Mahabaleshwar is a picturesque hill station nestled in the lap of the majestic mountains of the Western Ghats. Located at an average elevation of 1,353 metres, the place possesses a refreshing ambiance offering panoramic views of the neighboring plains, peaks and woods.
Mahabaleshwar attracts hordes of tourists for its lovely views, delightful allure, beautiful landscapes and pleasant temperatures. The hill station almost shuts down during monsoons due to heavy rainfall in the region. It is also the base of five lovely rivers. Mahabaleshwar is a tranquil holiday spot as well as a great spiritual centre.
|Time zone||GMT/UTC +5:30|
|Area||150 sq km|
|Climate||Summer 15 to 35°C, Winter 10 to 32°C|
|Main languages||Marathi, Hindi, English|
Mahabaleshwar Travel Tips
- Always carry light woolens in winters and a stole for summers evenings as it might get chilly.
- If you want peace and quiet then avoid the peak seasons in summers, school holidays (April to June), Christmas and Diwali.
- Horseback riding is a good way to explore Mahabaleshwar as the streets are somewhat narrow.
- Don't forget to eat Strawberries or purchase them in form of shakes, jams and crushes.
- Beware of tourist touts and false travel agents
- If hiring a local guide be sure to negotiate first with the guide
Mahabaleshwar, located in the midst of the Western Ghats, was once the summer capital of Bombay Presidency during the British rule. The pleasant climatic conditions, the lush green surroundings, complete with flora and fauna, makes this place an apt holiday destination throughout the year. The monsoons are the only time when you may not want to visit Mahabaleshwar. Even though nature's exoticism is at its peak during this time, the incessant rains makes this place virtually uninhabited. The winter and summer months beginning from October to June are the best for visiting Mahabaleshwar. The mild difference in temperature between the two seasons hardly matters as you get to witness the soaring peaks and experience the crisp mountain air, coupled with the old-world charm and modernity of this place. If you happen to visit Mahabaleshwar in the month of March you can also participate in the celebration of the Strawberry Festival, which is not only exciting but also gastronomically delightful.
The picturesque hill station of Mahabaleshwar is well connected, thanks to the frequent availability of the services offered by buses, taxis and auto rickshaws. Splendid locations with breathtaking views, referred to as "points", scattered all along the plateau are best covered by rental cars and taxis, especially during the night. The taxis here do not run on metre and their rates, fixed by the Taxi Drivers Association, could vary from Rs. 450 to 750. You can also opt for horse rides, another very popular way of traversing the scenic locales of this place. Bridle paths constructed especially for this purpose are sure to satiate the adventurous side in you, and it all comes at a meager sum of just Rs. 50 to 100. However, buses by far promise a more comprehensive coverage of all the major points in Mahabaleshwar. Primarily managed by the Government of Maharashtra, these bus tours are divided into two - Pratapgad Darshan and Mahabaleshwar Darshan that begin at 9:15 a.m. in the morning and 2:15 p.m. in the afternoon, respectively. The tickets must be booked beforehand and they cost Rs. 80 to 85 per person.
Witnessing nature in its full bloom at Mahabaleshwar, together with savoring some of the best home-grown fruits and vegetables of the region is like double bonanza; and that is what you actually get to experience in this place. Therefore, don't be surprised to see hordes of strawberries, mulberries, corn and cherry tomatoes, all available in abundance in the local stores of Mahabaleshwar. The fact that they are locally grown renders certain uniqueness to their taste and the savories made from them are a foodie's delight. For instance, you just cannot miss the famous corn pattice or strawberry with cream, served in almost all the restaurants in this place. If you happen to be near the famous Hanuman Temple, don't forget to taste the vada pav, the staple food of Maharashtra. The local vendors lend their own twist to this delicacy, thus giving this dish a whole new dimension. The different varieties of "chikki" preferred by the locals and tourists alike are also a specialty of Mahabaleshwar.
This famous hill station of Maharashtra gives you an opportunity to be one with nature. The looming Western Ghats makes its presence felt all over the place - be it in the form of weather or the captivating surroundings of mountains and valleys that makes Mahabaleshwar an ideal getaway for all nature-lovers.
The beauty of Lake Venna is enhanced manifold by the surrounding lush green forests, thus making it a major tourist attraction of Mahabaleshwar. You can easily spend one whole day in this place, participating in several activities like fishing, boating and horse riding. The numerous eateries available in the area outside the lake are sure to satiate your hunger pangs as they sell some very delectable food items.
If you have already soaked in the delight of juicy berries available in Mahabaleshwar then the lure of Mapro Garden will be irresistible for you. This place is a treasure trove of berries available in the form of preservatives like jams and marmalades, fruit salads and ice creams; the best part is its sampling counter that allows you to sample everything before buying!
Cost to travel
Mahableshwar can be easily reached by road or train from Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore. The construction of the Mumbai-Pune expressway has made travelling easy and less time-consuming. Therefore, a Volvo tourist bus from Mumbai will help you to reach Mahabaleshwar in just six hours and will cost you Rs. 500. Any other AC buses from Mumbai will cost Rs. 200. The Volvo bus service from Pune, currently being managed by two private companies, charges approximately Rs. 250 to and fro. The express buses run by the government of Maharashtra start from Swargate in Pune at 5:45 a.m. and their charges are Rs. 120 per individual.
