With the Republic Day and the long weekend coming up, my two colleagues and I decided to go on a short trip. When the more popular and supposedly happening places were booked by others, we decided to go to Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar. It seemed like a great idea and it turned out great as well! Read on to know more…
The three of us boarded the bus to Panchgani from Vashi bus stop at 12:45 am and travelled overnight to Panchgani. The journey was comfortable and the bus reached Panchgani at 6 in the morning. Since it was really cold, we took a cab to our homestay, Madhur Holiday Homes – which was just 0.5 kms away. We rested for a while and then spoke to a cabbie to arrange for our travel to Mahabaleshwar.
We got ready and went first to have a Maharashtrian breakfast of Poha, Misal Pav and a plate of South Indian Utappam. Since it was Republic Day, we got Jalebis as a complementary dish!
From there, we drove to Kate’s Point to catch a picturesque view of the beautiful valley, the Balakwadi village and the lovely Dhom Dam. The view from here is worth the visit. The mighty mountains and the mesmerizing blue river flowing below feels like a painting from every angle!
There are three points in total, all close to each other. We went next to Echo Point and started screaming our lungs out to see if it really did live up to its name! You should go see for yourself to know if it works! ????
A little ahead from there is the Needle Head Point, popularly called the Elephant’s Head. It is a natural rock formation shaped as an Elephant’s head. It is a fascinating view.
We clicked photographs to our heart’s content but were wary of the mischievous monkeys scampering around.
From there, we headed to a little strawberry farm. There, we satiated our strawberry cravings with a tall glass of fresh strawberry juice and strawberry icecream.
We went back to Royal Garden to have lunch. After that, my friends visited Malcolm Point, Arthur’s Seat Point and the other points nearby. I didn’t want to step out in the sun and the scorching heat so I rested in the cab.
From here, we drove to Old Mahabaleshwar’s three temples: Panchganga temple, Mahabaleshwar temple and Krishna temple.
The Panchganga temple is constructed at the convergence of five rivers namely Krishna, Venna, Savitri, Koyna and Gayatri. The Mahabaleshwar temple was very crowded since it was the weekend and everyone wanted to seek some divine blessings. We walked further down to Krishna Temple, which is visited more by the locals than by the tourists mostly. The architecture of the place is absolutely beautiful and a sight to behold. Somehow, it reminded me of the Mahabalipuram Shore Temple of Pondicherry that I visited last year. (You can check out my Pondicherry blog here: https://parinithablogs.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/enchanting-tamil-nadu-and-pondicherry/)
On the way to Krishna Temple, we came across a small farm which we visited.
In the evening, we went to chill at Parsi Point and from there went to Sydney Point, which is one of the best points in Mahabaleshwar if you wish to get some lovely views and cool breeze.
After relaxing there for some time, we went back to our room and ordered food from Friend’s Treat Restaurant. After dinner, we played UNO and a few rounds of Antakshari and went off to sleep.
Next morning, we freshened up and went for breakfast in the Mapro Garden. We had a huge vegetable cheese sandwich there before exploring the garden. We clicked some pictures and headed to Venna Lake for boating.
We paddled around Venna Lake, devouring tasty strawberries during the boat ride. If you are in Mahabaleshwar, do not ever skip this paddle boat ride. However, do not opt for it in the afternoon. The perfect time is in the evening, after 3 pm, when it is not too sunny. We dashed into several boats on the way while paddling, making it all the more fun and memorable! The paddle boat ride costs about 400 rupees and is totally worth it!
After an hour of paddling, we went to have lunch at JK Garden Restaurant. Once done with lunch, we went to the Old Mahabaleshwar Market and indulged in some shopping. We also drank a tall glass of fresh strawberry juice for just 50 rupees! I would go back to Mahabaleshwar just to have this strawberry juice again! It is served with freshly cut strawberries on top as garnish!
From there, we went to Table Land in Panchgani. If you want to know how Panchgani got its name, it is because of the five hills that surround it. If you thought Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani was all about mountains and strawberries, you are mistaken! There is a Cheese Factory that one must visit when visiting the place. We could not go there as we got stuck in a traffic jam and we wanted to spend more time at Table Land.
The Table Land is the second highest flat place in the whole of Asia! It covers around 6.5 square kms. There are some points like the one tree hill, tiger cave, Pandava’s foot print, Devil’s kitchen here. Several movie shootings have taken place here in the past, making it a must-visit location for tourists. We took a horse cart which cost us 500 rupees and the driver promised to show us 6 popular points from here. The horse cart ride was fun, though uncomfortable. It felt like we were inside a large mixer and we were literally hanging on to our dear lives because our horse was galloping on a rocky path without a care! For a moment, I felt that we would all be thrown off the cliff! ????
Since it had turned dark, we couldn’t see all the points clearly but enjoyed the cool weather and walked back to our cab.
The cabbie dropped us back to our room, where we rested for some time, freshened up and went to explore the market area on the main road. We dined at Purohit Namaste Restaurant and went back to our room to relax after shopping for some sweet goodies.
Next day morning, we returned home by an AC bus, not just with some sweet goodies but with some sweet memories!
I’d like to thank Kanchan and Tanupriya both, for being such awesome companions during the entire trip! You two have been awesome and I am glad we executed this!
If you, readers, are planning a short weekend getaway with friends or family, a trip to Panchgani or Mahabaleshwar is just perfect for those living in Mumbai or Navi Mumbai. For those planning to visit Mumbai and if time is not a constraint, do not give these two places a miss!
So, take out your calendar and start planning!
For those who wish to see more photographs from my trips, follow me on Instagram: @parinithauchil