For the pleasant-weather-deprived Mumbaikars, Mahabaleshwar offers much-needed respite during the scorching summers. Mahabaleshwar is not just an ideal weekend getaway during summers, but also during rains when everything around offers a green palette and rain-fed waterfalls. To the people of Mumbai who start wearing thermals during rains (yes!! It’s true), Mahabaleshwar is the place to visit to experience the cold!
How to Reach
As mentioned above Mahabaleshwar is one of the best and most frequented weekend getaway both from Mumbai and Pune. Although way closer from Pune than from Mumbai, but still a favourite among Mumbaikars.
Mahabaleshwar from Mumbai
This is the fastest way to reach Mahabaleshwar from Mumbai. The journey takes around five and a half to six hours and there are several Tours & Travels from where you buy your tickets or can book on Redbus, Makemytrip and so on. Bus would start from Borivali and would take the Western Express Highway to pick passengers from designated points.
There are no direct trains from to Mahabaleshwar from Mumbai, so tourists have to alight at Wathar which is 60 kms by road from Mahabaleshwar. Only one train is available that leaves Dadar (DR) at 8:52am and reaches Wathar (WTR) at 03:13pm – Koyna Express (11029) that takes around six and a half hours.
Price of Tickets
Second Sitting (SS) – INR125
Sleeper (SL) – INR210
AC Chair Car (CC) – INR455
AC 3 Tier (3A) – INR560
AC 2 Tier (2A) – INR795
AC First Class (1A) – INR1315
There are three routes to consider when travelling to Mahabaleshwar from Mumbai
Most preferred route is Route 1 as it saves around 45 minutes, compared to the other two!!
Best Time to Visit
Anytime is a good time to visit Mahabaleshwar. Summers to escape the coastal heat. Monsoons, to enjoy the rains, green cover that soothes the eyes and random nameless waterfalls where you can stand, take pictures or just taken a break from snaps and get drenched. And winters to understand and relish the “actual cold”!!!!
Places to Visit
Although there are several viewpoints in Mahabaleshwar, some are a little more special than others. Don't miss Echo Point from where you can hear the mountains calling out your name once you introduce yourself LOUDLY!! Enroute Mahabaleshwar, you can also stop at random places to add spice to your trip.
A day trip from Mahabaleshwar or that can be visited enroute Mahabaleshwar (24km from Mahabaleshwar), this fort, built in 1656, is known for the Battle of Pratapgarh between Shivaji and Afzal Khan, a general of Adil Shah dynasty. Although not too well-maintained this a place one must visit to be amazed by the architecture of the fort that was constructed to defend the banks of the Koyna and Nira rivers, and the Par Pass.
Various View Points
Being a terraced hill station, there a lot of viewpoints that are popular among tourists from Mumbai who frequent this place. Among the viewpoints, the ones that need special mention are mentioned below.
Discovered in 1830 by Dr.Murray, is around 10 kms from Mahabaleshwar and close to Arthur’s Seat Point. This is one of the highest points in Mahabaleshwar that offers stellar view of Pratapgarh Fort and the Koyna Valley. Also known as the Needle Point that resembles an elephant’s head this point is located at the extreme end of the mountain beyond Lodwick Point.
Named after Sir Arthur Mallet, who was the first man to have constructed his residence here, this point is located at an elevation of 1340 meters, and is popularly known as “Queen of the Points”. Arthur’s Seat Point area consists of six points - Arthur's Seat Purpose, Echo Point, Hunter Point, Tiger Spring point, Window point, and Malcolm point.
Previously known as Sydney Point, this point is located 5km west of Mahabaleshwar and the vantage point offer unrestricted view of Pratapgarh Fort. Lodwick Point is known for the wooden path that opens to a mountain clearing and a breathtaking view.
Named after the then governor of Bombay Residency, Sir Filkland, this location offers a view of the peaks peeping through the clouds. You could stand and be completely taken by the blissful vistas around.
