Strawberries and More : A Trip to Mahabaleshwar

Mahabaleshwar’s claim to fame is not only the luscious strawberries that it offers but also its  Instagram worthy magnificent landscape. Cascading waterfalls, serpentine rivers, majestic peaks, and calm lakes, all make Mahabaleshwar the place to visit on your next vacation.  This hill town in the Satara district of Maharashtra is set amidst the Western Ghats and holds the power to mesmerize you with its ethereal beauty.

Let’s look at some of the attractions of this town, starting with the waterfalls in the area, and there are quite a few of them. Chinaman’s falls are the most popular with its bewitching lush green surroundings. These falls derive their name from a Chinese prison in the vicinity. Another equally tantalizing waterfall is the Dhobi waterfall which connects Lodwick and Elphinstone Point.  Lingmala waterfall that is located on the Pune- Mahabaleshwar highways should also be on the list of anyone traveling to the town, for this waterfall is a perfect work of nature’s surreal beauty at its best. It provides a vantage point for viewing both Chinaman and Dhobi waterfall as well. Best time to witness the beauty of these waterfalls is during the monsoons when they are brimming with water. And if you are lucky, you might even spot a rainbow adorning the waterfalls during rains on a sunny day.

Mahabaleshwar is home to many peaks and these points offer an unparalleled view of the valleys below. The most famous among the points is the Elephant’s Head Point where the rock formations bear a strong resemblance to the trunk of an elephant and hence this name. Arthur’s seat is another well-known point in Mahabaleshwar and it also offers a trekking trail for adventure enthusiasts. The peak gives you a fascinating view of the Brahma-Arayana valley and that of Savitri River. Close to the waterfall is a natural thermal spring which is a must visit. The enthralling scenery seems even more beautiful after your laborious trek that takes you through dense forest and farms. For the early risers, there is no better way to start your day in Mahabaleshwar than to watch the sunrise at Wilson Point and experience the soothing effect that nature provides. Most Mahabaleshwar hotels arrange the travel to this point early morning for its guests.

Elphinstone Point is one of the highest points of Mahabaleshwar and it has got its name from the Governor of Bombay during British Raj, Sir Mount Elphinstone.  The second highest peak of Mahabaleshwar hills is the Connaught peak which is second to none when it comes to its pristine beauty making this point immensely popular among tourists who can catch a view of the Venna lake & Krishna valley from here. Tourists to Mahabaleshwar also make it a point to visit the Lodwick Point which also has a huge statue of Lord Lodwick. Only from this point in Mahabaleshwar can one can easily see the Elphinstone Point and Pratapgarh Fort. If you are not short for time , you can also include Marjorie Point and Helen’s Point in your itinerary. Ranking second on the list of the largest plateaus in Asia is the Table Land plateau of Mahabaleshwar which covers a sprawling area of over 95 acres of land and is 4500 feet above sea level. This place offers the perfect combination of the thrill of being at such a height and the serenity that the place exudes, making it one of the favored spots for couples wanting to click just that perfect picture.

Mahabaleshwar enchants its guests with many man-made wonders and works of art as well. The Roman Catholic Church here is one such place which showcases some fine craftsmanship of the colonial era, with its stained glass windows and fabulous paintings. Most tourists to Ootypay a short visit to the Panchganga temple, which is located at the confluence of five rivers – River Krishna, Koyna, Veena Gayatri, and Savitri. This historic temple dates back to the 13th century when it was built by the Yadava King Singhandeo. The architectural highlight of this place is a stone waterspout called Gaumukhi. It is believed that the five rivers originate from this spout itself. It would be a crime in itself to come to Mahabaleshwar and not sample the decadent strawberries that the place produces. The best place to do so is at Mapro Garden, which is a garden park established and maintained by Mapro, a prominent food processing company. The park is resplendent with greenery and there are a restaurant and a chocolate factory also at the premises. Best time to book your stay in one of the hotels in Mahabaleshwar is during the annual Strawberry Festival that is held here.

For the thrill seekers, there is the trek to Chandragarh Hill Fort, the Koyna Valley trek that takes you to India’s largest hydroelectric dam.

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