Saturday, April 02, 2011

Explore Maharashtra : Mahabaleshwar

Up in the Clouds: Mahabaleshwar.
It was my sons idea that we travel to Mahabaleshwar for a few days. Since we had a few days in Pune, before our return back to Kuwait, we decided to check out the place since we've never been there.

We hired a car that would take us to Mahabaleshwar, and then drive us around during our stay there. This way, we wouldn't have to worry about transport.

We started early morning at around 7 a.m. The drive is around 5 hours long - most of it in the winding and dangerous looking Sayadri mountains. We had booked a hotel online so we drove straight to the hotel.

The first thing we noticed in Mahabaleshwar is Strawberries. Lots and lots of Strawberries. You find them everywhere. Perhaps it was the season in January. The first thing we did was stop by the roadside and pick up a big box of fresh strawberries. They were the best strawberries I have ever tasted; and my daughter agreed as she gobbled them up. All the restaurants serve "Strawberry Cream" as dessert. We overloaded on it during our stay there.



Strawberry Cream - Speciality in Mahabaleshwar.
Once we settled down, we decided to check out the place. All of the interesting places in Mahabaleshwar are called "points". Elephant Point, Tiger Point, Lord Wick Point etc. Since we had our own car, we could explore these "points" at our own time.

We decided to hire a guide to accompany us and he explained to us the history behind each "point". The only problem was that he spoke only in Hindi, so my wife acted as an interpreter for me.

View from Lord Wick's point.
The place is really beautiful and a trekker's dream. If I had more time, I would have certainly attempted some of the challenging treks. As it is, you still need to do a lot of walking to see most of the points, as cars are not allowed there, and I had a tough time convincing Erika (my 7-year old daughter) to trek with us.

Trail leading to Elephant Point.
Elephant Point
This place is called "Elephant Point" because the formation looks eerily like the head of an elephant - including the eyes. The views from here are truly beautiful. The day we visited, it was a bit misty so we could not really appreciate the full beauty of the Sayadri mountain range, but it was still an awe-inspiring view; and a bit scary for those suffering from Vertigo.

The majesty of Sayadri Mountain range.
From the Elephant Point, one can see the Moray Village. The village is named after Moray - who fought with Shivaji.

Moray Village.
We next drove over to the other side of the mountain, which has interesting points like Monkey Point, Tiger Point etc.

A very misty day in Mahabaleshwar.
Tiger Point
This place is called Tiger Point, because Tigers used to come here in the early morning for a fresh drink. Not sure if they still do. This lady serves the fresh water that comes out of the mountain spring. I am usually very particular about the water that I drink in India, but I did not hesitate to quench my thirst with the tasty sweet water.

Hot Treats
A little further up, you can find hot treats for those who get hungry. All fresh and tasty.

Near Monkey Point
The monkey point is another interesting point that shows off a natural rock formation, which looks somewhat like the famous 3 monkeys (see no evil, hear no evil..).

The 3 Monkey rock formation.
You can see the rock formation here in the middle of this vast mountain range. Here is a 100% crop of the center of the image.

The Three Monkey rock formation.
One of the problems in Mahabaleshwar is the very very narrow roads. Anytime 2 buses want to cross, it is a recipe for disaster, such as this one.

A close shave for the buses.
The next day, we decided to visit the nearby Tapoli lake. Tapoli lake is a man-made lake formed by the building of the Kohina Dam. We originally thought we would get to see the dam, but found out that it is around 6 hours ride by boat - something we would not be able to do.

View of the lake formed by the Kohina dam.
Tapoli lake.
Tapoli lake is referred to as the Mini Kashmir. But frankly, I was quiet disappointed as there is nothing special in this place. We took a 30 minute ride in the boat. Other than that, there is nothing else to do here. We decided to head back to Mahabaleshwar.

Road from Tapoli-Mahabaleshwar.
The roads are very picturesque - though a bit on the scary side.

Our last visit in Mahabaleshwar was the nearby Panchgini. Panchgini is famous for its international boarding schools.

An interesting place in Panchgini is Table Land. The name comes due to the natural rock formation of a flat land (that looks like a table). Panchgini has 5 such places. Since 5 means Panch in Hindi, the place is called Panchgini.

Table land in Panchgini.

Horse drawn carriages at Table Land (Panchgini)
View from Table Land overlooking Panchgini.
This is definitely a place to go and unwind (especially during the hot summers), and a place that I plan to visit many times in future.

SIDE NOTE: As I was writing this post, 90% of my mind was focused on the very tense world cup cricket match between India and Sri-Lanka. As I finish the post, I am basking in the warm glow of a world cup victory for India - watching MS Dhoni holding the trophy high up as a billion people start celebrating.









9 comments:

vaidegi j said...

this post brought back so many memories. yes, mahabaleshwar is lovely more so in jan-feb time against its peak in April May summer season.
Have been to monkey point, but got to see those 3 just here!!
The entire western ghats looks awesome, and the carrots are pretty good too. The sunset point seemed to be missing.

Cajie said...

I did not get any good pictures of the Sunset point - but we did visit it.
It was a hazy evening, and we never got to see the real sunset from the sunset point.

Anonymous said...

good one..... we visited the place without a guide..but this blog really helped to understand the details behind the names :)

Mahabaleshwar Panchgani Tourist Magzine said...

Visit mahabaleshwarpanchgani.com for more details about this place.
Mahabaleshwar Panchgani Tourist Guide offer complete info about this place.

husain haidery said...

woow .. i love dis place ..coz i study in panchgani for 3 yrs ...tat was my BEST part of my life.....

Mahabaleshwar said...

Seeing this blog reminds me of my visit to Mahabaleshwar. Thanks for sharing this interesting blog site with everyone.

Mahabaleshwar 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

Sayali Nagle said...

Brought back sweet memories of Mahabaleshwar which is my favourite spot. We visited Panchgani in August during rains and it was amazing. We were surrounded by thick fog and clouds. We enjoyed the luscious carrots, corn pattiesand the strawberries. Also it was the first time I tasted blue berries.

kumar sharma said...


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