How many days are enough to travel?
The picturesque hilly resort of Mahabaleshwar attracts both vacationers and honeymooners alike throughout the year. You may plan a trip of four to five days, which may even include side trips to Panchgani, Tapola and Pratapgad, all spread within a radius of 20 to 30 km from Mahabaleshwar. The mornings in Mahabaleshwar can be utilized for sightseeing and visiting temples. For instance, each view from the many sightseeing "points" located in this place offers a unique perspective of the majestic Western Ghats. Similarly, Old Mahabaleshwar, famous for the Swayambhu Lingam and the Panchganga Temple, cannot be missed either. The evenings in Mahabaleshwar can be reserved for shopping in the town bazaar, Malcolm Peth, boating in the Venna lake or simply taking a leisurely walk in Madhusagar. On your way to Panchgani you can make a stopover at Mapro Garden, an ideal shopping and eating destination.
Tourism Department Contacts
The Maharashtra tourism departments contact details are as follows.
C.D.O. Hutments, Opp. L.I.C. Building (Yogakshema),
Madame Cama Road, Mumbai - 400020
Telephone: +91 22 2204 4040
Fax: +91 22 2202 4521, +91 22 2285 2182
Toll Free No: 1800 229 930
Emergency contact numbers
Some of the emergency contact numbers in Mahabaleshwar are as follows:
Police station number: 260333, 260217
Tourism board office: 2331217
Tourist Bureau number: 260271
Accident relief centre: 9860611110, 9226106100, 9420495233, 9403682962
How to Reach Mahabaleshwar
The hill station of Mahabaleshwar is easily reachable from different parts of the country. The hill station is visited by a lot of tourists every year and is linked with excellent roads, railway and air connections. Be it a religious quest, a romantic journey or just a relaxing vacation, tourists flock to this place from all over India, and abroad. Mahabaleshwar is one of the most popular and favored tourist destinations in Western India.
The nearest airport to Mahabaleshwar is in Pune, located at a distance of around 120 km. To reach Mahabaleshwar from Pune, one can easily avail a bus, taxi or a private car. State operated buses and private luxury/ non- luxury buses are also easily available to reach Mahabaleshwar.
The nearest railway station is Satara, around 58 km and nearest major railway junction is at Pune (120 km). Another railway station is at Wather, located at a distance of 62 km. If you are taking a train to Mahabaleshwar, it would be better to reach the Pune railhead, as it is relatively more convenient than the other stations, because of its better connectivity to Mahabaleshwar. Private buses, mini-buses, state-operated buses, taxis are easily available between Pune and Mahabaleshwar.
Mahabaleshwar is well linked by roads from neighboring cities like Mumbai and Pune. The Maharashtra State Road Transport operates regular buses to Mahabaleshwar from the nearby cities of Pune and Mumbai. Private tour operators also offer various luxury/ non-luxury, AC/Non-AC, Deluxe and Volvo bus services to and from Mahabaleshwar. Taxis, shared cabs/taxis and private cars can also be booked to travel here. One can even drive their own vehicle to Mahabaleshwar, enjoying its tranquil beauty. It takes about 5 hrs by road to reach Mahabaleshwar from Mumbai.
Shopping in Mahabaleshwar
The beautiful hill station of Mahabaleshwar is not essentially a shopper's paradise, but tourists can treat themselves with certain exclusive products. A stroll down the shopping streets of the Town Bazaar will stimulate the shopper in you to sample and glance at the different things the local shops have to offer.
Where to Shop and What to Buy in Mahabaleshwar
In the Town Bazaar one would small shops and hawkers that sell almost everything. Most of these shops sell items like handicrafts, walking sticks, leather goods, tribal trinkets, Kolhapuri chappals, shoes, etc. Fresh fruits, pure honey, delicious jams, preserves, marmalades, squashes and jellies made of pure strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries and mulberries can be bought from here, as they are a trademark of Mahabaleshwar.
The Town Bazaar also has various other shops which sell items like clothes, leather goods, crochet dresses and shawls, baskets, decorative items and various handmade items as they are quite popular here. Don't forget to bargain with the local vendors as they tend to overcharge from tourists.
Towards the end of the Bazaar is the Imperial Store. It is a one stop destination wherein tourists get everything from food & beverages, medicines to movie videos and alcohol. The store was established during the British era by an Iranian national and has been operated by generations of the Iranian family till date. It is located on the Dr Sabane Road which is popularly known as Main Street. The main street is popular for shopping in Mahabaleshwar. Also visit the government sponsored bee farms to buy freshly collected honey at these farms.
Tourist Places in Mahabaleshwar
- Pratapgarh Fort
- Venna Lake
- Krishna Temple
- Lord Mahabaleshwar Temple
- Scenic Points in Mahabaleshwar
Last Updated on : January 14, 2014/span>