultanate.
Mahabaleshwar Entertainment and Night Life
Panchgani is also an ideal base for some good trekking from where one can explore several mule tracks that lead through the now thinning forests. Sporting in Krishna river stream with the beautiful natural surrounding is a wonderful experience in itself.
Mahabaleshwar Club : The club was built in 1881 and is still flourishing and well maintained. Only members of the club can stay here. It is very popular for its well-tended roses and lovely jogging track. Christmas is grandly celebrated by loyal members every year. Fortunately , one facility is open to visitors; who can use the golf-course whenever they feel like.
Kidding around Mahabaleshwar
Venna Lake is a major attraction of Mahabaleshwar which provides good fishing and boating facilities. Waterfalls like Chairman and Dhobi are perfect places for picnics. The calm surroundings and the exotic waterfalls offer a perfect holiday spot.
Mahabaleshwar is known for the different kinds of berries it produces, such as strawberries, gooseberries and raspberries. So, don't miss buying these fresh fruits and also their jams, preserves and marmalades. Apart from these, the leather goods and tribal trinkets of this place are very popular. The bazaars of this lovely hill station are bustling and alive offering everything from clothes to slippers and gift items.
Famous To Eat at Mahabaleshwar
Mahabaleshwar is famous for honey and chikki (a local specialty)and for fruits like strawberries, raspberries, goose berries & mulberries. It is also famous for vegetables like red potatoes; french beans, beets, salad, carrots, and radishes.
Mahabaleshwar Museum and Hill Stations
View points: There are around 30 valley view points spread around the hill stations , these are excellent areas for leisurely walks and to enjoy the breathtaking natural beauty. Arthur Seat : Arthur's Seat is renowned as the Queen of all points. The Arthur's seat is the only geographical feature that divides Kokan & Desh, two territories of Mahabaleshwar, clearly. There is the barren deep valley of Savitri to its left and shallow green valley to its right. There is also a spring nearby called the Tiger's Spring, which supposed to be the source of the river. 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. Panchgani - Hill Station: Panchgani is situated 20 kms East of Mahabaleshwar and spreads out over five hills. Panchghani has derived its name from the mountains it houses. To explore the beauty of Panchghani Maharashtra, take a ride on a pony, or hire a bicycle or a taxi. The view of River Krishna is one of the most enchanting views that one can witness while staying at Maharashtra Panchghani. One can access this hill station quite easily from Mumbai or Pune. The best time to go to Panchghani is September-May. Nature, at this time is in full bloom and enhances the attraction of the place.
Gardens and Parks at Mahabaleshwar
The strawberry gardens are located on the sprawling expanse below the lake bund along the Mahabaleshwar - Panchgani Road. Polo grounds : Often been used as a helipad, also used for learning car driving. Pratapsingh Forest Park: Pratapsingh Forest Park is situated near the Venna lake. There is a thick jungle covering an area of 5 Sq.km. There is a Forest Research Station, a forest museum and a delightful playground for kids. This is a beautiful spot for honeymooners.
Lake at Mahabaleshwar
Venna Lake: The Venna lake is sprawled over a huge area of 25 acres. It is a major attraction for tourists coming to Mahabaleshwar. The lake provides boating and fishing facilities, especially the boating experience on the Venna Lake is an unforgettable experience. Waterfalls: Mahabaleshwar has many beautiful waterfalls, having their own charm. Some of the popular waterfalls are the Lingmala, Chairman and Dhobi. Lingmala Falls is close to Venna lake situated on the way to Panchgani. The Lingmala Lake is an enthralling lake presenting sights of flowing water as it scatters from the top of a steep cliff into thin silver streaks, often encircled by rainbow colors. Other waterfalls, Chairman and Dhobi are favorite picnic spots. The calm surroundings and the exotic waterfalls offer a perfect holiday spot. The Chairman waterfall can be reached by the Carviali Road whereas the Dhobi waterfall is on a bridle path connecting Petit Road with Old Mahabaleshwar Road. Panchganga :
Mahabaleshwar Travel Tips
A good way to explore Mahabaleshwar is on horseback, for the streets are fairly narrow. To explore the beauty of Panchghani Maharashtra, take a ride on a pony, or hire a bicycle or a taxi. Strawberries are Mahabaleshwar's favourite export. Eat them whole, or in shakes, jams and crushes.
Mahabaleshwar Tourist Offices
Tourist Bureau Tel: 260271
Banking 1. State bank of India Tel: 260297 2. Bank of Maharashtra Tel: 260290 3. Union Bank of India Tel: 260413
Must do at Mahabaleshwar
The point of the five rivers (Krishna, Koyna, Savitri, Veena and Gayatri) that gush over the Deccan Plateau presents a remarkable sight, should not to be missed.