You would be surprised to know that this is a man-made lake and not a natural one!! Built by Chhatrapati Shri Appasaheb Maharaj in 1942. A tourist hotspot, this lake offers rowboat and peddle boat rides which is quite an attraction here.
The Panchganga Temple was built on the confluence of five springs of a river, namely Krishna, Venna, Savitri, Koyna and Gayatri, by Seuna king Simhana in the 13th century. Although renovation was undertaken in the 16th and 17th century, the architecture of the temple remains fascinating without much differentiation between pre and post renovation.
Where to Stay
Because of being a popular weekend destination, a lot of hotels and homestays have come up to provide utmost comfort to travellers. Among the popular ones are MTDC in Mahabaleshwar needs special mention because this is managed by Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC).
A state-government run heritage property that is set up in a secluded place, surrounded by valleys on all sides and perfect for nature lovers. The property offers in-house restaurant that serves local cuisine that allows you try the local delicacies of the region without stepping out of the resort.
The property offers a wide variety of stays:
• Economic Room Non AC
• Standard Room Non AC
• Cottage Room Non AC
• Premium Suite AC
• Heritage Suite (B) AC
• Heritage Suite (A) AC
• Deluxe Suite AC
• Cottage Room AC
• Executive Suite AC
• Family Room Non AC
• Family Room AC
• Writers Suite AC
Starts from INR2,300 includes complimentary breakfast for two adults and two children below 12 years. If they are above 12 years, they are considered Extra Guest.
A five-star resort that offers a blend of traditional and contemporary designs with sweeping views of green canopies that cover Wilson Point. Perfect place for a luxurious vacation with family where all possible amenities are included ensuring a complete, stress-free, relaxing environment.
Different kinds of accommodations that are provided are listed below that include all modern amenities, apart from breathtaking views from the rooms.
The Forest Wing
Red Stone Wing
The Orchid Wing
Starts from INR5850 that includes accommodation, welcome drink, breakfast and tea/coffee maker (Excluding tax)
Modestly priced property if the group has more than 10 people with great views of the valley and a chef who is going to serve you with lip-smacking delicacies. I am sure that would be enough to get you a relaxing weekend!! Arowana Nest in Mahabaleshwar is a 5bhk property with outdoor lawn and indoor seating spaces where you can chill with family.
INR14,000 for 12 guests, includes breakfast and a full-time in-house chef (weekday price)
INR22,000 for Friday, Saturday and Sunday (minimum 2 nights on weekends)
INR1,500/person/night extra for anyone over 5 years
A 3BHK bungalow that offers a terrace and garden view and serves continental breakfast. They do cater to gluten-free, halal, Asian, American and English Breakfast (the platter couldn’t be more precise). Giving a colonial vibe, this space looks like it is in Ooty which is known to house some stunning English properties. Also, this property is pretty much a pet-owners’ delight as this property allows pets!!
INR 18,050 for 10 people (excluding breakfast and tax)
Located 16km from Mahabaleshwar and 4300 ft in altitude, nestled among the pristine greens of Western Ghats, this property gifts you an unhintered terrific view of the terraced mountain landscape from your own private balcony that comes with your chalet.
A lot of Agro-based homestays have emerged over the past few years that provide a great way of rejuvenating – engaging the boarders in day-to-day farm activities. Some of the ones which are not even on homestay booking sites and come highly recommended are listed below:
You can’t visit Mahabaleshwar and return without berries and the list includes strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries, mulberries and blueberries. But strawberries take the cake because strawberries grown in Mahabaleshwar accounts for 85% of the total strawberry production in India.
Although Mapro Garden has taken over the strawberry market and sell all types of products that can be produced from strawberry there are various other farms that are equally good but may not have marketed their product well. Few are listed below:
There are so many places that one can visit, but Mahabaleshwar is special because this place not only gifts respite from Mumbai heat during summer, but the closest Mumbaikars can get to mountains. No wonder, be it any excuse of a short break or any long weekend, Mumbaikars pack and head to Mahabaleshwar despite the heavy traffic and you can’t blame them.
I don’t, do you?
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