Located at a high altitude of 1,372m above sea level, the region boasts incredible panoramic views of rolling mountains and a cool, pleasant climate. Queen of Sahyadri Hills – Mahabaleshwar offers a pleasant climate throughout the year and it’s always packed with tourists from all over India.
The ideal time to visit Mahabaleshwar is in winters, between November to Feb the weather ranges between 10-24 degree Celsius. Summer is not very bad as well. Though you may not see the mountains in their best form, the temperature during summer ranges from 15 to 35 degree and its best time for sightseeing.
Mahabaleshwar doesn’t have an airport in the town itself. The nearest airport is in Pune, which is about 120 kilometers away. You can take a taxi or a bus from here to Mahabaleshwar.
You will find both state transport (MSRTC) as well as private buses from Mumbai and Pune. If you are going from Mumbai, you can catch the bus from Dadar East, Sion or Vashi. The ride will take you roughly six hours.
From Bangalore we took a flight to Pune, we reached Pune around 10 am in the morning, we hadn’t done any pre-booking. We thought there would be plenty of availability in MSRTC from Pune to Mahabaleshwar but sadly being a popular tourist destination has its own flaws and therefore it is always advisable to pre-book.
You can also hire a cab from Pune, it’s around 2-3hrs drive and it will cost around 2500-3000INR
Since we couldn’t get MSRTC we had to take a private bus to Kolhapur got down at Wai bypass and took a bus to Mahabaleshwar.
A Day in Mahabaleshwar
We stayed at hotel Gourish which was around 5 km away from the main bus stop. Though the hotel is good, it’s quite far from the main Mahabaleshwar town. So once you reach the hotel it’s difficult to come out to explore on your own.
If you’re not on your own vehicle then hiring a cab for a day trip is the best option. Below is the list of tour packages offered for sightseeing. You can customize the package based on your preference of the places. Except for Pratapgad, you can cover all other places in a day or you can split them for two days. Since we had just a day we excluded Pratapgad and covered all other places.
The Panchganga Temple is constructed at the convergence of five rivers Krishna, Venna, Savitri, Koyna, and Gayatri. It is believed that five rivers originate from gaumukhi inside Panchganaga temple.
Panchganga temple is said to be 4500 years old. However, there is no historical evidence of this fact.
Mahabaleshwar Temple is built in 1215 AD as per historical records. This temple is built in Hemadpanti style. Though the temple is 800 years old, the Shivling in the temple is believed to be more than thousand years old, the king Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji had arranged his mother’s ‘Suvernea Tula’ (Golden balance) in this very temple on 06 Jan 1665, its believed that Mahabaleshwar, Atibaleshwar, and Koteshwar stood as a symbol of “Trigunatmak ling”. Mahabaleshwar, a self-created shivling is of rough Rudraksh size.
Arther Seat point, Echo Point, Malcom point, Savitri point
The Arther Seat point, Echo Point, Malcom point, Savitri point are all in one stretch within few meters. You can cover all these points in less than 2 hrs. Don’t forget to try different kinds of berries sold along the path but beware of Monkeys.
Elephant head/Needle’s Hole point
When you search for Mahabaleshwar this is one place you must have seen on every site. Needle hole point is located near Kate’s Point. One can see a natural rock formation with a hole in between, thus giving the name Needle-hole. The point is also famous for the view of Deccan traps, which look like an elephant’s trunk.
Mapro garden is a garden park where you can find almost everything that can be made using strawberry. Just outside the Mapro garden you will find stalls selling strawberries and other berries available during the season. You can buy strawberries in bulk from these stalls if you’re driving back home. They neatly package it in a box making sure they are still fresh when you reach home.
Inside Mapro garden you will find a store selling everything that can be made using strawberries and other fruits and its priced reasonably, there are also live counters where you can try before buying.
We had our lunch at Mapro garden, where they have a fixed menu of Sandwich and fresh strawberry shakes and ice creams.
Parsi point is situated in Panchgani, the picturesque Parsi Point overlooks the Krishna Valley and the sparkling waters of the Dhom Dam. The Parsi Point gets its name from its significance to the Parsi community in the past. The Parsi point is also famous for the sunset.
Table Land (Panchgani)
This flat large expanse of laterite rock is the second longest mountain plateau in Asia. The five hills surrounding Panchgani are topped by this volcanic plateau. These plateaus, are a part of the Deccan Plateau and they were raised by pressure between the earth plates.
As soon as we reached Table Land, we saw few horse rides and our driver told us it’s the only way to go around Table Land. According to him they take you around the Table Land and explain each viewpoint, they also take you to the 2 caves which are located on the Table Land.
Since we were running short of time, we thought we may not be able to cover the whole place by walk and took a horse ride for 1300 INR per person and trust me it’s not worth it.
One can easily cover the Table Land by walk, it’s all the about viewpoint and the cave restaurant is just on your left as you enter. If you really like to go on a horse ride you can take a few meters long horse ride for about 100INR.
Also, don’t have high expectations for the cave restaurant it’s more like a café, try to visit this place towards the end of your trip so that you can stay back and witness the beautiful sunset.
It was already dark by the time we reached Vena lake, so plan to visit Vena lake early if you like to go on a boating. You will find this place very crowded. Since it was already late we didn’t spend much time here, we had some Maggie from one of the food stalls and started towards Mahabaleshwar bus stop.
We stopped by a few strawberry farms, you will find a lot of restaurants set up by the strawberry farms offering fresh strawberry shakes worth trying.